How does one describe John C Wright’s Somewhither?  That is, indeed the question.

While this book won the Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction novel this year, Science Fiction doesn’t quite cover it.  In some ways, it’s about as Science Fictional as Star Wars.  But since it deals with multiple parallel universes, with technological interfacing between them, I suppose the label “Science Fiction” works.  It could just as well have been called “Philosophical/Metaphysical Action Adventure,” though even that wouldn’t quite cover it.

Now, my introduction to John C Wright was a combination of his blog and Awake in the Night Land, an anthology of stories in William Hope Hodgson’s universe of The Night Land.  I confess I found Wright’s version more readable than Hodgson’s purple prose by a country mile.  That, and Wright’s own description of Somewhither, in an article on his blog, got me interested.

The comment in question?

“And, no, the Ark in my version is not locked in an American warehouse. That would be absurd and unbelievable, whereas this story is utterly realistic.

And by ‘utterly realistic’, I mean is utterly and really just like what would happen if truck full of pro-Catholic apologetic tracts, rammed into a warehouse full of pulp magazines, Batman comics, and old episodes of MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., and a novel was flung from the resulting explosion into low Earth orbit, was exposed to space radiation, mutated, and fell to earth in the Arctic, only to be unearthed by unwary scientists who are murdered one by one.

Or if the poet and magician Virgil saw the movie VAN HELSING, went mad, and decided to write an episode of the Highlander-meets-Buffy TV show. That is what I mean by utterly realistic. It is as realistic as a Dan Brown novel, in other words.”

After that, how could I not read it?

In short, the story starts with the main character and narrator, Ilya Muromets, the son of a Knight Templar living in Tillamook, Oregon (yes, you read that right), discovering that his dad is a Knight Templar, the girl he has a crush on is involved in a multi-universe war, and that her father (or adopted father) is trying to open a door to another universe, a door that would really better remain closed.  Ilya, determined to be a hero, save the girl, and win the affections of said girl, who has steadfastly ignored him for some time, goes charging in where angels fear to tread, and winds up wrapped up in a guerrilla war with The Dark Tower, which is out to enslave all parallel universes.

With me so far?  Good, because it only gets wilder from there.  I don’t want to delve too deeply into the plot, or even all the other stuff that Wright has crammed into this roller-coaster ride of a story.  You should go read it yourself.  I don’t want to spoil too much.

Somewhither is seriously one of the wildest mishmash pulp/sci-fi/fantasy/Christian fiction stories I’ve ever read.  (And in case anyone is worried about the “Christian fiction” part making it too tame, don’t worry.  There’s plenty of violence and bloodshed to satisfy the strictest action junkie.  Some of it’s almost more graphic than the stuff I write.)  Wright has thrown just about everything plus the kitchen sink into this universe (multiverse?).  There are magicians, vampires, werewolves, giant armored zeppelins, interdimensional gates, monsters of all shapes and sizes (many of which come from various medieval sources that are sadly underutilized when people start coming up with monsters for fantasy stories).  There’s adventure and superpowers and lots of combat.

In short, it’s a wild roller-coaster of a multiple universe swashbuckler, with some deeper metaphysical themes woven in between the blood and guts and derring-do.  If you have enjoyed the Jed Horn series, by all means, go read Somewhither.  You will not regret it.

Book Review: Somewhither
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Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Works by Peter include: The American Praetorians Series Task Force Desperate (October 2012) - ebook , paperback and audiobook Hunting in the Shadows (June 2013) - ebook and paperback Alone and Unafraid (August 2014) - ebook and paperback The Devil You Don't Know (June 2015) - ebook and paperback Lex Talionis (June 2017) - ebook and paperback The Jed Horn Series A Silver Cross and a Winchester (October 2013) - ebook and paperback Nightmares (January 2015)- ebook and paperback The Walker on the Hills (December 2015) - ebook and paperback Older and Fouler Things (September 2017) - ebook and paperback The Brannigan's Blackhearts Series/Universe Kill Yuan (Spring 2016) - ebook and paperback Fury in the Gulf (November 2017) - ebook and paperback Burmese Crossfire (January 2018) - ebook and paperback Enemy Unidentified (March 2018) - ebook and paperback Frozen Conflict (May 2018) - ebook and paperback High Desert Vengeance (August 2018) - ebook and paperback Doctors of Death (December 2018) - ebook and paperback The Unity Wars Series (P.L. Nealen) The Fall of Valdek (July 2018) - ebook and paperback The Defense of Provenia (August 2018) - ebook and paperback The Alliance Rises (September 2018) - ebook and paperback Short Stories Rock Meet Hard Place (Part I) - Baen Books Blog Non-Fiction Operation Redwings: The Rescue Story Behind Lone Survivor (December 2013) - ebook only The ISIS Solution: How Unconventional Thinking and Special Operations Can Eliminate Radical Islam (SOFREP) (November 2014) - ebook only

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