An eclectic science-fiction romp through pop culture and fringe theory.
Tiffy and Cheryl Bandera, twin sisters, begin their career advertising buy-one-get-one cheeseburgers. Their magnetic appeal is palpable, but before making their recording debut, they decide to go solo–in a manner of speaking. The sisters split time as Tiffy, one of the most famous entertainers in the history of pop-culture. In response to the Milli Vanilli scandal, and lest they be discovered, a clever recasting decision is made–Cheryl becomes a martial artist and appears with Tiffy under the pretense of being her security double. This new relationship between the sisters begins to affect their PR, and fans grow to see Tiffy as an aloof, ungrateful megastar. Thus, the novel picks up the action with the sisters’ creation of a win-a-date contest. They gently rig it to weed out the sociopaths, and the unassuming Brian Gullen wins the contest. Cheryl manages the vetting process and, incredibly, Brian’s abductee experiences, psychic abilities and split-personality don’t sound any serious warning bells. Cheryl is more than receptive, even intrigued. He’s a nice guy, and it’s telegraphed early that he will probably wind up with at least one of the sisters. Brian’s tales of the planet Quartzon and the adventure they have on its forest moon make for some authentically cool science-fiction, but the early narrative too easily shifts from the story proper to Brian’s correspondences, to a character’s dreams, to a slew of confusing conversations. The prose is clear and the tone witty, but the organization and particulars are often muddied by stock lamentations about scientists and skeptics’ dismissal of UFOs. However, Agar has an uncanny ability to create eccentric characters whose concerns are nonetheless down-to-earth. Even the Mongeese, a once proud warrior race from another galaxy, are sympathetic in human terms. There are more than a few howlers, blessedly intentional, like when Cheryl makes a less than romantic bargain with Brian (eventually known as Bryan) for DNA exchange. This genuine wit keeps the reader engaged throughout the novel’s complex intergalactic machinations.
A delight for lovers of UFOs and unique fiction.