Jeff Stott, Past Un-Earthed. Self-published, 2012. Pp. 300. ISBN 978-1-3017-9957-2. $2.99.Reviewed by Kate Onyett
It takes a while for the penny to drop, but once it does, it’s a doozy. This is the story of two young people who met, fell in love and then had to face the consequences of their choices. On a relatively simple premise, Stott has built a moving and highly plausible science-fictional romance. Joshua is an Earth lad with stress-induced powers of strength and recuperation. Orphaned at fourteen and subsequently emotionally shut off from the world, he falls for beautiful Mari, and starts a wonderful romance, only to discover she has secrets, one of which is a pregnancy he had no hand in. Mari—or rather, Lara—is a naive girl from the planet Lateo, one of an advanced race, among which a devastating disease among the planet’s children is being blamed on exposure to Earth. In a high-powered political existence, Lara has her black-and-white preconceptions about politics and her father’s moral purity ripped away. Forced into marriage with the opposition leader, she flees to Earth. Once there, she strives to find the one member of the original exploration mission who stayed and fell in love with a ‘mere’ human. Instead she finds instead his reclusive son, and comes to realise that the most pervasive of ‘infections’ is this thing called love.