Author: Paul Melko
Publication Date: 2/3/09
Blurb (GR): John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, unable to return home—the device is broken. John settles in a new universe to unravel its secrets and fix it.
Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, this is SF adventure at its best from a rising star.
I picked this book up from the library after it was mentioned in an io9.com article about great sci-fi stories (and that also mentioned the movie rights to this book had recently been sold). Anyway, this book tells the story of a young man in Ohio who is visited one day by a version of himself from another universe. The story is set along the lines of a many worlds theory about universes wherein there are infinite (rather, not infinite but who knows how many) universes coexisting at the same time and some people have transfer devices to travel between them. John, the main character, is visited by John Prime and the plot runs at a fast pace from that point.
This novel started out as an award-winning shorter version of itself and, regrettably, I could tell. I was four star enjoying it for most of the ride and then I completely lost interest during the CLIMAX. When the hell does that happen? I felt like the last 30 or so pages of the book were rushed and the Visigoths and Corrundrum were not as well developed as they could've been.
I also thought the one sex scene between John (Farm Boy) and Casey was ridiculous. It was like two sentences long and completely unnecessary to any part of the story or character development. And, frankly, I couldn't see any real reason why the Johns wanted to be with the Caseys so badly anyway. I know this is sci-fi and not romance, but I've read sci-fi that had better relationship development and this book lacked a little in that area.
I'm giving this book 4 stars because it definitely kept me interested. I thought the author did a great job of creating universes that had slight differences and altogether different options. My favorite part was when John Farm Boy was traveling through the universes one at a time. However, I feel that the book is somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for me.