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Book Review: Here & There

Here & There, by Joshua V. Scher

While reading Here & There, I had the feeling that the author was hoping for a movie or TV deal, and wasn’t shocked to find out that the author is also a screen writer. The story is filled with digressions that may work on screen but not in the book.

The novel is a type of “found footage” story: a briefcase filled with original notes annotated by a second narrator and sent yet to a third person. The original writer, Hilary Kahn, was a psychoanalyst for an agency far more secret than the CIA (you know it from all the movies) and analyzing a scientist working for the Department of Defense in the field of teleportation. Reidier (the scientist) and his family disappeared during an important test of his theory, and Kahn was sent surveillance footage and such to analyze the man and help figure out what happened. Her son Danny, a grating self-important hipster, finds her draft report after she disappears and tries to figure out if the story can lead him to her. The science story really sets up much of the suspense here and fails twice: not only is the first big reveal obvious from the start, but the second big reveal never comes. (There’s a medium twist between the two I didn’t anticipate, but it also goes nowhere.)

I didn’t find the science to be difficult – a lot of it iffy but only in the sense that science fiction has to take some liberties, and it’s not like you need to understand quantum physics to accept a claim about teleportation. What was far more difficult was sticking through Danny’s myriad pointless digressions into his drunken escapades, sexual fantasies, and mommy issues. I won’t lie: I started skimming a lot of his commentary, and wouldn’t miss it if it were cut entirely.

Not recommended.