In Orton’s debut sci-fi novel, two star-crossed lovers attempt to save the world with sex.
The prologue begins mid-apocalypse, “a few years from now,” with the heroine, Isabel, trading her supplies for a gun in front of a ruined Wal-Mart in Colorado. The first half of the novel reveals how the world fell into its current state, starting with the day a mysterious metal sphere tore through downtown Denver. That’s also the day Isabel divorced her husband and saw Diego, a former lover, for the first time in years. They instantly reconnected; the sphere nearly killed Isabel, Diego rescued her, and they wound up engaged by sundown. But in the series of nuclear and plague disasters that followed, the pair was soon separated again. Which is unfortunate, because it turns out the fate of the world depends on their being happily married. So with the help of an eclectic group of scientists and a time machine, Isabel sets out to save her relationship with Diego and, by extension, the world. Told from three different perspectives—Isabel, Diego, and one of the scientists, a British professor named Matt—the novel explores some promising sci-fi concepts, like parallel universes and time travel, but skips over these themes too quickly in favor of long, steamy, repetitive love scenes, especially in the second half. Isabel and Diego’s relationship, despite being central to the novel, is poorly developed. The two don’t appear to share anything except physical attraction and a proclivity for terrible, innuendo-laced puns (e.g., “Damn, you’re hard to please”). Several mysterious characters introduced early in the book disappear, never to be mentioned again, although, since this is the first installment in a series, they may return in a sequel. Matt’s over-the-top British narrative occasionally manages to be entertaining, and there are a few brief moments of suspense scattered throughout. But despite its apocalyptic aspirations, the novel is better suited to fans of paperback romance than time-travel sagas.
Erotic fiction dressed—barely—as sci-fi.