What happens if a hard-driving advertising professional from the year 2012 fell forward seventy years into a green future? That’s the premise of Falling Through Time, the new eco-thriller from novelist Patrica Comroe Frank. Narrated in the first-person voice of the advertising executive, the book leads the reader on the adventures and misadventures of when worlds collide: the day a marketer of mass consumerism meets deep ecology.
After an accident in Alaska, Summer Holbrook, the narrator, wakes to a new world. It’s a rocky awakening for her. The future these urban refugees have carved out of the remote wilderness in California’s Siskiyou Mountains is the polar opposite of the high consumption world she’s left behind. Accustomed to creature comforts and luxury, she despises this new world of greatly reduced population, absent technology, and the return to basics.
Most puzzling of all is who are these mysterious holistic healers, living so harmoniously with nature? Their post-consumerism way of life results in a culture clash filled with serious—and sometimes humorous—misunderstandings. When Sophia, the village elder, traces the ecological “house of cards” that led to the environmental collapse, Summer is forced to confront her previous life of brands and the role she played in creating markets for foods and beauty products laced with chemicals, colorings, carcinogens, and genetically modified ingredients.
The book can easily be simply enjoyed as a fast-paced adventure-thriller, but the astute reader soon discovers the book delves deeper and can be considered equal parts Back to the Future meets An Inconvenient Truth—with perhaps, a sprinkling of In Defense of Food.
Falling Through Time is an unusual book as the author dares to “color outside the lines” as she crosses genres of contemporary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and green living. Somehow, Frank weaves it all together, and the reader will cheer for Summer as she undergoes her rejuvenation with help from village characters, including the steward of the forest and the warm bond she forms with a feral dog.