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The Space Between Worlds – tekijä:…

The Space Between Worlds (vuoden 2020 painos)

– tekijä: Micaiah Johnson (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
6072630,213 (3.92)8
Teoksen nimi:The Space Between Worlds
Kirjailijat:Micaiah Johnson (Tekijä)
Info:Del Rey (2020), 322 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, Finished
Arvio (tähdet):****


The Space Between Worlds (tekijä: Micaiah Johnson)


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» Katso myös 8 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 26) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)

Parallel worlds with a difference, where you can't visit another universe in which your parallel self is still alive. It's a neat idea, and there's lots of other good stuff here about politics and race, but even so I felt not completely convinced by the setup. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 26, 2021 |

Filed under: Books that make me cry.

It's really good. I'm glad I bought it. I hope this recommendation spurs someone else on to read it, too. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |

"Wow. That was so good and so unexpected. Great storytelling, lots of surprises and lots to think about. It was raw, clever and disturbing. And all that from a debut novel. Micaiah Johnson is a writer to watch."

That was my reaction immediately after I finished reading 'The Space Between Worlds'.

I'd gone into the novel ready for one of those Science Fiction stories that use time travel or, in this case, travel between parallel worlds in the multiverse, to set up mysteries to solve while sharing reflections on history, culture, causality etc. In other words, a comfortable, enjoyable, dramatised thought experiment. From the beginning, it was clear that 'The Space Between Worlds' wasn't that kind of book at all. It was a novel about social exclusion, told from the point of view of someone who started amongst the excluded but who has been allowed to live among the privileged because has something that they need.

The background to the story is a future earth with the technology to enable travel to hundreds on the nearest parallel worlds in the multiverse but you can only travel to a world where your counterpart is already dead. Cara is valued as a traveller between worlds because although she is young, her counterparts have already died in 372 worlds. As Cara explains, if you're rich in this world, you're likely to be rich in the parallel worlds and so your counterparts are likely to be alive. So travel between worlds created a demand for what Cara call 'trash people' like her. People with the odds stacked against their survival across the multiverse. Cara has survived and is trying to earn citizenship that will grant her permanent residence in the walled city she works in, freeing her from the poverty and physical hardship of the desert community she came from.

The book works well as an adventure. There's lots of action, lots of surprises and strong, memorable characters. Yet what really drives the book are themes on the nature of identity, of privilege and exclusion, of the cost of survival and the reality of choice.

For example, the title, 'The Space Between Worlds' seems to me to refer not only to the gap between the worlds of the multiverse but to that feeling of having one foot amongst the privileged and one amongst the excluded and no longer feeling at home in either so that you feel like an imposter in your own life.

When Cara thinks about travelling between worlds, she accepts that it's based on science and technology but she is also willing to believe that the space between is somehow sentient, an uncaring god who holds the fate of travellers in her hand, sometimes letting them pass unharmed, sometimes leaving her mark on them and sometimes breaking them into pieces. The ability to believe in science and sentient fate simultaneously, without choosing between them, is one of the traits that define Cara. It's an ability that also enables her to develop a more layered view on the nature of exclusion and to see that it is in some senses, mutual and that her true home is literally in the space between worlds that both refuse to accept her as she is.

This is Cara's story. We see the worlds through her eyes. She keeps the novel grounded in the personal when considering the abstract. Cara is, first and foremost, a survivor. Not a hero. Not someone driving for change in the face of unacceptable inequity. Not even someone who is driven by scientific curiosity or by an attachment to those around her. She puts herself first, always. Except when she can't. Except when doing so would make her feel like she was betraying herself. Because this is a novel that is mostly about identity. She's seen herself in many worlds and has died in almost all of them. She's seen alternate versions of other people in her life. She knows that she is not who she appears to be and she understands better than most that who you become is driven by fate, your choices, and the price you're willing to pay. Ultimately Cara's struggle is first with accepting herself for who she is and then with finding a space for herself that will allow her to be who she is.

One of the things that I enjoyed was Micaiah Johnson's ruthless writing. She's not afraid to make her characters suffer the consequences of their actions or just be victims of bad luck. They live in a brutal world where bad things are always going to happen. She uses those consequences to show that both the excluded and the privileged have choices that affect who they become. Who they are is not completely determined by the status that they're born into.

This is a book full of surprises - about what happens next, about who people are and about why everything is happening. Each surprise shifts the ground beneath the reader's feet, keeping you constantly off balance but with a sense of moving forward with purpose.

Part of the power of this book comes from the fact that it's not a dystopian novel. Yes, it's set in a future where climate change has made it harder to survive and where the rich live in walled cities, building ever-taller towers, consuming without producing and where the rest get by as best they can, scratching a living from the dirt and governing by a mix of warlord muscle, local guilds and religious beliefs. But this isn't a dystopia. It's just today with some of the camouflage removed. Part of the power of this book comes from looking at our privileged, resource-hungry, technology-enabled, inward-looking world from the point of view of the people who are denied access to while still being exploited by it.

This is the best kind of get-your-hands-dirty, wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee Science Fiction and I strongly recommend it. I also recommend the audiobook version which is perfectly delivered by Nicole Lewis. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


Micaiah Johnson is a biracial author who was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness community in the Southern California desert. She graduated high school at the age of 13, received her MFA from Rutgers-Camden, and is currently studying race and robots as a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt.

( )
1 ääni MikeFinnFiction | Sep 7, 2021 |
This was my August 2020 Book of the Month selection. ( )
  madelinemar | Aug 16, 2021 |
Multiverse travel is now possible, but you can only travel to worlds where your parallel self is dead. This gives people born into bad conditions where survival is unlikely a unique, if limited, value to the Elbridge Institute in walled and wealthy Wiley City.

Cara is one of those outliers, plucked from poverty and danger in the wastelands, to work as a "traverser," bringing back data from the scientists from many of the worlds where her parallel self died. She works with Dell, her Watcher, temptingly attractive yet aloof and withdrawn, a woman of old money in Wiley City.

Everything is going smoothly, and Cara has a nice apartment and a good income, and makes regular visits to her family in the wasteland settlement of Ashtown. Then another of Cara's parallel selves dies. Cara has a new world to visit, and events start to threaten Cara's dangerous secret.

It also leads to Cara discovering the dangerous secret of the seemingly kindly scientist and Elbridge CEO who invented the world-crossing technology.

I started reading this book with some real skepticism, as it superficially seemed like yet another dystopia, a part of the sff genre that I really do not love. It does take place on a blighted Earth, where developed, technologically advanced civilization exists only in walled cities. There's trade between the cities and their outlying slums in the wasteland, including a sort of edgy tourism by the well-off city people to the safer parts of the slums arts and crafts can be purchased.

We only see Wiley City and its Ashtown slum, but there are other cities and other slums, and other inhabited, if struggling, areas. One of these people is one of Cara's mentors, Jean Sanogo, from the Ivory Coast, survivor of a time as a child soldier before he was found and identified someone who had enough parallel selves dead that he was a good candidate for one of the first traversers. This is a climatologically blighted world, with more damage done by wars caused by the climate change, but the wars now seem to be over, and it's all about living as well as possible in the blight.

One way of doing that is to import raw materials from parallel worlds, similar enough that the world-crossing technology can reach them, but with enough accessible resources to be worth stealing.

The plot-based conflicts are interesting, if sometimes thin. The characters become interesting and compelling, both in meeting alternate versions of some, and in the development the versions we get to know best experience. Jean and his family are more than just a warm, family group with a love of good cooking, though that's an important part of them. Cara learns, develops, changes, makes major choices along the way from a young woman who just wants to remain gainfully employed long enough to earn citizenship in Wiley City, to a woman who wants to make the world better, and is willing to make real sacrifices for her family. Other characters also reveal themselves in interesting ways. Overall, far more satisfying and enjoyable than I originally anticipated.


I received this book from NetGalley via the 2021 Hugo Voters Packet, and am reviewing it voluntarily. ( )
  LisCarey | Jul 31, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 26) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Despite occasional melodramatics and some hazy political structures, this immersive, original adventure is sure to please readers looking for smart, diverse science fiction. Johnson is a writer to watch.
lisäsi karenb | muokkaaPublishers Weekly (Jun 12, 2020)

» Lisää muita tekijöitä

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Johnson, Micaiahensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Lewis, NicoleKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
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Tärkeät tapahtumat
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Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Ensimmäiset sanat
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
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Kanoninen DDC/MDS
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Arvio (tähdet)

Keskiarvo: (3.92)
1 1
2 9
2.5 2
3 16
3.5 10
4 55
4.5 4
5 33

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