Two hundred years in the future, Earth gasps in the wake of ecological disaster. Humanity has found ways to survive, but unless they find ways to restore the balance it’s only a matter of time before they are lost. When plague-baby Minh is offered the opportunity to bid on a Time Travel job, she puts together a team the banks can’t refuse, and with some effort manages to secure the job. Though the past is ripe with samples and information, its population is a savage, superstitious, and ornery beast. Believing these travelers from the future to be either monsters or angry gods, King Shulgi must stand and fight if he’s to maintain power and the respect of his people. The gods demand it.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this story at first. The writing was impeccable, but the early chapters of the story were a little dense, spending half the pages getting lost in the process of securing the team and the actual permission from the time travel company to head back to 2000 B.C.E. There was time, however, in those early pages to get to know the characters a little, and by the time they were embroiled in the thick of world history, I’d started to care about what happened to them.
It was interesting to me, seeing an old and savage culture interpret the arrival of these future humans, who were so very different than anything they could possibly imagine, and I found myself anticipating the weaving together of the two stories. I was reminded of some of the Ancient Aliens conspiracies that believe hieroglyphs of those ancient cultures confirm humanity was visited by people from the stars, as that was almost exactly how I imagined Shulgi, his priestess, and the people of that time reacted to the strange events unfolding before them.
Overall, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach was a really fun read, and it didn’t take me long to read through it, as it’s actually novella-sized, rather than short novel. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something as intriguing as it is quirky. It’s always fun to glimpse how other people might imagine a dystopian future, and Kelly Robson’s imagination is delightful.