The Space Between Worlds

eBook, 336 pages

English language

Published Aug. 3, 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton.

ISBN:
978-1-5293-8712-4
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4 stars (29 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 …

6 editions

reviewed The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (The Space Between Worlds, #1)

[Adapted from initial review on Goodreads.]

4 stars

Despite my edition's somewhat misleading tagline (380 realities; 8 chances to survive) this is not an interactive chooseable-path book, but an ordinary novel. But: it is a good novel! I'm most stricken by the strong voice and the tone of it: dark and gritty, with distinct Mad Max vibes: pretty much a (gritty) action film in book form. (This is not to say that it'd work better in videographic form; it does use the medium of prose effectively.) The protagonist is relatable in an irreverent sort of way - I'm somewhat reminded of Murderbot - and, again, has a good, strong voice.

And for all that dark-and-grittiness, it is in some ways surprisingly gentle and hopeful, which a) seems like quite a feat to pull off and b) makes it a comforting read inside a not-very-comforting (sub)genre, which is, well, neat.

A thing I especially liked was the way it …

reviewed The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (The Space Between Worlds, #1)

Goodreads Review of The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

5 stars

I am so mad at myself for putting this book off for as long as I did. I actually checked it out from the library TWICE and didn't get around to reading it either time. I picked it up during this slow work week to read at work since no one else is working, and I was absolutely gripped. Despite some questionable structural decisions I enjoyed this the whole way through.

We are following Cara, a woman living in the fictional, ultra prosperous Wiley City, one of the many walled fortresses surrounded by desolate wastelands which are populated only by the impoverished slums existing outside the city. Cara is originally from Ashtown, one of these slums, but due to extremely lucky circumstances, finds herself as a temporary resident of Wiley city working for the Eldridge Institute, a massively influential mega corporation founded by Adam Bosch which has discovered the secrets …

reviewed The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (The Space Between Worlds, #1)

structurally and emotionally accomplished

5 stars

I had wanted something to read where I did not feel obligated or compelled to take notes, but then there were so many phrases buttressing the plot worth noting down, that I quickly ran out of bookmarks — even despite abandoning a majority of Johnson’s sharpest constructions to the depths of pages read. So, by a third in, I guessed that regardless of how I was to find this novel in any other respects, The space between worlds was at least a four star piece for revisitability. The word-to-word texture remained more prosaic than I fully take to in fiction, but there is much to appreciate in what Johnson has built, and how.

Review of 'The Space Between Worlds' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

Dimensional travel is possible, but only if your doppelganger is dead. The MC travels to a world where her double was recently murdered, and the plot gets going in earnest from there. I was pleasantly surprised by how deliberate the pacing is, it doesn't rush to get us to that very important journey. Instead we linger in the setup, getting to know the hub world and at least one other before she goes to the plot-important one for the first time.

The MC is mostly a reliable narrator, but when she travels she can be very wrong about what’s happening in a particular world. This is used to its full advantage, creating subversion and surprise as she discovers mistakes in her assumptions and the new possibilities opened by those gaps. The plot which I thought would take the whole book to tell turned out to just be the first half …

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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