Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The residents of Two Rivers, Mich., wake up one morning to find themselves in a changed world. The entire town and the top-secret government research facility that was located near it have been blasted into a parallel world. Their own history has been erased and they are faced instead with a repressive government controlled by a powerful church that professes a version of Gnostic Christianity. The governing Proctors plunder the town for information, gaining the knowledge to build an atomic bomb; to prevent the contagion of ideas, Two Rivers is designated as the first test site. A few residents--history teacher Dex Graham, physicist Howard Poole, along with Linneth Stone, a cultural researcher sent from the outside to study these ``aliens''--slowly piece together the events that brought them to this strange universe and begin to fight against the forces that now control them. The solution lies in a mysterious fragment found in a Middle Eastern desert that turns out to be part of a ``wormhole boat,'' a device for traveling between parallel worlds that physicist Alan Stern came upon and piloted as he took the town of Two Rivers with him into a world that echoed his own obsessions. Wilson ( The Harvest ) blends science, religion, philosophy and alternate history into an intelligent, compelling work of fiction. (Apr.)
An alien artifact transports the small town of Two Rivers, Michigan, to an alternate universe, where political repression is the order of the day and survival an ever-growing concern. The latest novel by the author of The Harvest ( LJ 11/15/92) and The Bridge of Years ( LJ 8/91) offers a study in culture shock as simple people find their values and their future irrevocably redefined. Wilson is a graceful storyteller who relies on the power of his characters to convey the underlying messages of his tale. This belongs in most libraries.
The plot here may recall vintage "Twilight Zone" fare, but, as masterfully rendered by veteran sf stylist Wilson, unfolds as ingenious and gripping suspense. After an anomalous UFO fragment is bombarded with radiation at a secluded government facility in Two Rivers, Michigan, the townspeople awaken the next morning to find themselves and their entire village miraculously transported to an unfamiliar, forested landscape. Within days their new neighbors' disposition becomes starkly apparent as tanks roll in to establish martial law and mark the townspeople as citizens (or prisoners) of a twisted 1940s-era America in which a theocratic French-English government is at war with Spain. Hoping to penetrate the mystery of the displacement, local scientist Howard Poole traces responsibility to his Nobel Prize-winning uncle, a senior researcher at the now unapproachable government laboratory, while the military gleans valuable information from the town library--information that will ultimately allow it to destroy Two Rivers with the country's first nuclear bomb. Wilson echoes the best of Orwell and Huxley in creating an atmosphere of brooding tyranny, meanwhile displaying an uncommon gift for combining keen insight into human behavior with original scientific speculation.