This science fiction book is off to a good and intriguing start. Marla Gershe, a dedicated and hard-working manager in a futuristic textile factory, is having a bad day. The deadlines for production are impossible and top management is ignoring her requests for more resources. She’s had enough and she starts a mini-revolution, only to end up unconscious in hospital after being shot in the stomach by a police officer. As she regains her senses, and her memory, she decides to start a new life far away from The Textile Planet, so she buys herself an exorbitantly priced ticket on the next space shuttle and leaves, never to come back. How she ends up on a desolate piece of rock in a yet uncharted part of the universe, falls in love with a naked man with a long beard and learns how to communicate with ants/fleas – is all way beyond the scope of a short review.
But what promises to be a sci-fi plot interlaced with social statements about exploitation of workers, the callousness of big business and the solitude of modern man – is sadly not so. As the plot thickens the book loses its focus. Marla’s adventures on her runaway journey go off on different tangents, and if it weren’t for the relatively fast pace of Lange’s writing (and the short length of the book), I’m afraid I would have lost my bearings. The prose is also somewhat awkward; for example, there is excessive use of long lists of synonyms to describe a situation or an action. Some editing would have worked miracles for the flow of the book.
All in all, it’s an intriguing story that could have benefited from a better delivery.