First Impressions of Chrom Y Returns

Find out The Space Girls first impressions of SPSFC3 contestant, Chrom Y Returns by L. V Ditchkus.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of Chrom Y Returns by L. V. Ditchkus. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

The cover for Chrom Y ReturnsBook blurb

Hundreds of years after a horrific disease destroys Earth’s male population, Sofia Andes7 and her wife embark on a perilous journey back in time to save humankind. While Sofia’s wife impregnates herself with five male zygotes, Sofia is transfixed by the sleeping sperm donor.

Sofia’s first and subsequent trips to the twenty-first century awaken long-dormant feelings, and she begins to question the presumed differences between men and women. As she grapples with the ethics of stealing sperm from the unwitting donor, Sofia hatches a plan to spare him from the deadly virus.

But Sofia’s altruistic plan may never materialize. Tenacious Sofia’s first priority is to protect her wife’s unborn babies from male-hating terrorist groups, questionable actions of their government, and a nefarious Artificial Intelligence.

With humanity’s future at stake, Sofia will draw on all her strengths to save the people she can. However, the laws of time and space have their own imperatives, and saving everyone she loves may be beyond her reach.

Goodreads / Amazon

Our first impressions

Nancy: The backbones of the plot was cool, but I didn’t understand why the time travelling protagonist Sophia wanted to cheat on her wife Brianna with an unconscious naked man she only saw for a few minutes of her life. Neither the man from our present time nor her wife knows about this. Time travel is not an important aspect of the plot, whereas the protagonist’s brash decisions are the main focus. It felt morally wrong for me that Sophia didn’t care about her wife’s feelings… or the man who doesn’t know about her existence. I would have liked the book a whole lot more if it ditched the time travel plot and located viable samples from a sperm bank. (N) 

Claire: I liked the question about what happens to straight women there are no men left – definitely something that’s not really thought about in these sorts of stories where all men or all women have died somehow (I’ve read a few books along those lines).

“Women eradicated warfare, unfair benefits for the wealthy, and pointlessly aggressive activities – like boxing, martial arts, and football. Why would we want to bring men back? They’d re-infiltrate our society with the brutality we’ve left in the past.”

I just found all of this very strange! I cannot believe that a woman-only world would suddenly create a peaceful utopia (it’s not like women aren’t also violent, greedy, or corrupt), but also that boxing, martial arts and football are considered ‘pointlessly aggressive activities’.

There were other inconsistencies throughout the sample I read that also bothered me. For example, the health risks of a woman carrying five babies to term was never discussed at all, and it also seemed strange that there were no information on the ‘dark periods’ of history. Wouldn’t these be widely distributed as a warning, and as a lesson about why the society has no men? Women also, apparently, don’t snore…!

The whole story to me just felt unrealistic, and I just couldn’t engage with it. As Nancy says, the biggest plothole of all is that Sophia could cheat on her wife based on an unconscious man she’d seen for only a few minutes. (N)

Katherine: Interesting opening with two time travellers breaking into a house, but started getting iffy pretty quickly:

  1. The main character doesn’t recognise the sound of snoring. I’m not sure if the author realises that women also snore and can do so incredibly loudly.
  2. The main character’s nipples harden just on smelling a guy. Seriously? Come on.
  3. She is somehow so incapable of resisting her urges that she strokes the unconscious patient. Very unprofessional.

It seemed weird to me that they made sure everything was as they left it but didn’t put the boy back where they found him.

Back in their ‘normal world’, everyone seems hostile for sort of weird reasons. The main character is just constant cringe and makes very stupid decisions. Everyone in this family apparently hates each other and doesn’t communicate at all. As a martial artist, the idea that women banned martial arts because it was too brutal for our delicate little souls makes me rather miffed.

Later, they’re going through with this programme to birth kids from time-travel collected sperm while the main character goes down a rabbit hole of desperately trying to get herself the man. I had several issues:

  1. There are vaccines for TWS, but apparently they can’t just vaccinate male clones.
  2. One person leaving the project apparently jeopardises the whole thing, which implies these women are all muppets who have never heard of contingency plans. Their backup should have been ready to go at the drop of a hat.
  3. The main character plans to vaccinate two men in the past just because she’s horny. That’s it. That’s the reason. Not only that, but she is obsessed to the point of destruction with this despite the fact that it is time travel and she could do it whenever.

Technically: Footnotes aren’t clickable in the version we got, which was annoying. It ditches the pluperfect. It doesn’t have stars separating scene breaks so it’s easy to miss a jump and get confused. (N)

Verdict: Cut

Please note that these opinions are the judges’ initial impressions of only a part of each book. A book being cut doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad or not worth reading.