Evans critiques the political left in this satirical sci-fi debut.
On a distant planet where various humanoid species live together in peace, human college student Luke Porter is a progressive member of United Students for Social Justice who feels guilty when he has intolerant thoughts, as when he’s briefly frightened by his alien best friend Sur’Sin (whom Evans describes as “coal-dark”). Luke is beginning to think that he’s in love with his human girlfriend, Emily den Charlatan, but then she ghosts him; he finally learns that she’s not interested in him from a mouthy human malcontent named Jeb. Luke then tracks down her roommate and realizes that Emily is actually missing. He sets out to find her, beginning with the last person who saw her—Jeb, who seems to have a crush on him. So begins Luke’s journey around the planet, during which he encounters ideas from across the political spectrum. Along the way, he begins to realize that the members of the ruling Gaian Sisterhood, who claim to hate intolerance in all its forms, may be rather intolerant themselves. Evans offers some imaginative worldbuilding in this sci-fi tale. Unfortunately, it’s ultimately too didactic to function as effective fiction, as seemingly every scene and conversation feels like a digression into some aspect of the current, real-life American culture war. He even occasionally includes brief polemics at the beginnings of chapters—at one point espousing, for example, the necessity of stereotypes. Evans makes little attempt to immerse readers in the reality of his story. Instead, the book unleashes its grievances in a heavy-handed fashion, attempting to discredit multiculturalism and immigration via awkward allegories.
A clunky outer-space adventure that tries to amuse but has trouble hiding its rage.