The Space Between Worlds

eBook, 336 pages

English language

Published Aug. 3, 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton.


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4 stars (5 reviews)

‘My mother used to say I was born reaching, which is true. She also used to say it would get me killed, which it hasn't. Not yet, anyway.’

Born in the dirt of the wasteland, Cara has fought her entire life just to survive. Now she has done the impossible, and landed herself a comfortable life on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, she's on a sure path to citizenship and security – on this world, at least.

Of the 380 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but 8.

Cara’s parallel selves are exceptionally good at dying – from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn't outrun – which makes Cara wary, and valuable. Because while multiverse travel is possible, no one can visit a world in which their counterpart …

3 editions

A slow burner which I ultimately loved

5 stars

The first section of this book was hard going because it seemed to be hitting the allegory bat a bit too hard, but it was worth slogging through because once the basic premise was set up Johnson went all kinds of unexpected places with it and the story really took off.

Watch this space. Not just between worlds.

3 stars

This is a novel of alternates worlds set on post-apocalypse Earth. On Earth Zero, as he calls it, an inventor-entrepreneur safely ensconced in a gated city shielded from the harsh conditions of its planet has found a way to reach alternate versions of the planet. Crossing over is risky, so the task devolves to the expendable: the citizens of the wasteland ruled by warlords outside the city gates. Like Cara.

I’m not sure anyone could care enough for Cara, or her tech megalomaniac boss with a dark past, to carry a novel, were it not for a simple fact: This is not a novel of alternates worlds set on post-apocalypse Earth.

What Micaiah Johnson has created instead is something that takes the form and background of its genres and uses them for a meditation on inequality, violence – carried out on others and self-inflicted –, and all forms of exploitation, …

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5 stars