Practical Applications of Multiverse Theory is a madcap, comic science fiction for young adults by Nick Scott and Noa Gavin. I often like to read a bit of young adult fiction because it is often creative and imaginative. That is certainly true here. Interestingly, Practical Applications of Multiverse Theory is also a crowd-funded novel which is an original, but totally au courant form of publishing.
The story begins during Homecoming Week with Scott and Davey sharing the narrative. They are two high school students who are most decidedly NOT friends. Davey is the head cheerleader and expects to be the Homecoming Queen on Friday. Scott is a quiet, retired, uncool semi-nerd who hopes to pass the days without being noticed. Their hopes began to fall apart when they both start seeing things.
And by things, I mean teachers turning into dragons, lizards, spiders. Classmates turning into man-eating Eleusinians, a cowboy sloth, steampunk cannons and any other whimsy you can imagine, but these whimsies are murderous and carnivorous. It’s quite frightening, especially when in a blink of an eye, Scott or Davery will find him or herself back in a regular classroom moments after slaying a monster.
At first they each think they are going crazy, but despite being reassured to discover they are not alone in seeing what they see, they are irritated that their partners in perception are each other. They soon discover that they are seeing the collapsing of the multiverse, one universe bleeding into another, heading toward the end of all universes unless they can figure out and destroy the catalyst. Along the way, they discover a few other students who can also perceive the multiverses they are cycling through who join their quest.
I did laugh at loud at least once while reading Practical Applications when Scott slid into a steampunk universe. Scott was delightfully disgusted at ending up in a steampunk universe, “the worst, most pretentious, least logical nice of nerds.” However the cacophony, the overload of too much, too fast, with too many made this adventure go from madcap race against time to a little boring. Sure, I would smile at some new critter like a dog made of waffles, but it was all too much. It lost coherence which is, I guess, what the writers wanted to convey, but it became less about discovering new multiverses and more about slogging through pages of antics to finally get back to some progress in the story.
So, I enjoyed this story about half the way through, but then as they knew what they needed to do and were just slogging through the barriers and beasties to achieve their goal, losing one friend after another. Sacrifices to the plot with little backstory or character development fall prey to all sorts of killer creatures and some very imaginative deaths. Poor Derek! So yes, read this for sheer invention, imagination and a tinge of insanity, but expect that it may be too much of a good thing.
I received an electronic galley of Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory from the publishers through NetGalley.