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August 6, 2020

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson ~ a Review

by MK French

Multiverse travel is possible, but people can only go to worlds where they don’t already exist. Cara’s other-selves are “exceptionally good at dying,” giving her 372 worlds she can travel to. Because of this, she is recruited by the Eldridge Institute to live in walled-off Wiley City and travel along with her handler Dell. Cara doesn’t feel at home in the city or when visiting her former home in the wastes, but staying out of trouble and working will grant her citizenship. Trouble finds her anyway because one of her remaining counterparts dies under mysterious circumstances. Cara discovers a secret that can put not only her life in jeopardy but can endanger the multiverse.
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The Space Between Worlds
August 2020; Del Rey; 978-0593135051
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); science fiction
Travel into multiverses is an idea I've seen before, and I like the fact that there are limitations to this travel, as well as a mythology of sorts behind the actual movement between universes. We have a racial and classist divide between Wiley City and Ashtown, and even among the desert wastes, there are differences between those that are runners and those that are religious. Out in the wastes, they tend to be dark-skinned and poor, while in the City the people are exceedingly pale and live in towers under a movable dome that can shelter the people from the intense heat and light that periodically can occur.

We're presented with a post-apocalyptic world where the rich are generally in charge and work to keep it that way. Resources are brought in from other worlds because there aren't enough on Earth Zero, and Cara's job is to go to different worlds to collect data about them. Scientists in different fields rely on that data, and she thinks of it as just a job. We get flashes of her past, as well as the realization that keeping her head down to stay employed and rack up time in the city so that she can become a fully-fledged citizen isn't worth the price. While she doesn't think of herself as a very moral person, given her origins and the distance from people, Cara is very much aware of her position in society and the lines she isn't comfortable crossing. There's a lot that people are willing to do in the name of comfort, but Cara has faced quite a few of her own demons and has seen the potential outcome of complacency on other worlds. Earth Zero isn't perfect, and won't be even after the end of the novel, but change is happening, and there's always hope for better. That's the best kind of ending for all of these characters, and well worth staying up way too far past my bedtime to read it!

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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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  1. I loooooved this book, so very much! I thought it was done justice for sure, I agree that the author handled multiverses in a great way. I too stayed up way too late reading this one, because I didn't want to put it down!