In The Fold, scientists have discovered an instantaneous way to get from point A to point B. Say you put a dot on one corner of a piece of paper, and a dot on the other diagonal corner. So using an 8-1/2″ piece of paper, the distance from point A to point B is about 13″, (depending on the exact location of your dots). Now….. and here comes the beauty part ….. take one dot, fold the paper so that it lies directly on top of the other dot. Now the distance between them? Almost zippity do dah. Think of physical space for us humans. If you could create a fold in the space time fabric, you get the same effect.
These scientists have done just this, with their working prototype consisting of two portals—- two sets of rings quite far apart in an old military base. It is so cool. You can stand in front of one set, have a colleague stand in front of the other set of rings at the other distant location and toss a baseball back and forth. You can walk through the rings, and your next step is in the other location.
Teleportation, except that it does nothing to the physical body. Does not disturb the molecules or atoms of the body. Unlike other teleportation ideas, the physical object is not broken down and reassembled at the other point, which gives you those possibilities for oopsies like in The Fly.
However, after a couple of years of trials, all of which went off without a hitch, after one visiting staffer crosses, he goes home to find his house different, and a different women posing as his wife. But really no. He just perceived it this way. He had apparently gone mad. But the scientific team did not count this as a failure of the crossing, but simply as who knows what, because all of them had made the crossing numerous times, one guy 137 times, with no adverse affects.
The government guy in charge of the budget money for the project has a hinky feeling about it, though. After he visited the project, he felt there were a lot of secrets that the scientists were not sharing with him, and he convinces his long time friend from childhood to take on the job of visiting the site and observing and giving a report on his own opinions. His friend, Mike, the protagonist of the piece, has eidetic memory and an off-the-charts IQ. But he discovered in school that he was different and shunned, and began to make himself seem more ‘normal’, and now works as a high school lit teacher in a small town in Maine.
So he takes what almost amounts to super powers of observation and memory to the site in California, and he, too, feels there is something amiss.
I loved this book up until about two thirds into it, when it brought in monsters. Yeah, right? It seems that the head scientist had an old old book by some guy who had mathematical formulas for teleportation, and the team used them and were surprised they worked, but not in the way they expected. Turns out that the equations created a quantum something, and when an object went through the portal, it was not the SAME object that appeared on the other side, but that same object from a different universe. So the person who went through was not the same person who appeared. Hence, the crazy guy. He was not crazy, just a different guy from a different universe who arrived on the other side. Also this activity opened these portals to other worlds or other universes. And that began to let the monsters in.
Oh sigh. Why does it always have to be monsters? Why doesn’t this stuff allow good creatures and love and beauty through the portals? So, anyhoo, I lost interest when we got to the monsters, but stuck it out to the bitter end. Other than the monsters, it was a great book, and I am only pissing and moaning because I am not a guy and am not much into monsters, battles, darkness, but I AM into clever ideas about quantum stuff, and multiverses and mysterious scientific projects.
Clines writes some great stuff. He has a series about ex-heroes, which does not interest me but which has gotten a lot of praise, and he wrote 14, a book about a strange apartment house, which I absolutely loved, and talked about here. I really admire authors who have unusual ideas and write well. I may not have to really like the ideas, but I do admire the creativity.
I am calling this a sci fi work, but really, it could fall into a number of different genres.