cover image Longer


Michael Blumlein., $15.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-22981-6

This tragic, unsatisfying novel recalls Robert Sawyer’s Rollback (2007): a long-married couple has the opportunity to regain youth and pursue first-contact science together. Gunjita and Cav live and work alone in a space lab, where they are corporate flunkeys purportedly doing zero-g research on a drug that failed on Earth but might facilitate rejuvenation in space. At age 82, Gunjita rejuvenates, recovering her youthful body and appetites, but 84-year-old Cav is procrastinating. Their real preoccupation is an asteroid fragment apparently splattered in vomit. Cav is convinced the splatter is organic, even sentient; Gunjita is adamant that it isn’t. Their obdurate disagreement in the absence of evidence mocks their characterization as highly creative scientists. The marriage is a similarly shallow, polarized thing, especially for Gunjita. Youth is caricatured as untrammeled, impatient libido and age as painful incapacity; the narrative assumes that a marriage without penetrative sex is doomed to fail. Blumlein (X, Y) peppers the story with levity—dad jokes, flights of alliteration, and pastiched footnotes—but also gratuitous body horror involving embryos and babies. At heart, this discomfiting novel is a bitter depiction of the disintegration of an unhappy relationship, and readers hoping for more science in their science fiction will be disappointed. (June)