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Here, There and Everywhere
Chris Roberson
Pyr Books, 285 pages

Here, There and Everywhere
Chris Roberson
Chris Roberson's short fiction can be found in the anthologies Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), The Many Faces of Van Helsing (Ace, 2004), Tales of the Shadowmen (Black Coat Press, 2005), and FutureShocks (Roc, 2006). His story "O One" won the 2003 Sidewise Award for Best Short-Form Alternate History and was nominated for the 2004 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. With director Robert Rodriguez, he is the co-author of the Shark Boy and Lava Girl Adventures (Troublemaker Publishing, May 2005). In 2003, he launched the independent press MonkeyBrain Books, an publishing house specializing in genre fiction and non-fiction genre studies. His first novel is Here, There & Everywhere. He and his family reside in Austin, Texas.

Chris Roberson Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Sidewise Award winning author Chris Roberson's first novel, Here, There and Everywhere, is a bit of a bait and switch novel. The title, and each of the chapter titles, are taken from songs by the Beatles. The opening, at a press conference in 1995, focuses on a Beatles with a band make-up which clearly shows that this world is different from our own world where the Beatles broke up in 1970 and John Lennon was killed a decade later. The novel itself then proceeds to completely ignore the Fab Four.

Rather than being about John, Paul, George, and the other one, Here, There and Everywhere is the story of Roxanne Bonaventura, a young girl who discovers the Sofia, a mysterious metallic armband that allows her to travel through time and, eventually, through alternate realities. Roxanne's use of the Sofia begins small as she tries to gain time by living in different periods and then returning only a few moments after she left. When her father begins to suffer from cancer, she attempts to use the Sofia to ease his suffering, if not cure the cancer entirely.

It is clear that Roxanne spends a lot of time experimenting with the Sofia, but this is not something that Roberson is interested in describing. Therefore, the reader sees Roxanne suddenly having knowledge not only of the Sofia, but also of the various periods in which she travels. Roberson never shows her establishing her persona in various periods, but rather shows her as known quantities in those eras. She has a house and a staff in Victorian England. She has a place in 30s Egypt.

The Roxanne who flowers in the novel is an extremely capably and intelligent person. She can easily blend in with her surroundings and has an innate understanding of the universe(s) through which she moves. Unbeknownst to her, she is also a legend among other time travelers, who know of her existence, but not how she travels. Her encounters with those travelers only serve to demonstrate how different she is from them, and how inexplicable her position is.

Despite the mysteries surrounding Roxanne, some of which Roberson does eventually explain, she is an appealing heroine, which is the frame upon which Roberson is able to build the success of the novel. As she moves through worlds and through her Roberson postulates numerous ideas about how a multiverse would work and how time travel would fit into the picture, the reader is continuously engaged, even when noticing the novel's weaknesses.

Time travel is not a new subgenre within science fiction, and Roberson's ideas and writing are reminiscent of L. Sprague de Camp, Isaac Asimov, or H.G. Wells (who makes one of his numerous fictional appearances in Here, There and Everywhere) among others. However, Roberson does not merely repeat their ideas. He combines the established elements in an interesting and often unique way. When paired with Roberson's writing style, it makes for an entertaining and intriguing novel.

Copyright © 2005 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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