Paul Di Filippo, Author . PS Publishing $50 (294p) ISBN 978-1-902880-66-2

With tongue firmly in cheek, the prolific and dependably daffy Di Filippo (Little Doors; Babylon Sister s; etc.) clowns his way through this transdimensional travelogue cut from the same cloth as Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Paul Girard, a bored bookstore clerk, is pondering the point of his directionless life (a dilemma he refers to as "the Ontological Pickle") when he is visited by Hans, a cyborg from the future. In exchange for a download of his human essence, Hans gives Paul a yo-yo on a superstring that allows him to travel effortlessly to alternate universes in the cosmic Monobloc. Paul soon becomes a dimension-hopping Gulliver, walking the dog to a succession of paratimes and places that include the cosmic void before the Big Bang, the two-dimensional world of a computer simulation template and, in the book's giddy high point, an alternate America where the hippies overthrew the Nixon administration. The picaresque plot amounts to little more than a Baedeker of vividly imagined micro- and macroworlds that Paul plunks down on, gets a crash-course history of, and barely escapes assimilation into. Though the pattern and elaboration of each new adventure grows repetitive, Di Filippo keeps the proceedings lively with satiric winks at our own world and a profusion of comically apt pop culture references ranging from Charles Dickens to Yellow Submarine. Readers will find this novel as close as SF gets to vicarious enjoyment of the class cut-up's antics. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7434-9822-7
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-1-60459-890-2
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