Oddly enough Twitter was responsible for me finding this book and its author. Parker just so happened to like my interview with MT Anderson and I followed her links to her site where I found she was also a writer. Her book Where Futures End sounded really awesome and as always the title really had me wondering what the book was about. So of course I had to check it out.
Parker lives in San Francisco and is a teacher who works with your children. Honestly, I do not know much more about her than that, that is why I asked her to join me. You can check out my interview with the Parker the writer of Where Futures End.
The overall plot of the book is very interesting and very strange. It is basically a tale of five stories that are somewhat intertwined, I say somewhat because they do build on one another, just far in the future of the previous story. They span 100 years from a point where two universes are being pulled into one another. The reader is taken on a journey through not only time but also across the social and economic changes that such an event would have on those individuals involved. The author builds some fascinating worlds along with some very real and believable charactes throughout the five stories. Each story is so different from the previous that it makes the story that much more interesting, you never know what you are going to get when you turn the page.
As I am sure you are aware I have a rather strange habit. I usually choose what I read basically off the cover and or title, that is basically it. On rare occasions I will read the description, but that is usually the exception rather than the rule. The title of this one sucked me right in along with the cover art. I honestly had no idea what to expect as the title really gave no credence as to what the true nature of the story was.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about the book were the characters. Every one of them was unique yet still ultimately believable, and that is a big selling point, at least for me. While reading I felt like I knew or have met most of these characters as they seem like real normal people. This is something that is often overlooked in stories of all shapes and sizes. The characters are not believable, which in my opinion really dampens the tone of the story. I think making believable characters is something that is extremely difficult but when done right is awesome and really propels the story. In most stories and or movies I always think about what happens after the story or movie. Like does Robert Langdon just go back to his professor work after Angels and Demons and The Divinci Code? Most stories are filled with miraculous circumstances that sweep up normal people. While there is certainly some of that going on in this story, that miraculous circumstance seems to just be this small thing in the story. The real story is what is happening to the characters and what they are feeling and thinking, which it totally awesome!
I also think that Parker did an excellent job of luring the reader in with the first story in the book. I was totally enamored and could not figure out what the hell was going on. It was a perfect game of cat and mouse that had me turning page after page. Not only that but the characters were so real, they were perfectly done. I could honestly see my brother and myself having similar arguments about things as many brothers do. The mystery that is portrayed in the first chapter is done masterfully. I constantly asked myself who was telling the truth and if Dylan was just young and had a very overactive imagination. As the story progresses the reader gets to see what is truly happening.
While I loved the structure of the book, the characters, and how the story itself is written, there is also a whole other element of the book that is really neat. There are quite a few different aspects at play here, but real the science fiction aspect is that two distinct separate universes are colliding. While that last word is somewhat of a misnomer, it is more like the beings from both sides have the ability to travel to the other universe. How this happens is not explained but for the story it does not matter in any way. I always find this fascinating when a story has some really awesome or heavy science fiction plot, but uses that as more of a back drop and lets the characters drive the story. That is certainly what Parker does and it works wonderfully. I love this idea and there are so many ways someone could have written a story that encompasses this idea, yet Parker found one that was truly strange, one that I would have never thought of.
There are quite a few other science fiction aspects that are thrown in that in my opinion could have easily been a new story all by themselves. Portions of the book reminded me of Gibson’s Burning Chrome short stories. Parker built so many different worlds that I would have like to see some of them explored in more detail as they were really neat. At times there is almost too much going on and it is extremely easy to forget the backdrop of the overall story. That is my only somewhat small complaint, is that in each story there is a lot going on, which is great, but it does divert your attention from the overall theme of the book. This is not a bad thing, but there is a lot going on and I honestly think a few of these stories could be standalone novels.
At the end of the day this is a really cool and very different book. There are so many different science fiction ideas explored in this story. I also think the characters in the story are superb and wonderfully done through. This is labeled as a young adult novel, and that is fine, but I think there are so many different ideas that anyone could enjoy this book. What is absolutely fascinating and totally mind blowing is that this is Parker’s first published work. That is pretty amazing, can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!