Planesrunner by Ian McDonald
Pyr, Amherst, NY, 2011
From my library TBR holds. This is the first book in the Everness series.
A great young adult novel, the first in a series, from one of my favorite science fiction authors.
Everett Singh leads a pretty normal life for a fourteen year old until the day his father is kidnapped.
Everett knows his father is a theoretical physicist, working on the Many-Worlds Theory, but when he tries to explain to the police that his father has been kidnapped they brush him off.
“Do you know what the Many Worlds Theory is?” Everett said. He leaned forward across the table. Previous occupants had doodled stars and spirals and cubes and the names of football clubs on the peeling plastic. “Every time the smallest least tiniest thing happens, the universe branches. There’s a universe where it happened, and a universe where it didn’t. Every second, every microsecond every day, there are new universes splitting off from this one. For every possible event in history, there’s a universe, out there somewhere, right beside this one.” Everett lifted a finger and drew a line through the air. “A billion universes, just there now. Every possible universe is out there somewhere. This isn’t something someone made up, this is a proper physical theory. That’s what physics means: real, solid, actual. Does that sound not so important to you? It sounds to me like the biggest thing there is.”
Through clues and an inter-dimensional map left by his father, Everett opens a gate between worlds and finds himself in a London that is at once familiar and terribly strange, dealing with people from that world, his own world and many others worlds.
McDonald does a fabulous job of making a very complex idea understandable for both young adult and adult readers. There is adventure, drama and the meaning of family wrapped up in this wonderful story and I can’t wait to read more in this series.