"First of all, I told myself, I must get rid of the persistent sensation that none of this is really happening"
Note: This is a book that I read a few months ago, and some of the details are a little fuzzy at the time I write this review. Big sigh.
WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Charisma by Micheal G. Coney. "Reality what a concept" is the title of a Robin Williams comedy album, but it is also something that is vital to alternate reality science fiction. This story is a combination alternate reality, multiple Earths story and a plain old fashioned murder mystery with a small seaport town setting. The main character of the story John Maine, I forget what his primary job was, except that he was a hired hand at a Hotel of a boating club, and had a side job of being in charge of the Hotel Owner's boat fleet (If I remember correctly). He falls in love with a girl named Susanna.
Plot number 2, or is it plot 5? Boy, well man in this, meets girl falls in love with girl loses girl finds girl again, maybe loses girl again, but finds her by the end standard plot. There is a science fiction twist though. The girl in this case is involved with a scientific organization that is conducting experiments that lead to the discovery of parallel worlds.
Our hero, or rather the primary character meets a beautful girl who he eventually learns is named Susanna and she works at a research station that has a few secrets. The main secret is that they have discovered a means to travel to parallel Earths, what they eventually learn is that the timelines of these Earths are converging and will possibly destroy them all. John Maine falls in love with Susanne, the catch is that she is really from one of these parallel Earths, and the Susanne from John's primary Earth is dead. He soon learns that many people he has been in contact with are dead, and even he is dead on one and possibly more of these Earths.
John's love for Susanne drives him deeper into exploring these parallel Earths, and also the fact that on his primary Earth he is a suspect in the murder of a respected man in the seaport town the story takes place in. Long story short he is not actually the murderer, however due to his mucking about in all these alternate worlds, and the fact that these worlds are converging, he is constantly incriminating himself.
By stories end the loose ends are tied up, and some of the events that John experienced didn't happen, a few of them canceled themselves out. The story doesn't have a typical feel of science fiction other than the traveling between the parallel worlds. If feels more like a romance story set in a seaport town, that makes me think of Maine, or maybe it is the character's name that makes me think of that area.
I stumbled across this book quite by accident really. I had actually ordered another book by the same author from an Ebay seller, and the seller accidentally sent this one. I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book and rather than send it back, I decided to keep it. The seller only charged me the cost of the book not the extra postage, and sent the book I originally ordered. The book I had ordered was actually a book I had read before, but wanted a better, cleaner copy of. That book was Cat Karina a book writen by the same author a few year latter than Charisma. Some day I should reread Cat Karina, or at least try to drum up a review of it.
Charisma by Michael G. Coney 1975 Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 250 pages - ***.5