Your universe is in peril and you have the ability to save it, but only if you give up your life as you know it and everyone you’ve ever known. Sounds like a premise of a science fiction story, but it’s the reality for Debbie in Sputnik’s Children by Terri Favro.
Debbie Biondi is the creator of the successful comic book series Sputnik Chick: A Girl With No Past. Readers are keenly interested in learning about Sputnik Chick’s origin story after 25 years of Sputnik Chick’s adventures, despite her being the “girl with no past.” To reveal the origin story, Debbie has to reveal the unbelievable story of her childhood from the alternate timeline of Atomic Mean Time, as the comic books are a therapeutic way for Debbie to deal with the traumatic events of her past.
I was entertained by the fully realized alternate reality presented in the world of Atomic Meant Time and all the dystopian fears from the Cold War era. The time travel element of this story is a bit Whovian in nature with Debbie encountering the Traveller at various points in both of their lives, often with only one of them aware of the relevance of the other person. Hopping between Earth Standard Time and Atomic Mean Time to tell the story was captivating as a way to intersperse backstory with current narrative, although some of it was incorporated a bit roughly and could have used a bit more finesse to make it more seamless.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.