JUMPING GIGAWATTS!! Another time traveling book about the end of the world. I have to admit, I love me some books about time travel. Even more than that, I love books about the multiverse. However, I do have to admit that it is quite worrisome to think there are other versions of me running amok and perhaps even doing something unthinkable like purchasing male skinny jeans!! But the multiverse, that ole rascal, is up to it again in “The Beautiful Land” by Alan Averill.
What exactly is the Multiverse you may quietly ponder unto thyself? The multiverse is the theory that multiple realities of our world/reality exist simultaneously. That means multiple earths with multiple, perhaps even infinite, versions of ourselves. The difference? Perhaps where we made a decision to go right, our other self went left and created a new reality or maybe we get married in this reality but in another one we are a 90 year old bachelor crashing MTV’s Spring Break party hoping to hook up with a 20 year old hottie whose name we can’t remember because we are past our 3:30 pm bedtime.
SUMMARY: “The Beautiful Land” follows the story of 2 main characters Takahiro O’Leary and Samira. Tak is a man at the end of his rope (quite literally). When we meet him, he is ready to hang himself. He has had enough of life. A former star of a survivalist show, Tak feels lost and without purpose. Samira, an Iraqi was vet, has come back to the States but is haunted by her time there. She served as a translator and saw the worst that the war had to offer. Throughout the story we get to read some back stories on both characters and Samira had a horrible experience with her time in the service. Tak and Samira are old friends. They were inseparable in high school though not romantic. But slowly over the years, they have gone in different directions but have both found an empty existence void of meaning and direction.
The moment before Tak decides to permanently stretch his neck, he receives a phone call from a mysterious woman from a company called Axon Corp. For some reason (never made clear) they specifically need Tak for a special never before type of mission. Tak reluctantly agrees and heads off to the middle of nowhere in Australia. Once there he meets Charles Yates. Yates is the brilliant scientist behind Axon Corp. It seems Yates has discovered a way to travel across time itself but not in the conventional way. He can’t go back and forth in time rather his device has created doorways to other versions of reality. Tak is the only one able to effectively travel between these doors. But while he is traveling, he comes across something very evil and very quickly headed for our reality.
Tak escapes and heads back to the States to find his long lost love, Samira. What is coming is the end of reality and Tak knows how to escape what is coming. But he won’t go without Samira. But, Yates has different plans for the end of the world and needs to make sure that nothing and no one, especially Tak and Samira, get in the way of his plans.
Throw in freaky creatures that look like coked out Big Birds and some crazy disjointed dream like sequences as Tak and Samira travel between realities and you have the skeleton of this story.
THOUGHTS: I give this one a solid 3 for effort. I did like the character, Tak, a lot. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times at his sarcastic comments that he makes. Unfortunately, I now judge any book involving the multiverse next to Blake Crouch’s amazing “Dark Matter”. There were a few times when I couldn’t really figure out why a part of the book was included and what it had to do with the story. In addition, we are left wondering what makes Tak so important and qualified to be sought out out of all the people in the world to become the person to become the traveler of the multiverse. The reason is never given and I was left to assume that it had something to do with his survival show. But why not ask Bear Grylls then? I mean he drinks his own pee, so you know he’s at least ultra committed and stuff.
I can’t tell you much about why the book is named “The Beautiful Land” without giving away an important part of the book but it is part of the multiverse and the major reason that Yates creates the Machine.
I will say this was a fun book and at times read like a movie script. If you enjoy novels about the multiverse, then pick this one up. It was a quick 2 day read for me and the ending is pretty good.