In a future United Kingdom, a male-specific virus forces survivors into Sanctuaries, creating Planet Girl; let the battle of the gender stereotypes begin.
Bergin (Who Runs the World?, 2017, etc.) wrestles with complicated issues in a gender-segregated future of all-female communities where everyone listens and agrees while the unfortunate males are imprisoned in Sanctuaries, valued only for their sperm count. XYs learn about life from sex vids and video games, passing their time running on literal and figurative treadmills. Mason, who speaks like a prospector from the Wild West (“Wimmin ain’t supposed to be like this!”) is rescued after nearly perishing during his escape from a Sanctuary by River, a future engineer who displays a puzzling lack of curiosity about anything except airplanes. Foiling Help and Rescue, the granmummas of the community, known for their grim memories and pot-growing, insist that Mason be saved. When River breaks one of the Seven Global Agreements, Mason relies on his Code of Honor to save her, launching their search for personal and political truths. Coarse language cobbles together a world with scarce electricity and few personal comforts that somehow manages the technological skills necessary for IVF, genetic modification, and world trade. Ironic character names and skillful foreshadowing earn literary nods in a story with more unanswered questions than a timed math test. Ethnicities are not specified.
A flood plain of a novel: all breadth and no depth. (Science fiction. 14-18)