The city of Seattle is being held in stasis under an alien bubble in which it is always the October 5, only, nobody seems to realize it. Nobody, that is, until Ian Palmer and his friend Zach suddenly start to get an inkling something’s wrong. At the same time, the rest of the towns around Seattle are being infected with a rain-based zombification disease that’s turning everyone into SAB’s, or Skin and Bone people. Everyone, that is, except for Kylie, a 16 year old from Oakdale.

“He recalled a chubby man with female breasts and a porkpie hat standing up in a bathtub. And a thing like a giant jellyfish swaying before him. Jesus.”

page 192

When Ian finally finds the cause of the repeating days, he tries to “wake up” other people around him. When Kylie finally finds her way inside the bubble, she tries to blend in with the automaton people so that the aliens don’t find her, but then Kylie and Ian meet. 

Why is this on our bookshelf?

It was nominated for the 2013 Philip K. Dick award.  Plus that whole alien time loop thing.

Rating (2 stars)

I hate to stomp all over this book, because from the back summary, “Seattle is in an alien time loop and only these two people can destroy it!” the premise sounds like a total winner. In reality though, I found it a repetitive yet convoluted jumble of story that I started counting down on by page 68. And because it was a PKD Award Nominee, I did some Googling to make sure that it wasn’t just me, and it seems that it isn’t.

The first thing that stalled me was the choppy nature of the writing. I understand that not everyone is Faulkner, but something about the short, almost curt sentences kept the story from flowing nicely into my brain. The second turn off was what felt like a shock-and-awe sex scene 9 pages in (as Kylie is the last person in town with a sex drive…even if she is 18 and getting it on with her 35 year old boyfriend) The sex was followed in that storyline with a priest who used to molest Kylie under the pretense of giving her flying lessons and now wants to subject her to female genital mutilation.

I almost feel like I don’t need to add in the fact that the OTHER storyline’s time loop repeats more times than anyone needs it to to make the point that yes, there is in fact, A TIME LOOP, but yes, in fact, there is a TIME LOOP and there are at least four chapters that drive that point home with only minor changes each time.

By the time you get to the second half of book (where Molester Priest has appeared YET AGAIN after being presumed dead/left behind at least three prior times) and Kylie gets into Seattle, the story takes an abrupt left turn into being a Kylie-and-Ian adult movie for a while. It was about the third time that the zookeeper for Seattle, aka the “Curator” meandered pointlessly through that I finally gave up and skimmed the last 50 pages.

Honestly, I wanted to like Preservation. I really did. The concept seemed similar to Bonecrusheranother story of a walled-off Seattle where the people inside aren’t what they seem and a protagonist that has to get inside to solve a problem. However, in Preservation, the reality is that neither of the stories, outside or inside, are that captivating, and you don’t really root for any of the two dimensional characters.