In my several decades of reading, I have never encountered the likes of Zero Mirrors.
The narrator is a sentient dress worn by the main character, a woman living in a city of boredom. Her companion is a kidult: an adult who had his body modified so he’s the size of a child, because that’s the only time of his life when he was truly happy. The dress is a WAD (Wearable Assistive Data-integrator) worn by Melony, who is a Sashayer in EasyLiving City (not a dancer, because dancing is illegal). Her dearest friend is Robben, the original pilot of the Tree, the area’s greatest building and a grounded spaceship.
Abetted by her companions, Melony’s goal is to sashay through time to save her land from a Plant Plague arriving from the future. Along with being thoughtful and hilarious, this time travel story deals with gender identity, ageism, and family leadership. A key theme is the nature of human movement, from dancing to fleeing to slipping through time.
I’m not going to delineate the story except to say it has three endings: past, present, and future. I’m not able to tell you how often I had to stop reading because the book was making my brain rattle from astonishment or my stomach churn from hilarity or my eyes tear from a poignancy beyond the reality we’re stuck with. A word I hate to see in the description of any artwork is “visionary,” but the word is appropriate here. H. C. Turk has a vision of the future that makes our present seem insubstantial and ignorant, a timeframe that should be left behind. With this book, the reader can abandon that mediocrity for an enthralling experience beyond the norm, exactly equal to the book’s unique, stylish energy.
“You can’t imagine how heartsick you can be when you don’t have a heart.”
Zero Mirrors by H. C. Turk. September 2020.
Reviewer bio: Recently retired from the construction industry, Gerty Haas is an avid reader and art lover living in Florida, which thankfully is not part of The South.