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Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory: A Novel Paperback – April 19, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Nerdy Scott and cheerleader Davey do not have much in common. That is, until alternate universes begin collapsing into their school. At first, they are sure they are losing their minds, but then they realize that they are both seeing the same thing—and they are the only two who can. Can Scott's library copy of The Multiverse Theory and their physics teacher help save them? Spiders with six-foot-long bodies, steampunk girl fans with mechanical jaws that unhinge, and a brontosaurus in a lavender pantsuit and a fancy hat are just a few of the things that they observe in their school. Davey is not about to lose the chance to become homecoming queen because of all this inconvenience. Scott is more interested in staying alive, but eventually the two of them realize that they must resolve their differences in order to bring the universe back together. The mature language and sexual situations make this title more appropriate for older teens. This is an entertaining science fiction comedy for fans of Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle or Scott Westerfeld's steampunk "Leviathan" series. VERDICT A good general purchase for those looking to beef up their sci-fi shelves.—Deanna McDaniel, Genoa Middle School, OH
"A fun, imaginative, you-never-know-what’s-going-to-happen-next high school adventure.”― Kim Bongiorno, New York Times best-selling co-author, I Just Want To Pee Alone
"For fans of the classic science fiction and comedy genres ― Practical Applications is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Red Dwarf." ― Anthony Bowling, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! and Attack on Titan
"I started laughing on the second paragraph, and enjoyed the ride all the way to the end. A fun read for anyone who wants a little science with their silliness!” ― Joe Peacock, CNN Geek Out! blog
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This book bucks all the cliches we've grown used to. So much so, that I honestly can't tell if it is supposed to be an adult book or a YA book. I guess that means it is actually a book for all ages that all ages can, and will enjoy.
Our two plucky heroes feature your typical bleach blonde cheerleader and your typical high school nerd. That's where the typical stops, while the starting point may be cookie cutter, the evolution and character growth of Davey and Scott is second to none. And can I just say how absolutely pleased I am that there is no love subplot between the two? In fact, they hate each other.
As this is the third book I've finished this year that is about multiple dimensions, I can only assume it is the current fad. With that in mind, this one is so far the best of the three. It is entertaining with its real feeling characters. Characters that don't break your sense of disbelief or anything.
Additionally, there are a great many references in the book that cover anything from World of Warcraft to the Kardashians. Frankly, I doubt I even caught half of them. Now the alternate realties are all on the silly side, but that just shows you that the book doesn't take itself too seriously.
What it boils down to is that you have two main characters that could easily be the reader in a quite realistic manner. Then these characters that you can relate to are put into completely absurd situations, but have to use real world logic to get out of them. No shenanigans, no magic powers, just ingenuity or running like a coward.
You will laugh at all the jokes, but if you stop to think about it, you will get so much more from this book. I recommend it to any and everyone.
The authors have a comedy improv background, and it shows. Sure, there's a plot. Alternate, parallel universes are collapsing into our own, and our heroes have to deal with intrusions into our plane and with being catapulted into other universes. It's comedy existence/reality improv with a twist of demented.
There are also characters. Actually, much more realized and engaging characters than one might expect. The book is narrated in alternating, (but thankfully not overlapping), chapters by Scott and Davey. They're sort of standard types, but with appealing and clever tweaks that keep them fresh. Scott is the nerdy keep-his-head-down type who filters everything through movie/TV/pop culture references. Davey is the mean girl who is actually a very unapologetically mean girl. We immediately sympathize with Scott, (at least I did), who is inoffensive and has a little bit of the hero-within. We wait for Davey to thaw, but after a while her commitment to meanness becomes sort of interesting. The two of them are joined by circumstances, the plot, and the universe, and their odd coupleness provides a lot of the story's energy. Well, that and the whole collapse of all creation thing.
Now, that's all well and good, but, c'mon, we've been here before. Why is this special? Well, it's funny. And it's every kind of funny. There are jokes. There are puns. There are Scott's frequently apt cultural references. There is snarky, edgy and deadpan humor. There is a good deal of double-act comedy dialogue. There's everything from don't-call-me-Shirley jokes to pretty subtle throwaways. We stay away from politics and just touch on sex, but we have lots to say about music, celebrities, teen spirit, high school, and, of course, the deepest existential questions regarding life, the universe and everything.
The book moves through three stages. I particularly liked the first third, in which Scott and Davey experience slight and brief reality displacements, and question their own sanity. In the middle third we have a full on reality collapse and it sometimes feels like we're trying too hard to be as bizarro and gonzo, and violent, as possible. After a while this drags a bit, but it's still peppered with Scott and Davey's jokes and comments, so it's O.K.. For the final third we actually have to wrap things up and either save the universe or not. This wrap up is more creative and interesting than I expected, so it was nice of the authors to get us home safely.
The upshot was that this was entertaining, edgy in a basically good-humored fashion, and fun. A nice find.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Most recent customer reviews
As someone who enjoys learning about the many interesting unknowns in our universe, the mere title of Practical...Read more