Hi there! Happy New Year, all! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and review for a M/M futuristic-world, dystopian romance from Tilly Keyes. LOVE LOGAN features a human in the year 4021 attempting to achieve respect and glory via a teleportation device, but everything goes wrong when his premier showing results in drawing a time traveler from 2021 through his device–ruining his tech, and his life.
About the book:
Zero’s teleportation machine is the talk of the town, but opening night it fails, leaving him a laughingstock. However, unknowingly, the machine pulls someone from the twentieth century and spits them out in Zero’s time.
Logan has strange, dull clothing and bland hair, and when he opens his mouth, it gets worse. He’s afraid of everything, but worst of all, his talk of love grates on Zero’s nerves.
He vows to fix the machine and send Logan home no matter what. Zero’s best friend, Honey, has other ideas. Despite Logan being terrified of her and labeling her a cat-person, she finds his talk of love enlightening.
With Logan about to go home, Zero needs to realize there’s more to life than going down in history before it’s too late.
How about a little taste?
Each shuffle of clothing and stomp of impatient feet increased Zero’s thumping heart. The curtain muffled the words of the audience, but they increased in volume until a unified grumble shook Zero’s bones. Being ten minutes late was part of his plan to build anticipation, but he hadn’t envisioned the wait would have him close to fainting from nerves.
Zero pursed his lips and exhaled slowly. He brushed his sweat-soaked palms on his suit, then removed his top hat and wiped his brow on his sleeve. He wanted to wear something more flamboyant with tassels and twinkling lights, but he softened his look and chose a stripped black-and-silver suit, and his trusty black top hat. The night was all about his invention, and he dressed down to put all emphasis on it.
“This is such a bad idea.”
Honey’s words pulled him from his thoughts, and he turned to her, widening his eyes.
“You’re here for support, not to further my anxiety.”
Zero could see her normal ellipse shaped pupils had narrowed to a line of black, splitting her lime irises in two. She was afraid for him, and he couldn’t deny that fear when his heart tried to escape his chest.
“If—If only you’d tested the machine.”
Zero pushed his hat firmly on his head. “I have tested it.”
“But never like this. You haven’t done this with a living thing—”
“It will work,” Zero said.
Honey gripped his arm. “But what if it doesn’t?”
He frowned and glanced at her paw that gripped his arm. She blinked then retracted her claws with a softly spoken apology.
“This is my moment. I can feel it in my bones. My life is about to change.”
“Dying is life changing, life ending,” she replied.
Zero shook his head. “I won’t die—hopefully I won’t die, and if I do, I hope it will be quick.”
“What if you walk through and only half of you appears on the other side?”
Zero lifted his hand and tilted it one way and then the other. “Well, if that happens, I’ll die quickly, so it’s not so bad.”
Honey hissed and flattened her ears. “Don’t make jokes.”
“I wasn’t joking,” he said, turning to face her. “If it goes wrong and I die, then you know I died doing what meant the most to me. Besides, I couldn’t live with the shame of a failure, so let’s hope it is either roaring success and I appear in the opposite arch or it’s unable to put my atoms back together and I die instantly.”
Honey shut her eyes and bowed forward. Zero rubbed at her arms, but she didn’t straighten to look at him. She sagged further.
“I can’t go out there until I see your smile,” he whispered.
She sniffled and shook her head. “I don’t feel like smiling.”
“Please Honey, for me. I need to see it. You’re my lucky charm.”
“Fine,” she said with a huff. “But you better not die.”
Zero thought better than making that promise. It was a strong possibility, not that he admitted it to her.
Honey lifted her head and twitched her cheeks. Her nose rose, and two daggered teeth showed through her narrow lips.
“Thank you,” Zero said.
The second the words left him, her smile dropped, and she breathed heavily through her nose.
“Right,” he said and clutched his lapels. “Here I go.”
Zero is a human living in the underground world of Earth in the fourth millenium. He’s a handy guy, a picker-fixer who aspires to be an inventor. In this world, no one lives above ground, as the atmosphere was destroyed by nuclear war time out of mind ago. Along with humans in this subterranean existence are Furists and Cold-Blooded. This means they are humanoid fur-covered beings, like giant cats, or scaly ambulatory snake-like people. These are not mutants, their ancestors arrived from other planets looking for shelter as their home worlds died. The social structure in this time is not family-groups. Children may be raised by their parents until they are 10, but are then turned loose within the “islands” of population where they are expected to manufacture a living from whatever skills they possess. If they show themselves to be industrious, these foundlings can earn a basic apartment and token credits to get food. If anyone from this time stops earning and runs out of the tokens or food to sustain themselves they will be shipped out to another planet, likely to scrape an existence from the recycling dumps they have made of other worlds.
Zero wants to be more than a simple technician for fruit pickers. He has been building a teleportation device using scavenged parts for nearly ten years. He scrimped and saved his tokens to buy a theater in which to demonstrate his device for the wealthy Elite, who live in a hovering island above the rabble of commoners below. One of these Elite is Apollo, A former Lover of Zero’s who took his design ideas for improving hovercars and made himself an Elite, abandoning Zero. Apollo never stays away from Zero for long, relishing the power he has over him as and Elite, and enjoying any slights and suffering Zero experiences. Instead of teleporting Zero, this device brings a man from they year 2021 into his own time. Zero doesn’t know this, at first. He thinks this plain and unusual “Logan” person was paid by Apollo to ruin his device, and humiliate him in front of his audience. Zero is bitter and furious, and leaves Logan in the care of his best friend and assistant, a Furian called Honey.
It is Honey that determines Logan must have come from somewhere else, because he’s terrified by “cat-people” and his reactions prompt Zero to investigate. He’s not happy to discover his teleporter is a time machine. he can’t use that for any social or monetary currency in his world. If anyone discovered Logan’s origin, he’d be studied or killed, and Zero’s too wound up in his own disgrace to really care that Logan is a man out of time. It is only more irritating that Logan’s ancient sensibilities, like “love” and “family ties”, are somehow resonating with Honey. She convinces Zero to fix the machine to send Logan back, but this will take time and tokens, two things Zero is running short on–especially once Logan’s ineptitude costs Zero his day job.
Meanwhile, as Zero endeavors to repair his device, he’s unwillingly charmed by Logan’s card tricks and “magic”, another unfamiliar concept. It turns out that Logan’s father was a successful magician in his time, and Logan often studied as his assistant. The magic he performs seems much like what Zero would like to produce scientifically, and the rapport grows between them. This is dangerous, naturally, because Logan is meant to return to his own time, but also, the unfamiliar feelings associated with that love concept are interfering with Zero’s ability to provide for himself and Logan. Apollo’s lurking on the edges, hoping to exploit Zero’s vulnerabilities, as well.
This is a magical and intriguing dystopian love story, with two great MCs finding love in the most unexpected way. Logan is so out of his element, he’s quaint and trite in the most basic sense of wishing both for a return home and also for true love building between himself and Zero. For his part, Zero is a selfish man–because that is the prime directive of his society. Sex is sex, and work is currency in his world. He could trade himself for sex to earn the tokens he needs to manage his life and help Logan, but doing so will alienate Logan, who’s rather puritanical about the situation.
I adored the world-building here, and the love story as it developed. There were great moments of tension, especially as Zero built the device that would take his one true love far away to the past. His own impending bankruptcy and inevitable removal from society is also a great emotional hurdle, promising hurt on top of hurt before the climax. I loved Zero myself long before he solved his problems and found his happily ever after. Highly recommend!
About the Author:
Tilly lives in a small village in the UK, surrounded by fields, and meadows.
By day, she’s looks after her two lively boys, but by night…she’s usually asleep, too exhausted to write, but sometimes she gets lucky, sometimes she settles down with a nice cup of tea and sinks into a story.
She hopes you enjoy them. Let her know by sending her an email.