In Schuetz’s sci-fi novel, a man frozen in time is awoken in the far future to play his role in a mysterious destiny.
In the near future, the Alexander Virus—unleashed by brilliant scientist Miles Alexander—has killed millions. Now, 15 years after the outbreak, billionaire Douglas Worthington has summoned the scientist’s adult son, Alan Alexander, for something only he can provide: himself. Alan is the biometric key that will unlock his father’s research data on temporal stasis. Just as Alan arrives, chaos erupts. Alan is forced into the stasis field, and from one instant to the next, the world changes utterly. Rana, 15, a dancer and priestess-in-training, lives in the small fishing village to which a confused Alan is first brought. In her world, technology is highly advanced but scarce. When Rana is summoned to the capital to become a Guide—a human specially gifted with the Shepherd deity’s powers—Alan accompanies her small group to seek answers. Essentially, they’re off to see the Wizard. Along the way, as the group faces dangers, various memories and thoughts confuse Alan. In his debut novel, Schuetz provides an intriguing premise that hits the ground running and—via judiciously timed revelations—continually piques interest. Other points of view (a highhanded princess, a time-traveling villain) round out the story and give us further glimpses into this future world with its different cultures. The story becomes a bit confusing toward the end, and Schuetz doesn’t address some basic questions: Why is English unchanged after tens of thousands of years? Why doesn’t Alan ever wonder how the geography he’s traversing corresponds to the America he knows? But the issues Schuetz does combine here—selfhood, hubris, the ways technology or religion can be used for good or ill—make a meaty stew.
Mystery, sci-fi and political intrigue merge in this energetic, absorbing tale.