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Fun In the Multiverse

By Steve Kline

Not a big fan of how things are going in this particular universe? Jump to another one! Just be careful where you step, or you could end up in a strange place where bread is considered unhealthy and evil clowns dominate the news cycle.

  • Version Control

    2016 by Dexter Clarence Palmer

    After pulling herself out of a depression following a personal tragedy, Rebecca Wright is generally content with her life of driverless cars, clothing stores that know your size by scanning you, and an American president who occasionally shows up on a restaurant's video screens to buy everyone dessert. But something seems off. You know when you leave your house without your keys and you have a vaguely incomplete feeling before realizing what you forgot? That's how Rebecca feels all the time. Her scientist husband thinks that she's imagining things, but he's so obsessed with his "causality violation device" (read: time machine) that he probably wouldn't even notice if reality seemed altered.

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  • Dark Matter : a novel

    2016 by Blake Crouch

    This Chicago-based thriller follows Jason Desson, a college instructor and family man who is kidnapped, knocked out, and wakes up strapped to a gurney and surrounded by ecstatic, applauding strangers. Then, things start to get strange. This is an easy read that isn't afraid to up the weirdness factor with each page. If you're a fan of shoot-outs, wolf fights, one-word sentences, and the occasional doppelganger wandering down endless hallways while screaming gibberish, this one's for you.

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  • Life After Life : a novel

    2013 by Kate Atkinson

    This book is like a beautifully-written Choose Your Own Adventure type story with a narrator who keeps picking the wrong option and starting back to fix their mistake. Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in 1910 and is terrible at staying alive. She slides off of a roof, contracts a plague-like sickness, drowns, you name it. Luckily after each new death she starts over and avoids the decision that caused her previous death. Each alternative path allows the character--and us--to experience the same person living life on a completely new path. She experiences tremendous traumas, romances, and even experiences WWII from both British and German perspectives. This book is slightly disorienting at first but once you get used to it you hardly notice the time jumps or the way a new life path alters a character you thought you understood. It'll make you gasp, laugh, yell at a character's decision and ultimately wonder how much different your life would be if you had gone with the soup instead of the salad.

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  • The Hidden Reality : parallel universes and the deep laws of the cosmos

    2011 by Brian Greene

    Brian Greene (aka Fox Mulder's more responsible younger brother) is fantastic at taking complex, mind-warping ideas and distilling them down to an understandable level. In this book, he tells us about the concept of multiple universes and what this concept entails. There are not only multiple universes, he tells us, but an infinite amount of universes. This means that if something could have happened, it did in a universe. There's a universe where you love my description of this book, there's a universe where you hate my description of this book. The other books in this list? There's a universe where I wrote them (and invented strawberry Pop-Tarts. You're welcome).

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  • The Long Earth

    2012 by Terry Pratchett

    This Terry Pratchett/ Stephen Baxter collaboration asks what would happen if the infinite iterations of Earth were easily accessible to people via a simple machine powered by a potato. This book is imaginative, fun, and full of little vignettes sprinkled around. The possibilities and repercussions of endless earths are explored throughout. There is, however, a small problem with follow-through. Sometimes it feels like the book is saying, "And then this happened and then this and then dinosaurs why not, right?" I do wish that the story would allow itself to settle down and explore its themes a bit more. It feels like a left a lot just hanging out to dry, maybe to set up the next few books in the series.

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