Time travelers, storytellers, and evolving synthetic beings lead Terri Favro’s tour de force novel.
There are approximately two and a half thousand alternate worlds that Debbie knows of—one for each nuclear blast set off in Earth Standard Time. Debbie, an artist with the Schrödinger gene, traverses the boundaries of these worlds, seeking inspiration for her famed graphic novel series. But Debbie also carries unseen wounds from Atomic Mean Time, the world she split off from, where a visitor from the future charged her with destroying her world to save the rest.
As Debbie watches the EST version of her erstwhile husband waffle as the Canadian prime minister, fights off timesickness, and sees EST descend into a xenophobic frenzy, she becomes exhausted. Another slip between worlds could kill her, but she’s short on the inspiration she needs to keep her series going. A found comic book detailing the exploits of vicious Futureman provides her with a possible new archvillian—a find that seems fortuitous, until his world starts bleeding into EST. Debbie and other “undesirables” are pulled into a paused time, where automatons plot to send them “back where they came from.” It’s a horror that will require an artist’s great ingenuity to stop.
This rich, imaginative story is piled with threats both bygone and ongoing; it contains nostalgic callbacks to mid century dreams, but also an understanding of the dangers of nostalgia itself. Debbie straps on conical bras—and is strapped to a desk as an imprisoned artist; machines attempt to force the singularity. And in a land where bombs fell and viruses consumed the population, Debbie tells her once and future tale to a old friend, reminding all who listen of the value of all beings, no matter their origins.
The Sisters Sputnik is a multiverse tale unlike any you’ve read before.
Michelle Anne Schingler
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