MediaMonday for July 23, 2012: Are the Rules of Engagement for Serious Novels Changing? Source media by Warren Adler for Huffington Post, July 18, 2012.

Love is a universal emotion. Some say it is what separates humans from lower life forms. Often misunderstood and misused, love has fueled storytellers, poets, playwrights and novelists for as long as humans have used words. How does love differ from devotion, admiration, attraction and lust? Can humans truly love entities that have no flesh and blood? We’ll discuss these questions and others this Wednesday in #litchat. Wrapping up this discussion on Friday is guest host Lydia Netzer, author of Shine, Shine, Shine.

Shine, Shine, Shine is a love story and so much more. It’s a study on how we judge people consciously and unconsciously, and how some people cover their differences, some people exploit them, and why it’s so easy to do this. It’s a journey into space, into populating the moon with robots designed to build perfect human colonies. It’s an odyssey of flashbacks from the jungles of Burma, to the heartland of America, through the robotic voice of the POV character, Sunny.

Sunny, however, isn’t a robot. She’s a normal woman in every way, except she was born without body hair. Her mother guides her into celebrating her difference by refusing to let her wear wigs to cover her bald head. Add to this mix her future husband, an awkward boy named Maxon, who we come to understand is a savant genius somewhere on the autism spectrum. It’s no surprise when their child, Bubber, is diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

When Maxon takes a job designing robots for NASA’s upcoming colonization of the moon, the couple moves to suburban Virginia, where Sunny begins wearing wigs, false eyelashes and eyebrows to fit in with the other SUV-driving mothers. Sunny and Maxon’s odd courtship and married life takes up much of the backstory, while the immediate action of the story begins as Sunny’s wig is thrown off her head when she has a minor car accident while her husband is on a rocketship heading for the moon, her mother is dying in hospice, and she is eight months pregnant. When Maxon’s rocketship is struck by a meteor and the mission is doomed, readers watch Sunny snapping and stretching with superhuman strength and resolve. Shine, Shine, Shine peels away the hearts and flowers of romance to explore the nature of love in its myriad types and shapes.

Lydia Netzer was born in Detroit and educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her two home-schooled children and mathmaking husband. When she isn’t teaching, blogging, or drafting her second novel, she writes songs and plays guitar in a rock band.

Follow Lydia Netzer on Twitter: @lostcheerio