In Maison’s YA SF novel set on a flooded future Earth, a teenager learns that plastic waste in the water has evolved—and that she can create new life out of it.
On a planet wracked by pollution, flooding, and mass starvation, organized society has collapsed and countless orphaned children must fend for themselves. Eva, who’s 16, has been foraging on her own in a coastal environment. While exploring an island, she finds that the ubiquitous bits of plastic detritus floating in the water have somehow mutated into a wormlike form of life. She also discovers that she can shape these figurines into lifelike recreations of other fauna, including fish, butterflies, and raccoons. Such synthetic creations only come to full life on or near the mysterious island. Jacob, a refugee boy who may be in league with some threatening people, steals Eva’s boat, leaving her stranded there. She eventually dares to build other young people out of the worms, leaving her with a fully sentient “sister” named Iris, among other companions. The humanoids seem friendly and comforting, but it turns out that the “plastic people” can manufacture other people of their own—and Eva finds a male specimen, portentously named Cain, to be threatening. Readers may find the preponderance of pseudo-Biblical names to be a bit distracting over the course of this novel. However, Maison has crafted an enigmatic, surreal SF castaway tale that ultimately pays off with a suspenseful account of a fight for survival. It manages to leave more than enough questions unanswered to allow for follow-up installments. The YA target audience may appreciate the fact that the spooky narrative, which is sometimes reminiscent of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, never becomes childish in tone, even when venturing into the dicey territory of tormented teen love in fantastic circumstances.
An eerie and somewhat elusive SF tale that takes plastic recycling to a new level.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 235
Publisher: Wicked Tree Press
Review Posted Online: April 14, 2020