A novel presents the story of one sci-fi fan’s amazing journey.
The action begins at a Vystar convention in Atlanta. Vystar is a popular sci-fi TV show, and its conventions attract devotees from around the country. One enthusiast is an unassuming Florida State University student named Arianna Drake. When a handsome man named Roger asks Arianna to come to a hotel room at the convention, she cannot be entirely sure what she is in for. In the hotel room, she meets Ellen Stratton, the wife of Henry Stratton, who plays Capt. Kosak on Vystar. Ellen explains that she is about to file for divorce due to Henry’s womanizing, and, just to prove her point as to his untoward ways, Ellen would like a young woman to seduce him. In exchange for her efforts, Arianna will not only get to meet one of her idols, she will also receive a round-trip flight to Los Angeles (where she will sit next to Henry) and a shopping spree courtesy of his credit cards. Arianna jumps at the offer, and, with the help of professionals, she is soon a stunner who turns heads throughout the convention. Henry winds up coming on to Arianna aggressively even though she insists that she is unavailable: she has a boyfriend she plans to one day marry. Once in Los Angeles, however, Arianna can no longer resist Henry’s charm. She is soon at his mansion, where the two share a steamy night, and, the following day, she accompanies him to the set of Vystar. It is on the set of Arianna’s most beloved show that the unthinkable happens: she winds up being cast as a recurring character. What else will Hollywood have in store for her?
As readers follow Arianna’s bizarre odyssey from fan to star, it seems she must hit a wall at some point. What of her boyfriend back home? What if Henry becomes a jerk? But, as it turns out, these are hardly worth worrying about. Arianna engages in her share of verbal spats and even has a public fight with Henry, though most of their conversations are amicable. Dialogue often slows such events, with characters tending to speak in matter-of-fact ways, as when Henry explains a gift he bought for Arianna by noting: “I saw it and knew it was for you, so I bought it.” But the crux of Cox’s (Sheolite Fantasy Compilation, 2016, etc.) intriguing tale is Arianna’s wild ride of good luck; more intense frictions simply do not develop. The story is at its best when Arianna encounters aspects of a world she had never dreamed of, such as teenagers wanting her autograph at a grocery store. It is the type of occurrence anyone with such ambitions can identify with, no matter how minor the incident might seem to others. And that is the driving, if simplistic, power of the lively novel: if such one-in-a-million stardom can happen to Arianna, it could happen to anyone.
While it lacks pressing conflicts, this book delivers a breezy rendition of a Hollywood dream.