A comedic sci-fi novel focuses on one man’s undercover quest to destroy Earth.
Debut author Hofsetz presents Mike Pohlt: a brilliant, young astrophysicist who has just come out of a coma. The problem is that, upon awakening, Mike suffers from amnesia. He cannot remember any of his friends, and many aspects of life on Earth baffle him. This is true because Mike is not really Mike. Unbeknown to those around him, the body of Mike is inhabited by a man named Zeon from the planet Jora. Jora is a lot like Earth, only more advanced in many ways. For instance, on Jora the idea of getting in a car that is not a self-driving vehicle would be ridiculous. Zeon’s task (while he impersonates Mike) is simple: He must destroy Earth. Due to circumstances put in place by creator Gods (along with some components of multiverse theory), either Earth or Jora must be obliterated if the other is to survive. Zeon doesn’t really want to annihilate this world of colorful cars and American football, but he must if his own people are to live. So Zeon, along with Mike’s friend Ravi Chandrasekhar, goes about developing technology that makes him very rich. This technology could also result in an end to Earth. Things are complicated further by a dreamlike realm populated by people called Protectors. In the world of the Protectors (which Zeon, as Mike, also traverses), humans from Earth battle warriors from Jora. Who will emerge victorious? Hofsetz delivers an intricate setup for a complex story. But despite Gods, Protectors, Messengers (who explain all), and the rules of different worlds, everything boils down to kill or be killed for Zeon. Later chapters incorporate odd twists and action scenes full of explosions and military maneuvers, yet the energetic tale is at its most memorable when focusing on Zeon. He always maintains a sense of humor. This is the case when he reflects that “Earth has some crazy people, and they’re good at their craziness.” He is altogether likable and self-effacing despite the fact that he has been sent to terminate everyone around him. Throughout it all, readers are kept in suspense about how such a struggle will end.
While convoluted in parts, this impossible-mission tale features an appealing hero.