Sharon Lynn Fisher
Tor / October 30, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital
A world in peril. A bond deeper than love.
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world - a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she'd struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy - creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone - oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love - Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man she loves.
Ghost Planet is a science fiction romance from debut author Sharon Lynn Fisher. (I know the spine says “science fiction” but bear with me.) This book is a big deal because mainstream science fiction romances are few and far between, and sometimes they’re released from SF publishers rather than romance ones. So I was eager to discover how Ms. Fisher tackled the blend of science fiction and romance in this story.
And whoa, she sure nailed it!
What makes Ghost Planet really special is its high concept premise. Can you imagine how strange it would be to have the “ghost” of someone you know following you around everywhere? Living in your home. Watching you work. Standing behind you while you eat. Creepy in the extreme, I tell you.
Then there’s the fact that Elizabeth and Murphy are clearly attracted to one another. But how can a romance possibly flourish between a human and a “ghost?”
The beauty here is that the author folded the science fictional elements right into the heroine. When the story begins, scientists have yet to discover the true nature of the ghosts. What are they? Who are they? What is their purpose? And now, Elizabeth herself has become one. As a psychologist, she’s in a unique position to question and explore her predicament.
The story has strong mystery elements. The set-up is that Elizabeth must discover the true nature of what she’s become in order to avoid dangerous consequences. That aspect had me riveted because I was as much in the dark as the heroine. Her quest became my quest as she worked to solve the mystery.
Of course, Elizabeth still has the very human needs for love and belonging. These needs are thrown into stark relief in light of her new role. Unfortunately, the one man who can satisfy them is forbidden. And as the creator of the Ghost Protocol, Murphy faces a moral and ethical dilemma of his own. Basically, it’s the absolute worst time for a romance between these two. Those are some high stakes!
I won’t reveal anything more except to say that Ghost Planet is a heartfelt sci-fi romance with an intriguing mystery, an accessible “What if…?” concept, and a whole lotta chemistry.
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.