★ An unconventional, satirical, controversial, time travel comedy!
What if you could reach back in time to deport the world’s worst environmental villains to a depository planet before their greed condemns Earth to an ecological apocalypse? What if each time you did so, an alien instantly extracted a body part and replaced it with a refurbished one? Would you still do it?
With little choice but to cooperate, Dr. Stefan Westin (aka Doctor Refurb) and vet tech Tara Kramer endure multiple body part extractions for the sake of Earth. Then, with the help of Rodney, a full-time planetary consultant from another galaxy, they must finish the job by traveling back in time to capture Ralph, a rebellious alien who has been jumping from person to person doing evil in the name of Christianity since biblical times. But Ralph could be anywhere—from leading the Spanish Inquisition, to instigating the Salem witch hangings, to abusing indigenous children at residential schools in Canada, to occupying an abusive missionary in Brazil. Only by capturing Ralph can Stefan and Tara annul the unholy marriage between conservative Christianity and the worst environmental villains. Adding to the difficulty of their task is that they must succeed before expending their time travel budget. Should they fail, Rodney’s supervisor won’t wait for the ecological apocalypse to happen—she’ll order Earth recycled immediately!
Heartrending yet hilarious, Doctor Refurb is influenced by actual historical events and confronts the serious subjects of climate change, far-right politics, and child abuse committed by Christian authorities.
Doctor Refurb is intended for open-minded readers and will be published to coincide with Banned Books Week 2022. Read it before it becomes the most frequently banned book of 2033! (We’re time travelers; we checked.)
Breezy and conversational, Doctor Refurb takes a critical approach to the state of the world and offers a darkly comic take on how so much, throughout history, has gone horribly wrong … and the challenge of setting it right. References to real-life politicians, businesses, and controversies abound—“What about going back in time and deporting Donald Trump when he was still a game show host?” Westin suggests, and we’ll not reveal what that thread develops into. The spirit is outraged yet hopeful, its warning dead serious. Even when it seems the odd team might succeed in putting off Earth’s imminent end, Essen reminds readers that humanity is always one step away from catastrophe.
Essen avoids easy answers or indulging in power fantasies, instead navigating an outlandish scenario with logic and a respect for consequences, especially the unexpected kinds. Just as in life, there’s always another fire to put out—and people willing to step up to help.
Takeaway: This hilarious SF novel pits a doctor and a time-traveling alien against eco catastrophe.
Great for fans of: Douglas Adams, Robert Sheckley.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A