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Here, There & Everywhere

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Overview

When Roxanne Bonaventure is eleven years old, a dying woman gives her a gift that changes her life utterly, making her a singular creature, with no analogue or equivalent. With the strange device called the "Sofia," she is granted the ability to travel anywhere in space and time, not only through times that were and will be, but also through the worlds that could have been and might someday be. From that day forward, no place or time can contain her, no danger can assail her, no mystery can elude her. From the ...
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Overview

When Roxanne Bonaventure is eleven years old, a dying woman gives her a gift that changes her life utterly, making her a singular creature, with no analogue or equivalent. With the strange device called the "Sofia," she is granted the ability to travel anywhere in space and time, not only through times that were and will be, but also through the worlds that could have been and might someday be. From that day forward, no place or time can contain her, no danger can assail her, no mystery can elude her. From the deepest secrets of the past to the furthest flung visions of the future, Roxanne's life knows no boundaries except those she can imagine. But such power comes at a price: the life she might have led is forever lost to her, twisting away among the infinite threads of the Myriad. Roxanne finds herself isolated, unable to make lasting, meaningful relationships with friends, family, or strangers.

Here, There & Everywhere is the story of one woman searching for herself, and for someone with whom to share her life. It is one story, and many stories - the jigsaw puzzle of a life, from youth to old age, projected against the backdrop of everything that ever was, might have been, and may yet be. Roxanne's adventures take her from Victorian England to Ancient Egypt, from the End of Time to the birth of The Beatles. Along the way, she encounters every method of time travel theoretically possible: Visser Wormholes and Tipler Cylinders; a mysterious substance called chronium; and the slow and steady path we all take, moving forward one day at a time. And somewhere in the endlessly splitting paths of the Myriad lies the secret of Roxann

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
What would you do if you could not only instantaneously travel to any time or place on Earth but could also visit an infinite number of divergent worlds? That's the crux of Chris Roberson's debut novel, Here, There & Everywhere, a surprisingly poignant story about one woman's wild ride through time and space in search of her place in the universe.

Roxanne Bonaventure, the precocious daughter of a widowed British professor, gains the power to travel through time when she is given a strange silver bracelet from an old woman who suddenly appears before her, hands over the device (called the Sofia), and promptly disappears in a flash of light. As Roxanne matures -- and learns how to fully utilize the Sofia's capabilities -- she begins a journey that will take her to Victorian England; ancient Egypt; alternate Earths populated by sentient dinosaur-men, winged humans, and genius rats; and the very end of time itself. But will Roxanne be ultimately alone in the universe, or can she find someone to share her life with?

Since the publication of The Time Machine by H. G. Wells in 1895, time-travel stories have been a staple for genre readers. And although fans are all too familiar by now with plotlines concerning grandfather paradoxes and butterfly effects, Roberson's ingenious take on time travel is like a blast of invigorating freshness into a room full of stagnant air. As profound as it is irreverent, Here, There & Everywhere is an enthralling blend of science fiction, alternate history, adventure, and mystery. Reminiscent of Rudy Rucker's classic Master of Space and Time, Roberson's debut is, above all else, pure unadulterated fun. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
If Roberson tends to tell in his first novel rather than show as he does in his short fiction (his stories have been finalists for World Fantasy and Sidewise awards), this episodic romp through the Myriad, where literally every version of events plays out, offers many felicities, not least a spunky heroine. As a schoolgirl, wisecracking Roxanne Bonaventure stumbles across a wounded old woman, who gives her a bracelet. After the woman disappears, Roxanne accidentally discovers that the bracelet, the Sofia, permits travel to any point in the multiverse. Roxanne slowly learns to use the Sofia, and later, with the help of her scientist father, to control it. Her travels then begin in earnest. But several questions dog her: Was the old woman a future version of herself? Where did the Sofia come from? And why are there so few other venues that permit cross-time stream travel in the Myriad? Just when Roxanne believes her life is over, she finds herself in the far future, with one more adventure before her-one that may answer all her questions. Clever popular culture references, amusing showdowns and true human feeling lift this well-crafted debut. Agent, Richard Curtis. (Apr. 5) FYI: This SF title is one of the first releases from Prometheus Books' new Pyr imprint. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Roxanne, the precocious only child of widower Professor Bonaventure, receives a mysterious silver bracelet, the Sofia, that allows her to travel to different times and alternate worlds. In the course of her journeys to the Middle Ages, Elizabethan England, ancient Egypt, and future Oxford, she searches for answers to the questions that have always plagued her life-how can she keep her dying father alive? Will she ever find someone to spend her life with? What is the origin of the Sofia, and why was she chosen to wear it for life? Roberson's deceptively lighthearted take on the phenomena of time travel and alternate universes features a likable heroine whose quick mind and caring heart should appeal to adult and YA fans of sf adventure with a conscience. For most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Roxanne Bonaventure, a precocious 11-year-old, leaves school one day to find a woman sprawled on the sidewalk. The stranger gives her a silver bracelet she calls the Sofia and promptly dies. Although shaken and puzzled by the encounter, the girl goes on with her life. But one day, she discovers that the bracelet grants its wearer the ability to travel through space and time. With the aid of her scientist father, she learns to control its power and soon pops across history and the future. Being young, her first experiments center on jumping back in time to find information on that cute boy in class. As she gets older, Roxanne explores some of her favorite points in history and meets H. G. Wells and the Beatles, among other figures. Each chapter is a separate adventure, giving the book an episodic feel. The range is from the action-oriented, like fighting Nazis, to the elegiac, such as her attempts to use time travel to find a cure for her father's illness. Particularly as a child and young adult, Roxanne is a fun, freewheeling character with whom readers will easily connect. As she gets older, she becomes wiser, a little more reserved, and cautious. But after all she learns, she still searches for the secrets of her own life as well as the enigmatic source of the Sofia. The novel concludes by circling back in surprising ways, giving her the elusive answers for which she longs. Clever, irreverent, and at times touching.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Time-travel yarn, bulging with pop-culture references-the chapter titles are Beatles songs, for instance-from the prolific storysmith and novelist. Widowed professor Stephen Bonaventure, unable to cope with his precocious ten-year-old daughter, Roxanne, reluctantly sends her off to boarding school in California. Here, an old lady, wounded and evidently dying, appears in a flash of light; she gives Roxanne a bracelet, the "Sofia," which, Roxanne will discover, can open doors to past and future, indeed, alternate pasts and futures. Later, she explores the Beatles' career-all of them, including the one where Pete Best remained their drummer. She shows her dad the far future, and tries numerous stratagems to prevent his dying from cancer. She meets herself, a self that didn't acquire a Sofia but did marry the lover who dumped Roxanne. In the 1890s, she helps Sexton Blake-like detective Sanford Blank crack a case involving H.G. Wells and an inventor who time-travels by means of a mysterious crystal. She's abducted and questioned by an agent of the inept and ignorant Chrono Defense Corps, but does learn of time-travel doorways beneath the Antarctic ice; learns of another time-travel device lying far off in space and time; gets dragged into the remote future to meet the LORDS TEMPORAL; and jaunts through worlds where fictional characters are real. In the 1930s, a desert-archaeology adventure involves her grandfather Jules. In the 16th century, she visits a time-traveler whose presence changes the future. And, eventually, all the odd time-travel clues will add up. There's little or no originality to Roberson's scattershot storytelling, and seemingly the future bores him-none of Roxanne's tripsthere hold any lingering interest. Overall: exotic and ephemeral, like lychee-flavored bubblegum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591023319
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 3/25/2005
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Roberson's critically-acclaimed short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), The Many Faces of Van Helsing (Ace, 2004), and FutureShocks (Roc, 2005), with previous and forthcoming appearances in the pages of Asimov's Science Fiction, Black October, Fantastic Metropolis, RevolutionSF, Twilight Tales, Opi8, Alien Skin, Electric Velocipede, and Lone Star Stories. His writings have received positive reviews from Locus Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Infinity Plus and RevolutionSF. He was a 2004 World Fantasy Award finalist and the winner of the 2003 Sidewise Award for Best Short Story.

See also Roberson's Paragaea.

For more on Chris Roberson visit www.chrisroberson.net

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Read an Excerpt


Here, There & Everywhere


By CHRIS ROBERSON
Prometheus Books
Copyright © 2005

MonkeyBrain, Inc.
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-1-59102-331-9



Chapter One Yesterday

OXFORDSHIRE, 1980 AGE: 10 YEARS OLD

Roxanne Bonaventure sat on the hard, unforgiving seat of the straight-backed wooden chair, the work of weeks lying in ruins on the headmaster's desk before her.

The headmaster, Mr. Campbell, all puffed cheeks, sweat-dappled forehead, and fringe of ratty white hair, glowered at her from behind his desk, joining with her teacher Mrs. Roth in a silent chorus of condemnation. That her father had still not arrived, she was sure, only proved that she was beyond all hope. Nature and nurture, dually embodied in the form of her absent parent, conspired against her.

Scattered on the desk lay the battered and brutalized remains of Roxanne's Junior Four Science Fair project. Pristine and new only a few short hours before, sparkling with possibility and the hint of mysteries revealed, it was now only a disheveled mass of developed photographic plates, a shoebox affair, and a mangled electrical apparatus and low-wattage lightbulb. At the tender age of ten years old, still a week away from her eleventh birthday, Roxanne understood how Galileo had felt, pilloried for his insistence on speaking the truth. That Roxanne only barely understood the truth upon which she insisted hardly entered into the equation.

After a long quarter hour more, marked at regular intervals by Mr. Campbell consulting his wristwatch and Mrs. Roth clearing her throat dramatically every sixty seconds on the dot, there was a clamor from the hallway. The door swung open, clanging noisily against the wall, and a scarecrow masquerading as a man appeared in the doorframe: tall, thin, and lank, with a mess of brown hair and circus fun-house glasses.

Professor Stephen Orien Bonaventure, Roxanne's widower father, rushed into the room, muttering sincere apologies and hurrying to the seat at his daughter's side.

"Terribly sorry," Professor Bonaventure said, sliding the chair across the hardwood floors with a deafening squeak. "Lecture ran long, you know."

"I'm sure I don't, Mr. Bonaventure," Headmaster Campbell replied, pointedly omitting the appropriate honorific. "Mrs. Roth," he continued, his voice growing icier with every passing syllable, sending shivers down Roxanne's spine, "do you 'know'?"

"No, sir, Mr. Campbell," Mrs. Roth answered. "I'm very much certain that I don't either."

Roxanne fidgeted on her chair, wishing that she could shrink to tiny size like some American comic superhero.

"Well, Mr. Bonaventure," Campbell continued, turning back to Roxanne's father and steepling his fingers. "It appears that neither I nor Mrs. Roth in fact 'know' about lectures running long. You'll have to forgive us, of course, as we are merely humble laborers in the field of primary education, and not honored academicians of your caliber."

Bonaventure shifted in his seat, suggesting some genetic predisposition to unease that had passed from father to daughter.

"Erm," he began uneasily, "quite all right, Mr.... Campbell?" That he'd obviously picked the name from the brass stamped plate on the headmaster's desk, any previous memory of the man's name lost to him, did not seem to fool anyone. "I understand," he went on to deafening silence and pointed stares, "that there was some trouble with Roxanne today?"

Headmaster Campbell sighed dramatically, and Mrs. Roth echoed by clearing her throat yet again.

"You might say that, Mr. Bonaventure," Campbell answered, "if you consider physically assaulting another student and verbally abusing a teacher as 'some trouble.'"

"She's a menace," Mrs. Roth added, her voice shrill. "It shouldn't be allowed."

"And it won't, Mrs. Roth," Campbell said.

Through it all, Roxanne kept quiet, eyes fixed on the ground, wishing she could disappear.

"I'm not sure I follow," Bonaventure said. He leaned forward in his chair, apparently trying to regain lost psychological ground by taking a more aggressive posture. "What, precisely, is Roxanne supposed to have done?"

"Do you recognize these items, Mr. Bonaventure?" Campbell asked, indicating the ruins of the science project scattered on his desk.

Bonaventure peered over the plastic rims of his glasses at the photographic plates, box, and electrical equipment. He nodded slowly.

"Yes," he answered. "It's a variation on Feynman's double-slit experiment, with a forty-watt bulb modified to release only one photon per half-second, set into a sealed box with a photographic plate positioned at the far side of the barrier. The barrier has a variable number of apertures, or 'slits,' and with the box sealed shut the only light in the system is that emitted by the light. After a set amount of time, the apparatus is dismantled, the photographic plates developed, and the results compared to previous trials with different slit configurations." He paused, and then looked up at Campbell, and over at Mrs. Roth, and back. Neither seemed terribly interested in his explanation.

"Well, if you're worried," Bonaventure continued, straightening, "I can assure you that Roxanne did all the work on her own. I gave her a bit of guidance now and again, but at no point did I contribute materially to the project's construction or design."

Campbell began to shake his head slowly from side to side, and drummed his fingers on the desk's surface.

"No, Mr. Bonaventure," the headmaster answered, "that is not our concern here."

"Then what is?" Bonaventure asked, growing exasperated. He turned to his daughter, who sat as still as a mannequin by his side. "Roxanne, what's going on here?"

"She's filling the other students' heads with stuff and nonsense is what," Mrs. Roth fairly shouted, rising up. Campbell waved her to remain seated, so she crossed her arms over her generous chest and huffed. "Stuff and nonsense."

"Mr. Bonaventure," Campbell continued, "our concern with Roxanne today is not so much different from our concerns on days previous, spanning back over several years, to the point when she first arrived at our school. That Roxanne is inspired by your profession to produce"-he paused, indicating the experiment components-"objects ... such as these, is hardly grounds for chastisement. It should be encouraged, in fact, and to my certain knowledge has been at many different points. No, our concern is more with your daughter's general attitude and conduct."

Campbell swung his chair to one side, and pushed his not-inconsiderable bulk off the seat. Hands clasped behind his back like a movie detective putting together the final clues to solve the case, he walked around the edge of the desk, and paced back and forth in front of the beleaguered Roxanne and her father.

"It appears, Mr. Bonaventure," he continued, beginning to use the man's name more as punctuation than a form of address, "that in presenting this 'slit experiment' to her classmates and to the judges of the Junior Four Science Fair, Roxanne made some rather outlandish claims which disrupted the remainder of the proceedings."

"What claims?" Bonaventure asked. He turned to his daughter. "Roxanne, what did you say?"

"She said that that little box of hers proved there were aliens and such," Mrs. Roth answered for her, tone climbing shrilly to a near scream.

"Did not," Roxanne said in a small voice, not looking up, not moving.

"What was that?" Campbell snapped. "What did you say?"

"I did not," Roxanne said in a slightly louder voice, her eyes still on the grain of the floor. "I said 'other worlds'; I never said 'aliens.'"

Roxanne's father sighed, and began to nod. "I think I see," Bonaventure said, his expression softening. "It's okay, dear," he added quietly, placing a gentle hand on his daughter's shoulder. He turned back to the pacing Campbell and fuming Roth, his look hardening.

"And when my daughter," he went on, looking from one to the other, "explained that the unexpected results of the double-slit experiment provided compelling evidence of the existence of other worlds, what exactly did you say to that, hmm?"

"Well, I ..." Mrs. Roth began, sputtering. She'd obviously hardly expected the father to share the daughter's madness. "I told her it was nonsense, of course. The other children had started asking me if it could possibly be true, and I naturally told them that it couldn't. What would you have said?"

"For starters?" Bonaventure answered, climbing to his feet. "I'd have said you were an ignorant cow."

"That's what I said," Roxanne said in a low voice, a slow smile creeping across her face.

"Mr. Campbell?" Mrs. Roth's expression was one of pure shock.

"Now look here, Bonaventure," Campbell said, stepping nearer Roxanne's father.

"No, Mr. Campbell. You look here! I'm sure that my Roxanne might not always be the best-behaved student in your blasted school, but I'm just as damned sure that she's not the worst. And so far as her mind goes, she's worth the rest of your school rolled together, and that's including the damned teachers. Now, she's not had it easy these last years, with her mother gone and only me to look after her, but it can't be helping matters at all that she comes here to be bullied by you lot every day. She exceeds the limited grasp of your students with every step, and when they attack her for it your staff doesn't help her; they jump right in with the attackers. It's shameful, and I won't have it."

Campbell bristled.

"Say what you like, Bonaventure, but we'll have order and discipline in this school."

"You can have what you damned well please, you ignorant bastard, but you won't be having my daughter." He turned his back on the headmaster and stalked over to his daughter. "Come on, Roxanne, we're getting out of here."

Roxanne, her heart stopped in her chest, climbed unsteadily to her feet on liquid knees. Her father stormed to the door, slammed it open, and then stood waiting to usher her through. Roxanne followed in a daze, but paused at the threshold to look back at the flabbergasted headmaster and teacher.

"You can keep my experiment," Roxanne said, in as even a tone as she could muster. "I've got a better one at home."

With that, Roxanne turned away and-her father at her side, his arm around her shoulder-walked out of the school forever.

* * *

That evening, in their little flat in the faculty housing just off the Oxford campus, Roxanne waited in her darkened bedroom while her father talked in hushed tones on the hallway phone. Roxanne felt as though she'd just immigrated to a new world of questions, leaving her old world of answers behind. What the future held was a baffling, frightening mystery.

She'd never liked the school; she had to admit that. But it was the only school she'd known. What else was there? Where else would she go?

Roxanne sat on her bed, knees up to her chest, eyes wide, waiting for her father to come and provide some answers.

She didn't have long to wait. The click of plastic on plastic as the handset fell back on its cradle, footsteps sounding on the thin and threadbare carpeted hall, and the rustle of her doorknob turning and her father was there, framed against the bare bulb light beyond.

"Roxie?" her father said to the darkness. "Are you awake?"

"Yes," Roxanne replied in a little voice.

Roxanne's father flicked on the overhead light, and sat down on the edge of her bed.

"I've just been talking with your Aunt Diana in America," he said, painting on a smile. "You remember how much fun you had when she and little Jon visited last Christmas."

"Uh-huh." Roxanne gave a reluctant nod.

"Well, she and I were talking about you, and how much fun you could have in America. There's this ace school that your cousin Jon attends in California that Diana thinks you'd just love."

"Uh-huh." Again, the reluctant nod.

"You see, that is ..." Roxanne's father left off, breaking eye contact. "Roxie, it wouldn't be easy to send you away, and you know that, but I just think that-"

"You're making me go away?" Roxanne's vision began to blur, her eyes pooling. Her voice quivered, no matter how much she tried to sound like a real grown-up.

"No, no, Roxie, it's not like that-"

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Roxanne leapt up and wrapped her arms around her father's neck. "I won't do it again, I promise, I'll be good."

Roxanne's father took her up in a strong embrace, unbreakable despite his spare form.

"Of course you'll be good, dear, you couldn't be anything else," he answered softly, stroking her blonde hair. "But this isn't about you. It's never been about you. This is about me, and what I can't give you."

"I don't ... I don't understand...."

"Roxie, I know it hasn't been easy for you, with only me here to raise you; and I've tried my best for you, but I just don't think that I'm doing right by you. Between my hours at the university, and my hours here working, I've not been giving you the attention you need, the attention you deserve. I'll always love you, poppet, and I'll always be here when you need me, but I think you need more than me now, if you're to be the woman I know you'll be."

"But ..." The tears fell now in earnest. "But I don't want to go. I want to stay."

"I know you do, I know." Roxanne's father hugged her closer. "And you can come and visit me whenever you like, and I'll come visit you whenever I can. But in America you'll have your Auntie Diana there to help you grow up into a woman, and a school where they'll nurture your talents and not just shove you down into a box, and you'll have children of your own caliber as friends. You like your cousin Jon, don't you?"

Roxanne nodded weakly, her tears dampening her father's shoulder.

"Listen, Roxie, it's all worked out. You're booked on a transatlantic flight to America next week, first to New York and then all the way to San Francisco, where your Aunt Diana and Uncle Jake will meet you at the airport. You'll stay with them for a few weeks until they work out your enrollment at Jon's school, and then you'll be living the life of Riley."

"Riley can have his life," Roxanne muttered, choking back tears. "I want mine."

"There, there, Roxie. You'll see. You'll love it."

Roxanne's father tucked her into bed with practiced hands. After he'd shut off the light, and just before closing shut the door, Roxanne stopped him with a still-cracking voice.

"Daddy?" she said. "Is it true?"

"Is what true, poppet?"

"About the other worlds-the experiment, I mean. That every time a little something-"

"A subatomic particle," her father corrected.

"That every time a particle is faced with a choice of two or more options, that it chooses them all, branching the world out into different worlds every time, one for each of the paths it could have taken?"

"Well, it's a theory that fits the known facts. And the most plausible explanation for the double-slit experiment, if you ask me." He began to shift subtly into a lecturing mode, as he frequently did. "Collapsing probability states is just madness, so far as I'm concerned, as is just blithely swallowing the wave-particle duality of subatomic particles. Only by accepting that the photons are interacting with their equivalents in branching and bifurcating worldlines can one really explain the interference patterns the experiment produces."

In the dim light, Roxanne nodded, her habitual response to her father's impromptu lectures, even in circumstances such as these.

"So," she went on, her tone grave, "with a really big number of worlds-"

"Approaching infinity," her father added, "and it's 'worldlines.'"

"-worldlines, then there is just a big number of different worlds, right? Where everything that could have happened at any time happened in one of them?"

"Yes, I suppose so." Her father nodded. "That's a valid reading."

"So, I guess," Roxanne went on, her voice growing quieter and more deliberate with every syllable, "that means there must be a world somewhere where my mother is still alive, and where we all three live together, happy families?"

Her father took a deep breath, and held it for a long time.

"Yes, Roxanne," he answered slowly. "I suppose there must be."

After standing in the doorway, looking in at her for a long moment, Roxanne's father closed the door, leaving her alone.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Here, There & Everywhere by CHRIS ROBERSON Copyright © 2005 by MonkeyBrain, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Interviews & Essays

Explorations Interview with Chris RobersonPaul Goat Allen: Chris, where did your inspiration for Here, There & Everywhere originate? I know it began as an exercise/publicity stunt for your writers' collective, but what initially drew you to time travel as a narrative device? Chris Roberson: As a reader, I've been obsessed with time-travel stories for as long as I'm able to remember. My earliest exposures to the subgenre were probably things like the 1978 made-for-TV movie The Time Machine, or DC Comics' Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes, but I fairly quickly discovered prose interpretations (I read and reread H. G. Wells's The Time Machine and was for a while obsessed with Poul Anderson's story "Flight to Forever," which was a conscious influence on one of the chapters in Here, There & Everywhere). My two passions are history and science, and time-travel stories offer the unique opportunity to explore both at the same time. Likewise, having a character who has the ability to travel not only to past times but also to worlds that might have been, allows for side trips into alternate history, which I've always seen as an invaluable tool for investigating history from novel and interesting directions. Roxanne Bonaventure's genesis actually dates back considerably before the online publicity stunt you mention, having her roots in a character I'd originally conceived as a player in a science fiction/superhero comic that never got off the ground. Bringing a time-hopping, somewhat jaded heroine into a story ranging across all time and space, packed to the rafters with all sorts of interesting historical trivia and mind-bending quantum physics, was simply too enticing a prospect to pass up.One element of the time-travel story I hadn't considered originally, though, was the psychological aspect. So many of us are often plagued by the question "What if?" -- but we wonder not what would have happened had the South won the Civil War or the Roman Empire had never fallen, but instead how our lives might have been changed if we'd made different choices at some point in our past, or if circumstances had been other than they were. Regrets that we can't get past, or old wounds that never seem to heal. Sometimes it's the death of a loved one, or a job we didn't take, or a relationship we didn't pursue. And in outlining the course of Roxanne's life, I found that these were really essential questions that anyone in her position would try to answer. So in among all the space-time exploration and hijinks, the character has to grapple with loss and regret.PGA: I sensed the influence of lot of authors while reading Here, There & Everywhere: Rudy Rucker, Jack Finney, Richard Matheson, Michael Moorcock.... Who were your favorite authors growing up? CR: I grew up on a steady diet of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, Philip José Farmer, and Michael Moorcock, supplemented with huge stacks of superhero comics (Superman, X-Men, and the aforementioned Legion of Super-Heroes being particular favorites -- all of which, interestingly enough, dealt with time-travel elements pretty frequently). My tastes were fairly catholic, even at a fairly early age, and ranged from historical nonfiction to science popularizations to media tie-in novels. In college, I was a typical liberal arts major -- briefly (but devoutly) a socialist -- reading a lot of John Barth, Umberto Eco, and Paco Ignacio Taibo III. In my mid-20s, finding myself unexpectedly single in San Francisco, full of angst and alcohol, I managed to keep busy and sane by studying the history of the genres I liked -- science fiction, fantasy, mystery -- going back to the earliest days and reading the key texts one after another. That was the first time I was able to make it all the way through Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the first time I read any Lovecraft or Dashiell Hammett. I got in the habit of trying to read at least one "classic" for every contemporary novel I read. As a result, even though I'm constantly expanding my knowledge of the genre, I often get a bit embarrassed to just now be reading a writer that, it often seems, everyone else has been reading forever. I was the one who didn't read any Fritz Leiber until his mid-20s, or any Philip K. Dick until he was almost 30. I'm now solidly in my mid-30s, and I only this last month read an Alfred Bester novel for the first time, and I'm still slapping myself in the forehead, wishing that I'd gotten on that particular bandwagon years ago. PGA: The novel's protagonist, Roxanne, visits a multitude of bizarre Earth timelines in her travels -- ones inhabited by sentient dinosaur men, winged humans, talking rats, etc. Personally, what would be your version of the perfect Earth? CR: Honestly? One where I have my own jet pack, where I have a super-intelligent monkey sidekick, and where 100 percent of the world's population is well fed, well clothed, literate, and enjoys reading my novels.PGA: You called Lou Anders, the editorial director at Pyr, a drinking companion, a valued friend, and, as an editor, "something closer to a patron." How instrumental has Lou Anders been to your career, and how vital are people like him to the well-being of the genre? CR: Well, there aren't that many people like him, these days, sadly. Lou is an editor in the same way that John W. Campbell was an editor, one who sees his job not merely to exercise his taste in picking what manuscripts to publish, but in seeing in each writer their potential and encouraging them to write the kind of books that he thinks they'd be best suited to write. Sharyn November, who heads the Firebird imprint at Viking, is another editor of this sort. In terms of my career, I honestly don't believe I would have a career at this point without Lou Anders. I would still be writing, had we never met, and may have still sold a few stories here and there; but the story that Lou purchased was my first professional sale (which went on to garner a Sidewise Award and a nomination for a World Fantasy Award), and he saw potential in Here, There & Everywhere that no one else did. I'm currently working on a sequence of alternate history stories called "Celestial Empire," which exists only because Lou encouraged me to expand on the story I'd contributed to his anthology Live Without a Net. I know of a number of other writers who have turned out award-winning and -nominated stories only because Lou encouraged them to pursue an idea. I think that genre needs more editors like Lou and Sharyn November, but if we only manage to have those two, I think we're the richer for it.PGA: You and your wife, Allison Baker, launched MonkeyBrain Books in 2003, a publishing company specializing in nonfiction genre studies. Recent releases include Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy by Michael Moorcock and Why Should I Cut Your Throat?: Excursions into the Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror by Jeff VanderMeer. What's the reaction been thus far to the imprint? And why are books like the ones listed above so important? CR: The reaction has been quite positive. One of the principal reasons we started out specializing in nonfiction was that there seemed to be a real lack of that sort of material in the marketplace. Our goal has been to do nonfiction genre studies that appeal both to academics and to the lay reader. Moorcock's book-length history of epic fantasy, written as it is by one of the grand masters of the subgenre, was critically out of print for nearly two decades by the time we released the updated and expanded edition in 2004. In the fall of 2005, MonkeyBrain will be expanding into original fiction, with the publication of the original anthology Adventure Vol. 1, but a sizable percentage of our frontlist will always be nonfiction. The kind of self-education I went through starting in my mid-20s, -- studying the history of genre by going back and reading the classics -- would, I think, be more difficult these days, when so many of those key texts have fallen out of print. Without surveys like Moorcock's and VanderMeer's books to act as road maps, it would be virtually impossible. And that's just their use to the reader. Their use to the aspiring writer is almost incalculable. I think that genre is at its best when it is self-aware. Which is not to say that all science fiction or fantasy need be postmodern or intertextual (which Here, There & Everywhere arguably is), or tongue-in-cheek and verging on satire, but that a writer who labors in genre fields and who doesn't have a firm grasp of the context in which they are working does so to their detriment. And, by extension, to the detriment of the work and to the readers. Science fiction is often visited by dilettantes, so-called "mainstream" writers who think they've come up with a genius idea that no one has ever done before. Because they lack a grounding in what has come before, the resulting novels often seem prosaic, naïve, or overly simplistic to the science fiction reader. (This is also seen quite often in science fiction films, as Hollywood has a tendency to "rediscover" tropes and themes that have been long mined by genre writers; one notable example is the spate of "reality is an illusion" films of the late '90, any one of which paled in comparison to Philip K. Dick's examinations of the same notion decades before.) The best science fiction, in my view, is done by those who are familiar with what has come before them but who chance upon a truly novel way to approach a traditional science fiction idea or theme. Examples like Kage Baker's Company novels, or John Meaney's Nulapeiron Sequence spring to mind. Really, it boils down to that old saw, "Those who do not remember history…" Nonfiction works -- whether Moorcock's Wizardry and Wild Romance or John Clute and Pete Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, or even Jess Nevins's Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (one of MonkeyBrain's forthcoming titles) -- are absolutely vital. If every generation were forced to rediscover the wheel, we'd never have gotten off the ground. PGA: What can fans of Chris Roberson plan on looking for next on the bookstore shelves? CR: There are fans of Chris Roberson? Wow. I had no idea. Well, this spring [2005] the first two novels in the Shark Boy and Lava Girl Adventures series I did with director Robert Rodriguez will be on shelves, and sometime early next year a novella entitled "The Voyage of Night Shining White" will be coming out from the British press PS Publishing. I'm particularly pleased, though, about Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, which will be coming out next spring from Pyr. It's a science fantasy in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but done as a rigorously rationalized "hard science fiction" novel, so that while there are Jaguar Men, and pterosaur-riding pirates, and talking trees, everything will have a scientific explanation.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Terrific time travel thriller

    In 1980 British physics Professor Bonaventure sends his brilliant daughter to attend a top school in California. As Roxanne struggles to adjust to no longer being the superstar, a flash of light followed by an elderly woman suddenly appearing startles the child. The woman seems near death, but gives Roxanne the Sofia bracelet placing it on the child¿s arm. The light flashes again and the woman is gone with blood stains on the grass and the Sofia on her arm as proof that she had been there. --- Roxanne begins to learn some of the properties of the Sofia when she travels back in time to the Victorian age and ultimately ancient Egypt. She soon finds that her devices also has the capability of taking her to alternate Earths populated by various other sentient species or just slight twists of ours like a twenty-first century retro on John, Paul, George and Pete. However, vertically back and forth through time and horizontally traversing space and dimensions leave Roxanne wondering about the device, the woman, and herself as she begins to feel alone though she meets all sorts of interesting people and creatures as she journeys the multiverse. --- Rather than ignore time paradoxes, Chris Roberson cleverly uses them to enhance the feeling that Roxanne and readers are in deed trekking the multiverse. The heroine is terrific as a courageous spirited protagonist who ventures into the unknown with daring fortitude, but becomes lonely as the vastness of time and space seems overwhelming with no one except to a minor degree her father to share what she sees. Roxanne¿s personality keeps the episodes fun as she undertakes one adventure after another boosted by humorous sidebars. This is a strong time travel thriller starring a wonderful lead character who the audience will want to be her companion. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    A Feast For Your Time-Travel Appetite

    Here, There and Everywhere isn't your typical time travel story. No, not by a long shot. Roxanne Bonaventure, with the aid of a mysterious device she calls 'the Sofia', travels backward and forward in time, visits parallel realities and chats with amazing and interesting people. Chris Roberson takes the well-worn premise of time-travel and quite litterally, turns it on it's ear. He has obviously done his homework on the subject. He structures the elements of theoretical time travel and uses them in a very real and dramatic way. This work really stretched the boundries of my understanding of the subject and yet it never reads like a text book although sometimes, the ideas take some time to wrap your brain around. Roxanne is a real, thinking, feeling, breathing human being. Her reactions to circumstances are authentically written and completely believable. She is fun and witty, sly and very intelligent. Though through all the myriad realities she visits, she finds herself more alone than before the Sofia came into her life. This element is the heart of the story. Her yearning for someone to share all this with is, at times, heartbreaking but never falls into melodramatic fluff. It's all very real. A 'What if...' in the best and truest sense. What I also enjoyed were the pop-culture references that Roberson sprinkles through the story. From H.G. Wells to the Beatles. Great fun. I found myself wishing for a very long rainy day to just sit and read, although I also found myself wanting to savor it while it lasted. Finally, after reading the last page of Here, There and Everywhere I found myself feeling as if I had just finished a sumptuous meal. Every course included new tastes and new textures. Every succulent morsel filling the tiniest corners. Roberson leaves no dangling plot points and his finale is like a glass of fine wine that finishes an incredible meal. One just sits back and says, 'Now, that was great'. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Take time to read Here, There & Everywhere

    In a blinding light 11 year old Roxanne life is forever changed by an old woman who is dying and gives her an amazing braclet. But this isn't just any braclet. This braclet allows Roxanne not just to travel through time but through alternative realities. Roxanne journey is a lonely one for there is a price for wearing the braclet. As she grows and learns how to use the braclet you will be taken on a journey that you will not soon forget. Mr Roberson doesn't bog us down with complicated explaination of how things work though he does do his homework on time travel and alternative realities(or should I say the theory of time travel and alternative realities). He is more concerned with Roxanne's growth and how the this bracelt effects her. Roxanne is a person I surely love to meet. She is smart, funny and above courious about everything. A few years ago I had the extreme pleasure reading(and meeting Chris) the self published version of this book by Mr. Roberson called i Any Time At All /i which was a great read. I have to say this expanded version was an even more of a pleasure to read. If you love time travel stories this book is for you. But this isn't the usual kind of time travel book. Chris Roberson writes an extemely wonderful tale of a person journey through life as she walks a solitary road though time. This is a book you should take time to read.

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