A little bit Loki, a little bit Orphan Black, The Space Between Worlds is my favorite kind of science fiction--deeply and fantastically imagined, but also firmly grounded in the reality of human behavior. The multiverse has been proven and thanks to a benevolent young tech genius, travel between worlds is possible. Traversing quickly becomes an elite profession, but ironically, it's only accessible to society's least elite because there's a catch. You can only travel to a world where your other self has died and if you're born into a world deprived of access to things like food and medical care, you're a lot more likely to be dead in multiple realities. Cara is the highest-volume traverser in the company because her other selves have died on more than 300 of the other Earths. Turns out there's an upside to being born in the slums to a drug-addicted prostitute. Traversing pays well and provides a path to citizenship in the walled city--Cara's ticket out of the scorched wasteland she comes from. But, having access to so many other worlds and so many other versions of the people around her soon reveals that no one is who they say they are, not even Cara herself. When she discovers company secrets that would unravel the entire industry, she has to decide whether there's something more important than the brutal ambition to pull herself out of poverty that has been her singular, driving force in this life and hundreds of others. This story blew my mind multiple times and kept me enthralled until the very end.
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE • An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.
WINNER OF THE COMPTON CROOK AWARD • FINALIST FOR THE LOCUS AWARD • “Gorgeous writing, mind-bending world-building, razor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • Library Journal • Book Riot
Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.
On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.
But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.
“Clever characters, surprise twists, plenty of action, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.”—Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Micaiah Johnson was raised in California’s Mojave Desert surrounded by trees named Joshua and women who told stories. She received her bachelor of arts in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside, and her master of fine arts in fiction from Rutgers University–Camden. She now studies American literature at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on critical race theory and automatons.
“[The Space Between Worlds] remained two steps ahead of my imagination, rattling it out of complacency and flooding it with color and heat. . . . Profoundly satisfying.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“The Space Between Worlds is fascinating, complicated, compelling . . . a jewel of a novel.”—Locus
“[The Space Between Worlds] gripped me from page one and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the final page.”—The Nerd Daily
“This book took me on one hell of a ride. . . . A really fun and thought-provoking read.”—Becky’s Book Blog
“Sliding Doors meets Mad Max . . . a fast-paced, compelling read.”—SciFiNow
“Sharp and gripping. If you love queer SFF . . . then definitely pick up The Space Between Worlds.”—Utopia State of Mind
“The Space Between Worlds is a riveting and detailed parallel universe sci-fi novel with a lot to say about fortune, privilege and belonging.”—Dr. Alice Violett
“The Space Between Worlds is an incredible debut . . . tightly focused and paced like a rocket launch.”—The Quill to Live
“Micaiah Johnson’s debut is a punk album, presenting a world where even our possibilities are colonized. I loved every twisting minute of it.”—Alex White, author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe
“The Space Between Worlds lands squarely in my sweet spot: gorgeous writing, mind-bending world-building, razor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
“A gritty, riveting, and ultimately hopeful novel about the people, choices, and relationships that make us who we are—in this world, and in those we can only imagine.”—Kameron Hurley, Hugo and Locus award–winning author of The Light Brigade
“Johnson’s world-hopping debut uses science fictional tools and an exciting plot to address urgent questions of privilege and position. . . . A compelling stand-alone debut that will leave readers thrilled, thoughtful, and anticipating the author’s next book.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Johnson bursts onto the scene with this thought-provoking, high-concept sci-fi debut that impresses with exceptional worldbuilding and a distinctive protagonist.”—Publishers Weekly
“This exciting debut is intelligently built, with clever characters, surprise twists, plenty of action, subtly detailed worlds, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.”—Library Journal(starred review)