In Irwing’s debut space opera, a fugitive, bioengineered superwoman joins forces with the Ovions to try to save Earth—and perhaps the universe—from impending destruction.
This sci-fi tale is narrated in first-person by various characters, but the primary voice belongs to Sim Drewal, a voluptuous female smuggler and refugee from the insular Johuan race. Sim was an outsider student at a Johua military academy until she killed a depraved instructor by using a power called “blue” that even she doesn’t understand. Now on the run, she’s scooped up by the Ovions, a virtuous, formidable Johuan guardian-peacekeeper caste that upholds justice throughout the United Awakened Worlds. They reveal Sim’s incredible origin: She and her three secret siblings are superior beings who were created by a missing mad scientist named Bimas Chawley. The Ovions want to use Sim to track him down, because someone is planning to use Chawley’s stolen technology to trigger a universal catastrophe. Meanwhile, it appears that the corrupted Johuan ruling class is moving to eradicate the Ovions and their associates. This all leads the story to an obscure planet—Earth in the year 2020—which allows the story to embrace culture-shock comedy; for example, an alien woman’s stupendous figure still inspires ogling and lustful harassment from human males. The narrative moves along at a decent clip, and includes some impressive broad-canvas yarn-spinning. Other story elements include a female U.S. president, hints of the existence of a divine creator, a Gaia-like spiritual force and angelic beings, making for an odd mixture overall. The nubile Sim’s periodic wardrobe malfunctions and penchant for recreational sex and/or combat take the tale into Barbarella-like territory at times, with a lambent edge of satire. The prose is a campy mixture of future-speak blended with the earthy, fun-loving argot of the author’s native Australia (“farting bum-bums,” “[t]itface!”); however, it sometimes includes memorable clunkers (“I cowered like a coward in my corner”). The open ending portends further installments in this unusual saga.
A borderline-spoof space adventure of ample proportions.