Author: Jayne Lockwood
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Genre(s): Science Fiction, M-preg
Page Count: 310
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.
With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.
Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.
The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.
But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?
Premise of the book is Vardam has traveled to Earth after the destruction of the Var planet to seek out a new home for his people. He lands on an Earth on the brink of destruction in 2125. The cause for apocalypse is based on a vaccine having the wrong effect, causing the virus to mutate and cause a mass extinction event.
Var travels back to 2025, to seek out Kurt Lomax, creator of the drug to beg him to stop experiments and trials and prevent the deaths of billions of people. Through mutual loneliness and isolation, Alien and man discover they have common feelings.
I admit to simplifying the plot a bit, okay, maybe a lot, but that is the nuts and bolts of the story. I’ll break my thoughts down a bit more: \
Characters there is an interesting and diverse group of characters. The main ones are:
Kurt is the main protagonist. He’s on the cusp of divorce, alienated from friends and family, still struggling from the trauma of an abusive childhood that manifests in an obsessive-compulsive disorder. These traits that define Kurt some how just go…away as the story evolves They are neither resolved nor addressed, but kinda slide off the page.
Var is the alien. Humanoid but definitely not human. A rather passive character through-out.
Tom Sommes, secondary protagonist. Goth-boy who has a heart of gold. Taught himself sign language so he could communicate and visit an ex-boyfriends younger sister who is deaf with down syndrome. Establishes a rapport Var and the staff at the lab. Develops a relationship with another Pharmacure employee, Rashid. I think he’s actually the most interesting character in the group.
There are a handful of strong supporting characters which round out the story quite well – a couple of lab assistants, Kurt’s wife and daughter, and Rashid.
Plot I read a substantial amount of scifi, and as far as a first contact book goes, it was decent. I thought the concept of a virus mutating to cause mass deaths definitely plausible (if you are scoffing, read or watch the PBS special about the Influenza of 1918. The time travel aspect added an aspect of emotion necessary to get through to Kurt the gravity of the situation and was pleasantly interesting.
Romance Honestly, I didn’t feel the emotional connection between Kurt and Vardam. Vardam has more contact with Tom and the rest of the Pharmacure team than Kurt does, so when the two suddenly meet, the “romance” felt tacked on. I thought there was far more emotional connection between Tom and Rashid.
M-preg I’m mentioning this because it took me by surprise and not in a good way. I do not care for M-preg plots and generally avoid books that contain this element. Having said that, this was perhaps the most scientifically plausible variation I have read to date, and I applaud the author for her thoroughness in execution.
Ultimately, a solid scifi book that was a bit off on the romance between the main characters, dealt with the m-preg in a satisfactory way (for me), and was an enjoyable read.