Evidently, Danielle Steel has been kidnapped by a mad scientist who clamped her into some gizmo that fused her brain with that of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
. While Steel's umpteenth novel, The Klone and I: A High-Tech Love Story
, boasts her typical trappings--a divorced heroine, a cruel man, a sexy man with big money, and lots of shopping with brand-name tags conspicuously attached--the book is also the wackiest piece of self-indulgent sci-fi since Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic
The Klone and I starts out normally enough: after a 13-year marriage, Stephanie, 41, gets dumped for a busty young bimbo. "She was gorgeous. And I felt nauseous," Stephanie reflects--though she admits that things hadn't been going well, what with hubby living off her trust fund and their having sex every six months or so. Realistically, their farewell hug goes like this: "My nose ran on his tie, while ever so cautiously he held me, kind of like a bank robber with sticks of dynamite taped all over his body." Then, one day, on an impulsive trip to the Left Bank of Paris, Steph steps into one of those cool old French elevators with Peter, a hunk in a button-down Oxford shirt and tasteful khakis. Romance! Ritzy places! In fact, he takes her to the Ritz! Alas, Peter must Louvre her and leave her for a business trip out West. So Peter sends Paul to keep her company. Paul is a dead ringer for Peter, because he's a kind of clone created by Peter and his clever biotech company. He's called a "klone" to distinguish him from a conventional clone, which is a mere replica of its original--this "klone" may be a physical copy of Peter, but inside he's had a major id upgrade. As always with Steel, the clue is in the character's clothes: from his high-heeled alligator boots to his zippered zebra jumpsuit, the decidedly non-buttoned-down Paul dresses like a psychedelic kaleidoscope. But when Paul drops that leopard-satin G-string, watch out! It's quadruple flips in flagrante delicto, with our heroine (and, the next morning, her chiropractor) coming out on top. Though Paul deplorably guzzles Chateau d'Yquem by the case and crashes Peter's Jaguar into snow banks, he's actually even more brilliantly empathic with Stephanie's kids than stuffy Peter is. What's a mother to do? Is Steph robbing Peter to play with Paul? How will the ménage à trois affect marriage plans? Does Steel know that her comic tone (though not her subject) actually slightly echoes that of Betty MacDonald's classic comedy memoir The Egg and I, whose title she alludes to? Is the author a convert from fiction to sci-fi, like Doris Lessing? Will the real Ms Steel ever reappear, or has her mind been psychedelicized? --Tim Appelo
A wickedly funny look at finding the perfect mate in an imperfect world.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.