"A time-traveling story that entertains with madcap characters and wildly capricious plotlines."– Kirkus Reviews
Lacy’s (The Night is a Constant Lover, 2012) first foray into fiction is a sci-fi soap opera with cosmic time travel, a malevolent astrophysics professor and aliens monitoring everything.
A man travels from Germany to the U.S. with his daughter, whom he’s impregnated. The young girl adopts the last name Alaska, and down the lineage is born Travis T., a twelve-fingered physicist who creates a time machine. Enter power-hungry Dr. Angstrom, who works at perfecting time travel, in part so he can send men into the past to kill Travis’ grandparents, allowing the professor to take credit for Travis’ creation. Lacy’s novel is ambitious in design, following the Alaska clan’s origins in great detail, and it involves a vast number of people: Ruby Gold, a spiritual being hoping to be incarnated; aliens, or “grays,” who watch and occasionally abduct Alaska family members; and Cotton, who acts as narrator, searching for a vampire that killed his parents. The abundance of characters doesn’t allow much time for development—the titular character appears only sporadically—and some of the significant players either have no personalities, such as time-traveling hit man Joseph Lullaby, or are simply mentioned in passing, like Travis’ rather eccentric parents. Though the book’s title sounds decisively YA, the material is anything but; it delves into rape, incest, inbreeding and murder. Nonetheless, Cotton is telling this story to children at a diner. Provocative content notwithstanding, Lacy drops in bits of well-timed humor—Travis dates two women named Kathy and notes a tendency to bungle their names—and manages to incorporate time travel into the plot in sensational ways, as when a character uses it to stop a suicide or two people travel in time during a scuffle. Though nonlinear, the plot maintains momentum by avoiding repetition and steadily progressing regardless of when it’s set in time, and even the occasional change to a first-person perspective remains clearsighted.
A time-traveling story that entertains with madcap characters and wildly capricious plotlines.