This multiverse sci-fi blends social commentary with mind-boggling ideas, like seeing yourself in a parallel universe.
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Why I love it
This pandemic and the requisite quarantine have compelled me to do a lot of soul searching, and I know I’m not the only one. And is there any better way to combat daily existential despair and perpetual grief, than by sinking your teeth into a world that is not your own? This is what The Space Between Worlds offers: a way out, and a breathtaking, heart-pounding way in.
Cara is a traverser, someone who can travel between the multiverses. The catch? One can only step foot onto another world if their resident counterpart has already died, making her a natural prodigy, given her particular talent for dying on hundreds of other worlds. Charged with braving the terrifying void that separates each world from the next, Cara collects crucial data to share with her employer, attempting to forge a meaningful life for herself—which, for someone from the wastelands, mostly means just staying alive. When one of her few remaining doppelgängers suffers an unexplainable death, Cara finds herself enmeshed in an even stranger new world brimming with dangerous secrets.
This book is just so incredibly rich: layer upon layer of intricate worldbuilding that envelops you from page one. It’s an ideal read for sci-fi lovers, especially those who like their stories with a generous helping of angst-ridden love affairs (Cara’s connection to Dell, her beautiful yet emotionally distant handler, was one of my favorite aspects of this thrilling story). Choices, consequences, the rippling effects thereof: Who is to say what sets certain events into motion, making us the particular selves that we are? In The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson makes an unforgettable case for the glorious multiplicity of this fickle thing we call reality. I didn’t want to leave these worlds.
Multiverse travel is finally possible, 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 disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.
On this Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt 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. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.
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 could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.