I got basically nothing else done on the day I started reading The Fold. Somehow, the writing completely engaged me, and I couldn’t put it down. In retrospect, I can see all kinds of holes in this story’s logic (including a major one that I’ll put in the spoiler section), but I am still giving this book 4/5 just because it was irresistible reading for me.
Mike is a high school teacher. Just a normal guy trying to live a normal life. But his friend, who works for the government, approaches him with a possible job, Mike agrees to at least attend the meeting – even though he isn’t really interested in the gig.
Out west, a group of scientists have been working several years on a project, and are seeking more grant money. Mike’s friend wants Mike to go to their project and assess whether what is happening there is on the up-and-up. The project involves a sort of teleportation, wherein dimensions are folded together, so that a single step can pass over a long distance. I got a little bit of deja vu when I was reading this, because it really brought to mind Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which I read many, many years ago and barely remember. But the part I do remember is that the example used was an ant at one end of a string, trying to get to the other end. Twelve inches for him to walk to get to the other side of the string – unless the two ends are brought close together in a “U” shape. Then the ant is able to travel one inch (or less) – but still gets to the other side of the string: a wrinkle in time.
Clines uses a similar concept by putting two dots on opposite sides of a piece of a paper, but then folding the paper so they touch: the dimensions are folded together, and the dots are now next to each other, even though they are still technically on opposites sides of the paper.
Honestly, the whole book was super sketch when it came to science, and I read a lot of reviews ragging on it for that. So if you like your sci-fi to be amazingly sound science, this isn’t for you. But if you’re like me, and you just want your sci-fi to be entertaining and exciting – well, you may enjoy this tale.
The ending was a little weak, but I think that if I had read Clines’s other book, 14, I may have understood it better. But this was another one of those cases where I have no idea the two books are linked until it’s too late. I just don’t understand why, if an author is going to make two of his books interconnected – even loosely – no one bothers to mention that at the beginning. Like, “Oh, hey, you can totally read this independently, but if you want the full impact, read this other one first!” I hate reading things out of order, so this is super annoying to me.
Bit of a spoiler rant below, but all in all a fun, engrossing read – and #9 for 20 Books of Summer!!!
Spoiler here – so basically when people step through the Fold from Point A, it turns out that they aren’t personally traveling to Point B – they are pushing another self, from another dimension, out of that dimension and into the dimension of Point A. But the dimensions are so similar that it takes a while for them to figure out what is going on – there are only subtle differences between the various selves who have been shuffled about.
While I actually thought this was a great idea in and of itself, I was super skeptical of the fact that the dimensions are so incredibly similar that the exact right person is walking through the exact right spot at the exact right time – every time. Because in order for them to not notice through the hundreds of test runs, it means that in our dimension Person X is walking through the portal at the exact same time another version of Person X is walking through the portal in his own dimension. And I know it’s silly to pick that one thing to look at askance, as there was plenty of iffy science throughout, but that was the big thing that made the whole story feel unbelievable to me, so there’s that!