Love in the Time of Fridges
by Tim Scott
Review by Paul Haggerty
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553384413
Date: 29 July 2008 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Huckleberry "Huck" Linbergh is returning to the city of New Seattle after eight years. He's not quite sure why he's returning, nor really sure why he left in the first place. The intervening years have been drowned in a desperate and yet futile attempt to forget his past. But the past travels with us, and cannot be outrun. Of course, while people seldom change the fundamental core of who they are, the same cannot be said for places. New Seattle now has a zero tolerance policy on danger, and they're going to enforce it, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
Huck just wants to settle into some semblance of a normal life … not that he's sure of what that is either. But fate has other plans for him. He's no sooner through the gates of the city when he's arrested for having a bad mood. And bundled along with him is a strange woman with her own secrets and agenda. They're due to have the last day of their lives recorded and then erased. It's apparently standard procedure, nothing personal. And while Huck may have nothing to hide, his new friend, Nena, has a lot to hide. One jail break later (with a side order of assault and battery on several police officers) and Huck is on the run and trying to figure out what's happening to him now.
The department of Health and Safety is all powerful in New Seattle. They watch for unsafe walkers on the streets and conduct unannounced inspections of residences to make sure there aren't any hard edges that someone could bark a shin on. And they have a safety pamphlet for everything. But what do you expect from a city with the motto, "Do not die for no reason", and is currently building a wall all around the city to keep the citizens safe?
Huck wants his life back and to get it, all he has to do is solve a conspiracy, avoid the omnipresent city services that are "there for his own good", and help Nena with a pack of rogue appliances, mostly refrigerators, that dream of a better life in Mexico. Because the streets are also crawling with the Fridge Patrol, sworn servants of justice that hunt down renegade appliances and exile them to special compounds in the desert. Perhaps if he can straighten his brain out enough to help those in need, he'll finally be able to come to grips with his own needs, and come to an understanding with that part of his mind that won't let his past rest in peace.
Love in the Time of Fridges is a completely different novel than Scott's previous book Outrageous Fortune, but it's clearly part of the same twisted imagination. Scott manages to create universes which hold themselves together, no matter how bizarre the events that happen all around you at ground level. The situations are so insane that you can't help laughing. But if you step back and look at these worlds as a whole, you have to wonder how anyone could stay sane in there.
Take a look at the worlds of Tim Scott. Strange as it may be, I think you'll feel at home.