Schenck (Priests and Warriors, 2013, etc.) presents the picaresque adventures of a sexual messiah in this novel.
The ancient elders and power brokers of the planet Nuevo-Zillow-Pillow, after thousands of years of working on genetic manipulations, have finally managed to arrange for a human woman on Earth to give birth to a savior for both planets. Nuevo-Zillow-Pillow is an advanced world, free of war and economic inequality, but it’s been decades since a child was born there, and Earth, though violent and fertile, is racing toward Armageddon. The child, Malik, is expected to rescue both worlds through the sheer perfection of his spirit, mind and body—particularly one part of his body, which is praised by several characters (including Malik himself) throughout the course of the book (“His powers impregnated thousands of the planet’s choicest women”). Malik is born to a humble human woman and a huckster preacher; later, he’s befriended by Liz and Trey, both of whom will play important roles in his adult life. As an adult, Malik grows to become a sexual dynamo who, in an oddly anticlimactic turn, gradually settles down to work in a mortgage financing firm at the peak of the housing bubble. Most of the narrative’s strength comes from the vivid cast of secondary characters that surrounds Malik—his lecherous father, his hapless mother, the various women who lust after him—and Schenck’s sarcastic satire of their misadventures is often entertaining. However, in a serious dramatic misstep, the plot lays out every major development of Malik’s life through a prophecy in the book’s first chapter, after which they all happen as predicted. For the bulk of the novel, the fate of Nuevo-Zillow-Pillow (and Earth) is put on hold; instead, readers get lurid, often coarse, and sometimes misogynistic and homophobic descriptions of Malik’s sexual adventures, culminating in his sexual humiliation at the hands of several earlier partners. The book also describes Malik as a paragon of intellectual refinement, which makes his employment history, first in a furniture store and then at the mortgage company, disappointing and confusing.
An uneven tale of a purported extraterrestrial savior on the path to his destiny.