One moment, nature had laws and generally followed them, unenforced and unpoliced. One moment, everything was normal. The next, physics and mathematics were negotiable things, and the supposed laws that had always governed biology were shattered beyond all repair.
Seventeen year old Katharine and her fourteen year old sister, Susan, are almost close enough to one another when the incursion happens. Almost.
Now an adult, Susan works in “rift physics”, the world she knew as a child changed in ways her and other scientists are still trying to come to grips with. Katharine, meanwhile, is on the other side of the rift. Susan doesn’t even know if her sister is still alive. That side of the rift is where the monsters came from, after all.
“Sometimes you have to be inside a thing to understand it”
I preordered this book in May 2021 and may have accidentally burned the cover image into my brain since then. It had me expecting more monsters per page than I actually encountered but the monsters I met were well worth the anticipation.
I loved Katharine and Susan and the ways they looked after one another as kids. I loved the science and how easily I believed all of this was not only possible but potentially imminent.
Just in case this novella winds up in the non fiction section, it’s been really nice knowing you. No matter which side of the rift I end up on, it’s practically a certainty that I’m a goner. Maybe I’ll be too mesmerised by the impossible colours to notice the monsters. Maybe I’ll be too curious about the possibilities of the other side of the rift. Maybe I’ll irritate the wrong kid.
“Should I be alarmed?”
”It won’t change anything if you are, so I wouldn’t bother wasting the time if I were you.”
Bonus points for the delightfully appropriate chapter numbering and Susan’s Project title.
Now, if someone would please commission a companion novella written from Katharine’s point of view or a sequel, I’d be a really happy soon to be squished, melted or otherwise mangled rift casualty. And if that could happen some time in the next, oh, 130 days, that’d be awesome.
Heads up: the incursion happens on 16 May 2022. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
“This is a safety light!”
Once Upon a Blurb
We think we understand the laws of physics. We think reality is an immutable monolith, consistent from one end of the universe to the next. We think the square/cube law has actual relevance.
We think a lot of things. It was perhaps inevitable that some of them would turn out to be wrong.
When the great incursion occurred, no one was prepared. How could they have been? Of all the things physicists had predicted, “the fabric of reality might rip open and giant monsters could come pouring through” had not made the list. But somehow, on a fine morning in May, that was precisely what happened.
For sisters Susan and Katharine Black, the day of the incursion was the day they lost everything. Their home, their parents, their sense of normalcy … and each other, because when the rift opened, Susan was on one side and Katharine was on the other, and each sister was stranded in a separate form of reality. For Susan, it was science and study and the struggle to solve the mystery of the altered physics inside the zones transformed by the incursion. For Katharine, it was monsters and mayhem and the fight to stay alive in a world unlike the world of her birth.
The world has changed. The laws of physics have changed. The girls have changed. And the one universal truth of all states of changed matter is that nothing can be completely restored to what it was originally, no matter how much you might wish it could be.
Nothing goes back.