Praise for Side Life
"A brain-teasing take on time travel and parallel universes."
—Barnes & Noble Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog
"Toutonghi makes the multiple-worlds theory come alive in this swift moving mind-bender with imperfect, emotionally unstable characters who struggle with the impact their choices have on reality. Readers will have to decipher what is real before they can figure out what is happening. Highly imaginative, highly recommended."
—Library Journal, Starred Review
"Toutonghi’s second novel explores ideas of consciousness and parallel universes in ways that are intellectually engaging. This exploration of parallel worlds is a thrilling thought exercise."
"The twists and turns of this novel will keep readers engaged while perhaps contemplating what they understand about reality and their ability to influence it."
"This novel poses many questions. Either way, enjoy the tale of a man who’s offered what many of us say we’d like to have: a chance to do it over again, and again, and again . . . until that final perfect life is reached."
—New York Journal of Books
"A time traveling puzzle for lovers of Triangle or the even weirder Primer."
“An incredible work of science fiction. Steve Toutonghi has managed to put a bold new spin on time travel and alternate realities while grounding his book in strong, believable characters. Side Life is original, thought-provoking, and just really freaking good.”
—Daniel Price, author of Slick and the Silvers series
“Like Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Toutonghi manages to break and repair your brain while telling an intensely human story. Challenging and satisfying in equal measure.”
—Sean Ferrell, author of Man in the Empty Suit and Numb
“If you were in a secret computer lab and discovered a trio of large caskets, would you climb into one of them just to see what might happen? If so, you should apply for a grant right away and join our friend, Vin, in his research. But you might not want to discover the truth about the missing man in the Seattle tech mansion or anything else involved in your house-sitting-job cum mystery, after all. Just sayin’. Poet and Seattle techie, Steve Toutonghi, here gifts us with a book to blow our minds and keep us up at night. Wow, what a ride!”
—Linda B., Auntie's Bookstore
Praise for Steve Toutonghi’s Join
“[Toutonghi] combines smart, imaginative extrapolation about technology and a deep curiosity about civilization and the human condition. Along the way, he brings up head-spinning questions about individuality, society, ecology, euthanasia, aging, death, immortality, tech industry politics, class, polyamory, and gender identity . . . chilling.”
“Join is a conceptual powerhouse, tapping into the core of our contemporary debates about technology.”
“Join is a searing, ballistic plunge into the mysteries of identity and mortality. Its ingenious core is revealed and amplified by high voltage suspense and murder. Delicious.”
—Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love
“Challenging, surprising, shocking, and enlightening. Steve Toutonghi's Join stands alongside Ancillary Justice as a novel that forces us to ask impossible questions about identity and immortality. An exciting addition to 21st century science fiction.”
—Robert Repino, author of Mort(e)
“From the first page, Toutonghi launches us into a strange and fascinating new world, exploring ideas with nuance and verve. Strikingly original and deeply imaginative.”
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Toutonghi’s second novel (after Join) explores ideas of consciousness and parallel universes in ways that are intellectually engaging but emotionally detached. After Vin is ousted as CEO of the Seattle technology company he created, his father arranges for him to house-sit for enigmatic and reclusive genius Nerdean. The mystery of where Nerdean has gone and what she’s doing rivets Vin. When he uncovers a lab in the house’s sub-basement, he can’t resist entering one of the three coffinlike “crèches” he finds there. At first he thinks the crèche induces lucid dreaming, but when he climbs back out to find the world around him subtly changed, he realizes Nerdean’s experiments have far-reaching consequences. He repeatedly jumps into the minds of others, controlling their actions in ethically questionable ways, and takes unabashed advantage of his reemergence into parallel worlds that suit him better than the one he originated in. Vin’s self-centered behavior and attitude raise moral questions that often remain unanswered by the narrative. Other characters—including a cat Vin callously stops feeding at one point—serve primarily as props on his philosophical journey. This exploration of parallel worlds is a thrilling thought exercise, but Toutonghi’s vision of the near future is alarmingly sapped of empathy. Agent: David Forrer, InkWell Management. (May)
Vin's life is not where he expected it to be. He has been ousted from the tech company he created, his best friend is a drug addict, and his actions are becoming increasingly self-destructive. Rudderless, Vin reluctantly agrees to house-sit a beautiful mansion that sits high on one of Seattle's many hills. With no indication of when its reclusive owner Nerdean will return, Vin explores the nearly empty home and discovers a hidden basement lab, complete with computers, notebooks, and three coffin-like tanks, one occupied by a woman in suspended animation. After quickly deciphering Nerdean's notes, Vin climbs into an open crèche and awakens to find himself sharing the body of Winston Churchill. As strange as sharing the body of a now-deceased person is, Vin's larger shock comes when he returns to discover his world has shifted slightly: his best friend is dead, and his childhood love is alive and sitting in his kitchen. Has Vin finally gone crazy, or is there more to the crèche than lucid dreaming? VERDICT Toutonghi (Join) makes the multiple-worlds theory come alive in this swift moving mind-bender with imperfect, emotionally unstable characters who struggle with the impact their choices have on reality. Readers will have to decipher what is real before they can figure out what is happening. Highly imaginative, highly recommended.—Jennifer Beach, Longwood Univ. Lib., Farmville, VA