Parallel Universes. And Books.

This is so weird.

I’m reading two completely different books (well, listening to one of them), and I’m having a hard time separating them because they have so many things in common. Fish-out-of-water stories aren’t so unusual with young adult fiction – stories about kids plucked out of their lives and placed into brand new worlds (cf, Harry Potter). Both of these books are in this genre.

But it’s the other similarities that make it weird. Both are about boys that find themselves with unusual capabilities or gifts (okay; cf, Harry Potter). But early on, they both make it to a fantastic and unusual place (still paralleling Rowling). But in both books, this new and fantastic place is constantly on the move to hide itself from it’s enemies. This is odd – but it’s one minor detail that makes it weirder; both characters find themselves high up in the air carrying on a conversation with a wise man levitating in lotus position.

I recently started reading Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation (by Matt Myklush, 2010). A young adult book about a boy who discovers he has super powers that he didn’t realize he had, is brought to a wonderful city full of superheroes and androids and aliens; the city moves around the Earth to avoid detection. Early in the book, he meets a levitating superhero outside his skyscraper window on the 400th floor.

I also started listening to Interworld (by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves, 2007). A young adult book about a boy who discovers he has the ability to walk between parallel universes (that he didn’t know he had), is brought to a wonderful city full of others with the same ability; the city moves between parallel dimensions to avoid detection. Early in the book, he meets a levitating mentor as he climbs high on a mountain.

I’ve been having some trouble going between the books; the stories seem to have very little in common, while at the same time having a lot in common.

It’s a little like when I was watching Season 6 of Weeds, while at the same time listening to Phillip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. But on a whole different level. Back then, I just wanted to go around dropping F-bombs, and constantly had the munchies.

Update: Major Spoilers for both books follow!!

Okay, now that I’ve finished both books the parallels are crazier. Of course, both main characters lose their powers at key points in their respective stories. Also, they both happen meet doppelgängers of themselves from parallel worlds or other places in time (weird coincidence). I failed to mention that they’re both bullied in the beginning of the books – and then they’re largely rejected by their new societies. But finally – to everyone’s surprise – they both turn out to be the amazing heroes that save the world. There’s got to be a name for that sort of genre.


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