Cara is a cross-dimensional traveler who visits worlds where her parallel selves are no more - dead from a life that could have easily taken her. She is a survivor with a big enough heart that when things start to turn south, she fights. She carries around a guilt for surviving when her alternate selves have not, but knows that the world she lives in is cruel and uncaring and it is every person for themselves. The author gives us an emotional four parts in this book, each filled with secrets, adventures, and a heavy plot that leaves you aching until the end.
This novel delves deep in identity, privilege and belonging. It's a world where you take any opportunity thrown your way; and for Cara, she doesn't hesitate to leave her previous life not for a second. If it means keeping secrets from her employers and kind-of-crush, Dell, then it's a risk she's more than willing to take. She finds that she is very good at her job, and it's easy to go with the flow of it. We witness the struggles Cara faces with her survival when her other, alternate selves, have not. But in a cruel world where her people are looked down on, and given little to no opportunity to strive, she carries herself with her head held high and knows that one wrong move could have all if it crumbling down.
I personally had no idea where this book was going, but it strung me up and took me for one wild ride. Oh boy, I had no idea I was going to feel like this when I finished. It was a stunning debut, and though the premise seems like it would lean heavily into sci-fi, I found that it wasn't and I didn't even mind. I was more interested in the characters and the world-building - which, absolutely stunning. We get a diverse world, with diverse characters, and a build-up that did not disappoint.
Looking for a book filled with political intrigue, deception, incredible world-building and characters with an engrossing story? This is for you.
CW: abuse, torture, gore
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.
The perfect book for fans who enjoy travel to parallel universes. It has the right mix of acceptance, quest for social justice, and excitement. A story of hope
This was a tightly woven plot with consistently held rules. The book is divided into four parts, and I was a little worried at each transition that the story would fall apart. But M. Johnson handled each transition with style and continuity. As new elements were added it just enriched the character and story as a whole.
I read some other reviews that highlighted the race and sexuality themes in this book. But to me these were side issues, the story was so engrossing as the reader got wrapped up in the plurality of existence and just what existence means for any one individual. It is refreshing to have these themes interwoven is such a way that they are an integral part of the story, and not just a tool to use to beat over the heads of old white guys in an effort to drum up guilt. Very refreshing indeed. This book deserves a broad audience for readers of this genre.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review at Netgalley.com .A review was also posted at:
I had to grab this book, the premise was too intriguing: profiting from your own death? And before I started to read, I was wondering how I would feel about me dying albeit in alternate dimensions and I didn't like the idea at all I guess I really like me (hopefully I am a good person in all the other dimensions as well)
So now onto Cara our protagonist, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about her but she is scrappy, she comes from the school of hard knocks and she isn't polished, she isn't completely rough around the edges. Interdimensional travel is limited to places where a person is not alive. Because the Cara's suck at staying alive, there are only a few Cara's left in all the dimensions. This means our Cara gets to travel through dimensions and gets paid very well and has a cushy life in her dimension.
The following is not a spoiler one of the remaining Cara's dies here is my problem one of the Cara's dies and it is considered foul play, really, the Cara's can't stay alive and now we are saying suspicious? But ok, fine it is suspicious, I was surprised that Cara cared, I was expecting Cara to be like YES! another me dead, make it rain so more money on me.
And I can't say the rest because it is a spoiler and you have to read it for yourself. It was an enjoyable book, it made me think. of me and all my alternates, and I hope you and your you's are doing well. This book will be out in August and I look forward to discussing it with other people.
The Space Between Worlds was a book that I expected to enjoy as it looked at the multiverse and how parallel universes could exist. There is little to no real science to support the idea but that is the basis of science fiction—possible or alternate futures. I found the writing confusing and the story hard to follow. It was far more fantasy than science fiction as there seemed little to believe might be true. Character development was interesting as was the idea that a person could not exist simultaneously in different realities in a multiverse reality. It seemed that the author had maintained some connections across the multiverses and explored a possibility if they existed how individuals in one might be different in another. Cara, the protagonist, was different in different worlds or at least somewhat different. Could an individual from a different Earth (referred to by numbers) than Earth Zero – the “original" one pull off a switch into another Earth? Would it be like identical twins switching places? This is one of the ideas explored.
I’m sure some readers would like or even love this book and storyline, but alas, that was not for me. I was reading a free review copy but if I had actually purchased this book, I would have been very upset at anything over $0.25 that I might have paid. Just not my cup of tea and I do love and voraciously read science fiction. My rating of 3 is based on the fact that it was not bad enough for me to quit reading and also that I feel some might like it.
I really enjoyed this book! The science seems too weak at first, but once you get past that it becomes a story about some really interesting people. This is an exploration of what it will be like when the wealthy live in huge, environmentally managed, building/cities, with the poor people living in anarchy right outside the walls. It's not hard to imagine this happening in our near future. This book touches on race divide, intellectual divide, culture divide, loving and leaving an abusive relationship, and overcoming enormous obstacles. The characters are really well told, deeply drawn, having each their own dilemmas and multifaceted intentions. The careful, skillful look into the tender, loving aspects of a cruel dictator is so interesting. Even the unrelenting disdain in the portrayal of the mother that let her child die hundreds of times seems deserved, that some things are, in fact, unforgivable. Well worth reading, I will watch for more from this author!
Excellent writing! Love the story concept of travelling between worlds! I was drawn into this story right away. I was mesmerized by the story.
An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens her new home and her fragile place in it, in a stunning sci-fi debut that’s both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.
Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their doppelganger is alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, murder, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.
On Earth one- this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the poverty and hopelessness of the wastelands. Now she has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute.
Cara has a secret, one that her handler, Dell or the Eldridge Institute can never know if she wants to not just keep the new life she is building but to live.
But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she never would have imagined possible—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.
This is extremely well written, and the world-building is spot on, believable. I thoroughly enjoyed following Cara and rooting for her all the way!
I received this book free from Random House Publishing Group-Ballentine and Netgalley for my honest, unbiased review.
I enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. The main character is somewhat of an antihero, likes to break the rules and play fast and loose. Given her very unique life she has an interesting view on the worlds she visits. The book was fun sci-fi, vividly written, fast-paced and full of intrigue. If you like sci-fi and the multiverse theory I think you'll enjoy this interesting take on visiting parallel worlds.
Please note, I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review, but that did not impact my rating or opinion of the book.
This book was very interesting, I love how there are many other dimensions instead of just one. I really liked the characters.
For this read, I stepped outside the thrillers and horror and into a world-builder sci-fi. I was a huge fan of Travelers on Netflix (which was cancelled way too early, in my humble opinion). The Space Between Worlds had a similar pitch, and I couldn't wait to pick it up.
Cara is a traverser, someone who can travel through the multiverse to other worlds in order to pull information that can be used in her main world. Comparing mortality rates, wealth, population--indeed, much more analytical than you'd expect out of a time-traveling narrative--the CEO, Adam Bosch, is able to see how other worlds stack up. The rules are fairly simple: you cannot go to a world in which your other self is still alive, and doing so has catastrophic consequences. Cara is one of the busiest and best traversers, until she takes on a pull where her "dop" has been murdered. This assignment changes everything, and Cara finds herself in the middle of political intrigues, civil war, and a complex web of lies that extend into her own life and threaten to shake the very ground on which she stands.
I mean, what a premise, right? Sign me up ASAP. One of the things I liked about Space Between Worlds was the exploration of time. Imagine one you in 380 variations: the choices you didn't make, the you in another world made, sending them on a completely different path. In some worlds you fare better than others, in fact, in some worlds, you may well be dead, and unless you have knowledge of traversing, you have no idea these other yous exist, because at the same time (see what I did there?), you're your own person, separate from these other variations. This was fascinating, and Johnson did a great job world-building--not an easy feat.
Cara struggles with her relationship with her handler, Dell, and I really appreciated her philosophical reflection on how we never real know another person, but also that we never really know ourselves. We think we know ourselves, but our knowledge is based on the current situation. We don't know ourselves in dire circumstances, in cutthroat attacks or extreme poverty (or extreme wealth). Her assumption is that these external stimuli essentially change who you are, and because of this, she constantly questions her own place in the world, who she is, and what she wants. She struggles with her role as a traverser, with the knowledge she's gleaned from other worlds, with where she grew up and who she's supposed to be. While she doesn't feel like an outsider, per se, she's acutely aware of the stereotypes around her upbringing and uses them to push herself to be something others would want her to be.
Plenty of introspection to go around, but if you're looking for a novel with a dramatic battle, this won't be the read for you. Most of the action is quiet, intelligence over brawn, in spite the buildup feeling like a huge war was coming. I appreciated the lesser violent take on events, but I was wanting a little more payoff for Cara's arc, and I think that kept me from absolutely loving her conclusion. However, if you are a fan of deep reflection, political intrigue, and deceptions that don't lead to shoot-outs and Michael Bay explosions, The Space Between Worlds is the book for you.
I'd also like to note that Johnson is a beautiful writer, and her command of dialogue and prose was wonderfully smooth to read.
Overall, a great read with an unexpected path, The Space Between Worlds is an adventure into time travel.
Johnson's "The Space Between Worlds" is a beautifully-crafted science fiction novel that breaks all the rules. The golden rule of time travel has always been avoiding meeting yourself at all costs. Such a time travel paradox can cause all hell to break loose and often does. The Space Between Worlds is not a time travel story. Indeed, all time flows at the same rate. Instead, it posits an interdimensional transfer between dimensions, between worlds, between realities, and going from Earth 0 to Earth 2 leaves open the possibility of meeting one's self. But, there are not just two Earths, but infinite worlds, "worlds upon worlds into infinity," and approximately 382 alternate Earths have been discovered. That's 382 versions of one's self to encounter and cause all kinds of paradoxes.
No two of the same can exist in the same space. There just isn't room. Eldrige Corporation has solved that problem. The traversers who go into the spaces between reality and enter alternate worlds simply can't be ordinary folks living ordinary lives. They have to be people who have been living such dangerous high-wire-act lives that they have died in most alternate realities. Since they do not exist in almost any of the 382 possibilities, there is little chance of their exploding into nothingness. They live with enough risk to have died over and over again. Their very survival in even one world and ability to travel to others is a miracle.
Cara is such a high-wire act person. In this Earth, Earth 0, she lives out in the desert wastelands where they have to scavenge for a living outside the mighty walls of the cities, out there where a psychotic warlord rules all, a psychotic warlord (Nik Nik) who thinks she is his plaything and pretends to drown her in the mud over and over. She is a desperate one who takes chances no ordinary person would take. And for that reason, she is the most amazing traverser ever. But what happens when she comes across her doppelgänger, her twin, her duplicate lying in the riverbed.
Not only does Cara break the golden rules of never meeting one's self, but she interferes in the affairs of alternate earths. It is wonderful how Johnson has taken many of the problems and paradoxes of time travel stories and twisted them into this alternate reality story. There is also great world building here from the desert wasteland dwellers (Ashland) where runners race across the sands in giant vehicles to the religions flourishing in the wastelands.
The beginning can be a bit confusing because the reader is not let into the secrets of the interdimensional travel and the rules until later. Indeed, it is not clear what the purpose of the corporation poking into the interdimensional jet stream is. Nevertheless, it will all become clear later on. Cara finds almost religious satisfaction in traveling between worlds, explaining how gratifying it is about going places where she is dead and touching things she was never meant to see. She also gets to meet people who died long ago in some realities.
The writing in this novel is excellent. The pace is tremendous and it is hard to put it down. Few have done such a great job of combining hard science fiction ideas with interpersonal relations and allowing both to flourish within the story confines. The relationship between Cara and Dell is cleverly drawn, beginning with the description of it being a section of the sky utterly dead and empty and that it is two parallel universes too close to touching and that there is a cold dark between them "that three suns couldn't light."
The space between worlds describes the darkness Cara travels through and hopes to survive. It's worth it though because she knows what waits on the other side. She is an amazing character who says that asking for things is like drinking glass shards.
Many thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this amazing novel. Can't wait to see what else this author has up her sleeve.