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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The discovery of a secretly completed time machine sets in motion a challenge between a greedy corporate take over versus the only good that can save the world: human curiosity and virtuous friendship.
Rob Wolf’s The Alternate Universe tells this wonderful young adult sci fi adventure through the dynamic characters of Claude and his best friend Carolien, whose wit and relationships collide with this mind-blowing question. What is the relationship between an American slave family of the past to its surviving social and cultural progeny – stuck in a present alternate universe?
As I swung high into the climax of this enthralling and fast-paced sci fi novel, I found myself literally talking back to the page and yelling at the characters what to do, as if watching an action movie-thriller in the privacy of my own home. Only, I was on a packed transcontinental flight upon which several interrupted passengers inquired about this highly recommended book.
The brilliant philosophical roots of the narrative are not limited to science and the metaphysical, as one might expect from sci fi, but rather unfolds with the tantalizing fun of math, puzzles, history, economics, social studies, word plays, slang, irony, and even some camp.
It is apropos that Wolf frames the plot within the Greek kronos, with its poetic and subliminal nod to Plato and Aristotle: is truth right here or somehow beyond?
The story is not actually about race and sexual orientation at all. And, yet, there is the almost stunning normalization of a composed world that does not blink too rapidly at the exquisitely tasteful scene of the first teenage kiss between two boys. And you will not find any cheap smut in this scene at all. Instead we find a universal lure to vulnerability and intimacy outlined by the male quest to connect through competition and a bit of tenderness. In a splendid scene set in the midst of a brewing storm, the amorous couple chase down a woman’s hat blown off her head by the winds. After finding the hat but losing the woman, the boys race via horses back to the shelter where a kiss, in this world, is just a kiss, glorious and universal. Between the horse race and the kiss, though, a dialogue ensues which proves that boys are not just sexual, but rather complex, mathematical, athletic, nerdy, and reflective beings.
As for ethnicity and race, gay white Claude is best friends with the fabulous female black Carolien, who gets to embody the refreshing fact that her blackness gets to alternate between meaning everything and nothing special at all.
The Alternate Universe is entertaining and empowering. I absolutely loved and enjoyed this book for the sheer pleasure of a good plot, brilliant characters, and stimulating complexity. It shows how to write good fiction, integrate learning, but most importantly, what the confident assertion of self-trust and good friendship can make possible.