The Space Between Worlds

hardcover, 336 pages

Published Aug. 4, 2020 by Del Rey.


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4 stars (3 reviews)

A multiverse-hopping outsider discovers a secret that threatens her home world and her fragile place in it-a stunning sci-fi debut that's both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging. CARA IS DEAD ON THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FOUR WORLDS. The multiverse business is booming, but there's just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying-from diseases, from turf wars, from vendettas they couldn't outrun. But on this earth, Cara's survived. And she's reaping the benefits, thanks to the well-heeled Wiley City scientists who ID'd her as an outlier and plucked her from the dirt. Now she's got a new job collecting offworld data, a path to citizenship, and a near-perfect Wiley City accent. Now she can pretend she's always lived in the city she grew up staring at …

3 editions

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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4 stars