NEVER LOVE A STRANGER

Author(s): 
Stay-at-home widow Annie Simpson finds a naked man standing in her kitchen—an extremely perfect man who rather forcefully prevents a call to the police. Nevertheless, she begins to feel less and less threatened. Then, he tells her that he's James from the future.

James turns out to be a robot, but because he's so humanlike and the sex is so wonderful and she's falling in love, Annie doesn't know the truth until human hunters from the future try to kill him.

In this off-putting future society, which mixes elements of antebellum South and Holocaust-era Germany, space can be easily bent with one place touching another, disease is eliminated, and immediate travel from place to place makes for the absence of provincial hatreds—except toward the machines. The highly developed robots—although sentient enough to carry on conversation and crave freedom and love—are viewed as slaves and do all the work.

The attraction of Annie to James, the resulting sex and developing love present no problem from her point of view. Once the fact that James is a machine becomes clear, what, how and why he might feel love isn't as convincing. Here, the author fails to make clear the difference between machine and human—the main issue that needed to be defined. (Jun., 300 pp., $11.99)
Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger