Tripping the Multiverse by Alison Lyke

Filed under:Science Fiction — posted by Randolph on March 18, 2021 @ 9:29 am

Tripping the Universe is the story of two women who gain superpowers from an accident involving a quantum-based experiment. The women, Jade and Antigone (Anti), are science journalists attending an experiment to create a quantum tunnel. The tunnel opens a hole to alternate worlds and give the two the ability to shape change and the ability to find the portals.

Jade and Anti are quested to find someone who disappeared into another dimension during the experiment. After returning home, they find things are subtly different and need to find a way home.

Through their adventures and an instinct that things are not as they seem, they uncover an interdimensional criminal that is destabilizing our dimension. This starts a self-induced quest to hunt down the criminal, wandering among the different dimensions.

The book has a few problems. It feels like minor characters just appear to explain things to the two adventurers. This leaves the book with a deus ex machina feel.

The author uses too many adjectives. Quite often she uses two adjectives and a noun, sometimes more than once in a single sentence. This reads awkwardly and sometimes suggests incidental items have more importance to the story than they actually do.

The pacing of the story felt off. It is always moderately fast-paced. But there are times when it should be slower. A changing of pace would help the story.

Some of the dialog didn’t feel natural. The subject changes too quickly.

The narrator used Anti’s full name at the start of the book. After Anti mentioned her nickname to Jade, the narrator suddenly changed it’s references. Except in one instance the narrator referred to her as Antigone, but there was no rhyme nor reason for that instance.

In their first trip to a foreign dimension, they had to split up. Jade took their universal translator, but Anti was able to communicate without it.

Generally, I think the book could use a stronger editor, especially with continuity.

In spite of these issues, I did enjoy the book. When Anti and Jade were in alternate dimensions, the extra adjectives helped to describe the unique locations. Each place they visited felt odd and unique. The reader will get an immediate feel for unusual cultures and people.

The experiment itself was described in terms of modern technology dropping recognizable terms. This worked well with a suspension of disbelief to help the user get into the story.

When you add interesting minor characters and situational humor, the book becomes an enjoyable and light read. I suspect the author targeted a younger audience, but I will enjoy reading the next installment.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace