Parallelities, by Alan Dean Foster

parallelities-by-alan-dean-foster coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Published: 1998
Reviewer Rating: half star
Book Review by Aaron M. Renn

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This is a typical Foster novel. Take a subculture character from the ordinary world and send him on a whirlwind tour of the absurd. Unfortunately, the joke is wearing thin and even if it weren’t this incarnation is a particularly poor effort.

Max Parker is a reporter for a supermarket tabloid sent to investigate a scientist who claims to be able to open doors to parallel universes. (Now there’s an original idea. Not!) The scientist, Barrington Boles, gives Parker a demonstration that supposedly fails. But as it turns out Boles’ equipment managed to create a field that allows access to parallel universes, a field that adheres to Parker.

The rest of the plot I won’t bore you with. The book contains nothing original and leads nowhere. I’d be willing to think that Foster was writing a parody of the parallel universe genre, except that even by that standard Parallelities fails miserably. As one might expect of a tabloid reporter, Parker is an unsympathetic protagonist from the get-go and nothing happened to change my opinion of him.

I’m a Foster fan from way back, so I don’t feel like I’m being unfair to the guy when I say that this book is actively bad. I own virtually all of his novels, and I’d say this is the worst. Unless you, like me, want to keep a complete Foster collection, there’s no reason to buy it.

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