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review 2018-04-03 19:05
Political posturing diminishes an otherwise interesting novel
Paths to Otherwhere - James P. Hogan

James P. Hogan’s novel starts out in a world heading towards crisis.  In a not-too-distant future, the United States is slowly rotting from within, with revolutionaries and gangs forcing an increasingly authoritarian reaction from the government.  As an increasingly likely conflict with Japan and China looms, scientists develop a device that heralds the prospect of improving decision-making by allowing users to tap into the infinite number of decisions made by their multitude of counterparts in alternate worlds, thus discovering the wisest course of action.  But then the scientists discover a means of transporting a person’s consciousness into their counterpart in another universe.  As the scientists begin to explore the possibilities, though, the military prepares to move in and use the device for their own ends.

 

Like his earlier novel The Proteus Operation, Hogan provides a plot of considerable interest, one well grounded in scientific theory as befitting an author of hard SF.  Yet character development is lost amid the considerable political commentating the author continually engages in, as he uses his premise to both offer his theory on the failings of our world (too much government) and construct an idyllic alternative that in which everything is perfect (thanks to limited government).  Some of it is laughable (as in how Britain manages to have socialized medicine WITHOUT government), much of it demonstrates a poor understanding of human history, and all of it gets in the way of the suspense Hogan attempts to build throughout the novel.  It makes for an annoying read, one that would have been better is there had been less of Hogan’s political views and more focus on the characters and some of the interesting implications of his premise.

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review 2017-04-09 08:14
Muddy Waters
Muddy Waters (Otherwhere Book 1) - Sara O. Thompson

Sara O Thompson’s novel Muddy Waters, the first in the new Otherwhere series, gives us a world that has changed. Boundaries dropped and now the humans and the Others, which is basically everything else, have to find a new way of dealing with this knowledge. The nicest thing of this novel is that these things haven’t settled completely yet. Since the change is so recent, people are still trying to figure out how to do things in this new world.

Meet Tessa Reddick, a Witch currently incarcerated for killing all of her coven and female family members. As she’s offered a job at the FBI investigating crimes involving Others, she gets a new chance at life, but she will also have to deal with her past, which everyone else hasn’t forgotten.

What I really liked, as I stated before, is the world. A lot is going on, especially in the background, and I have a feeling that this will become more important in the rest of the series. I’m already looking forward to it. Tessa is a nice main character, but to me she still misses something to make her really memorable. If there is anything the urban fantasy genre is rich in, it would be strong female characters. The story focuses on a murder mystery that crosses worlds, quite literally, but in the end is not the strongest point of the book.

Very enjoying read, but missed the little something extra to make it really special. Looking forward however to the rest of the series as the world is very interesting!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2013-10-11 13:40
Paths to Otherwhere
Paths to Otherwhere - James P. Hogan The quote on the cover proclaims Hogan the "Dean of hard SF." I'd think Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven better fits the title, but reading the book, even if he doesn't head the department, he definitely works there. This novel really does deal with a lot of fascinating and big ideas, and it isn't hand-waving Bat-science either in this book about the concept of the Multiverse. I can't recall ever reading a more lucid explanation of the paradoxes that inspired quantum physics. And from that hard physics foundation, Hogan spins a lot of implications biological, political and spiritual. It's well-written too, even if hardly literary fiction--all the science, for instance, is conveyed without of feeling of infodump. Yet I'm rating this only three stars and putting it in the box of books to sell, give away or throw out. That's not because I would not recommend it to fans of hard science fiction, but I don't feel it's a keeper either. I'd read this before some years ago but couldn't remember one thing about it before rereading. In contrast, decades after reading them, I could remember the characters and events in Herbert's Dune, Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, even short stories by Isaac Asimov only by their titles. The main reason this book is getting purged from my collection is that I can't imagine I'll want to read it again. Its writing doesn't evoke writer's envy, it doesn't have characters or a world I love such as with Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga or Anne McCaffrey's Pern such as it would make a good comfort read. It's an entertaining book--just not one I could read over and over again or that I see as exceptional--and it wasn't as fun to read as the Hogan book I read just before this one, Realtime Interrupt (or Code of the Lifemaker, which I later reread).
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review 2011-02-12 00:00
Ordeal In Otherwhere - Andre Norton The first Norton I read, and still one of my favorites. Need to add edition I have (first hardcover, same as I read from the library ages and ages ago).
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review 2011-02-12 00:00
Ordeal In Otherwhere - Andre Norton The first Norton I read, and still one of my favorites. Need to add edition I have (first hardcover, same as I read from the library ages and ages ago).
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