This debut novel sees Earth’s best wielders of magic defending humanity against a space-born evil.
In the year 2038, Piper Robbin seems like your average mango-haired barista. The Brooklyn native loves Cambodian khor stew takeout and the idea of singing on Broadway. But she is in fact Bianca Elise Cappello, a centuries-old Grand Sorceress of the Holy Roman Empire. Her father is an immortal World Maker named Edison Godfellow, aka Leonardo da Vinci and Hercules. He’s come back from a future in which the War for Utopia has been won, but at the cost of the human race. Phase One of the Grand Human Transfiguration has already begun, killing off the world’s population of sociopaths and narcissists. In two days, a kinder humanity will merge into a “million ton mass of flesh composed...of super brutes and...beautiful divas.” But that mass organism must not fall victim to a cosmic predator that waits in the Orion Nebula. When Piper’s apartment explodes with Tao energy (on which magic runs), she knows that World Maker Catherine Romanova, her father’s nemesis, is responsible. Piper must defeat Catherine so that Edison can create his protective Oz-scapes—or place major cities like New York and Berlin inside magical domes and atop vast towers. Once Gleeson cracks open his frothy imagination, all manner of conceptual madness rushes forth. If Thomas Pynchon wrote an episode of Doctor Who, there might be a scene where “the hyper-velocity shells” of Catherine’s Glock generated “a blinding burst and a noise loud as July 4th in Disneyland compressed to one second.” Jaded sci-fi and fantasy readers should flock to this fearlessly inventive narrative that sprinkles pop-culture references (like the David Bowie line “We could be heroes, just for one day”) on unflagging optimism about humanity’s potential. The author’s daring plot devices include moving Earth to safety and changing his protagonist’s gender. The downside to this kind of full-throttle wackiness is the difficulty in creating believable danger when seemingly anything can happen.
A bold sci-fi tale that delivers an absurdist paradise.