What if our first contact from another planet was a human? What if the first real alien to visit Earth from another solar system was a woman on a mission to find the distantly related cousins of her own people? What if she brought with her a warning of an impending disaster of apocalyptic proportions? And what if nobody believed her?
Al Past’s novel Distant Cousin is a most unusual science fiction story with a most unusual heroine. Ana Darcy has jeopardized her mission and cut herself off from her own people to bring a desperate warning to Earth authorities. Astronomers at a Texas observatory don’t believe her, but the US military is willing to interrogate her—under custody of course. Her astonishing escape from Army detainment is our first hint that she may be more than she first appears and capable of more than we imagine. While the military scrambles to locate and recapture the woman they call “Gidget from Outer Space,” Darcy realizes that her journey to Earth has placed her in the path of the oncoming destruction and she will suffer Earth’s fate if the calamity is not avoided.
Befriended by ordinary people as varied as the family of a Texas dude ranch foreman, a mild-mannered reporter, and an Olympic contender from Barbados, Darcy conceives a daring plan to evade government capture while hiding in plain sight, and to deliver her warning in a manner which cannot possibly be ignored. Afterward, she might just fall in love … if she can trust her own feelings … and if she can trust her boyfriend with the truth about her origins. This is a science fiction novel which might better be described as a love story with scientific speculation. The premise of humans on another world is startling, and the author reels out details about Darcy’s homeworld so sparingly that our curiosity is cleverly aroused. It is only when unexpected arrivals provoke a sudden crisis of diplomacy that we learn exactly what Darcy gave up in accepting her mission to Earth—and what she might be running from.