this sci-fi tale remains thoughtful and emotional
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Alternative pasts and genders arise from a failed quantum energy experiment …
this sci-fi tale remains thoughtful and emotional.
Alternative pasts and genders arise from a failed quantum energy experiment in this debut novel. Alexandria Jane Merk is a white Army veteran who, “at twenty-six, had left her soul on the streets of Tikrit, Iraq” when she couldn’t save two young boys. She”s now attending a university in Pullman, Washington, accompanied by friends Quentin Khan, a chubby, Arabic “man-child,” and Katie Jo Parker, a very tall black woman and fellow vet.
Alex Jane becomes affected by a physics experiment that causes her to lose “contact with herself,” creating alternative pasts for two separate identities into which she splits. One is college freshman Sarah Beth Merk, who generally feels that life is good, although she has almost-buried memories of a horrifying childhood event. The other is Alexander “Alex” James Monroe, an Army vet with disturbing childhood memories of his own centering on his great-great-grandmother-“Babushka”- and the mental gymnastics she forced him to undergo with a set of matryoschka, Russian nesting dolls, covered with mysterious writing.
And Sarah Beth/Alex are similar to these dolls, because she seemingly exists as a “flesh-hued thing” that slips on and off; in fact, she”s “pure energy” and “the most dangerous thing on Earth.” The dual entity, their friends, and government researchers must race to solve mounting puzzles before Sarah Beth loses control. …
The gender what-if is central and has a remarkable twist. Gene”s dialogue is naturalistic, although characterization sometimes falters. … This sci-fi tale remains thoughtful and emotional.
Matryoschka Heritage Novels and Short Stories