Offutt's Slipstream: Sci-fi, New Physics & Myth

I just read Michael Offutt's new sci-fi novel Slipstream and wanted to post a review here. This is the first in his series A Crisis of Two Worlds. As someone who's read many books on new physics, this subject is of interest to me, and Michael clearly understands the concepts. He also combines myth and fantasy. Rarely have I seen anyone take this all on, much less pull it off!

Jordan Pendragon is a multilayered guy. He’s handsome, an ace at ice hockey and math, but not as at ease with navigating the emotional realms of high school and at staying clean. When he learns that he’s being followed by a strange British man Kolin, and Jordan turns to chase him, Kolin leaves behind a watchband that Jordan soon learns is what’s called a Life Extractor. Jordan is in dire pain when he tries it on and the thing sucks green oil from his arm. Jordan learns later from Kolin that the band is called a Life Extractor, and Green Life is a hot commodity.

In a tense chase scene in a carnival, where Jordan is double-dating a friend of his sister’s and pretending to like her (and girls in general), he, his sister and Kolin get sucked in through a Slipstream, which he learns is a sort of black hole from which he can come and go.

This lands them in Avalon, a fascinating yet frightening place, an alternate earth of AIs and mega-cities and shiny skyscrapers that churn out Life Green and all manner of questionable digital playthings. Kolin reveals that it’s been prophesized that a boy from earth with the name of an old king (Jordan’s last name Pendragon is the name of an ancient king) would bring order to chaos. Jordan has just been tagged!

In an intriguing blend of myth and sci-fi, adventure the world of Avalon rolls out in breathless fashion! Offutt’s desire to square theoretical physics with spirituality is hugely ambitious and I applaud it. For one, an entity called The Shadow operates a supercomputer in an unknown location that has imprisoned The Light, and Kolin’s Master.

Without giving anything away, I can say that Jordan will find love in the mad action—in the form of Kolin. This serves to deepen his character, and let the reader in more. This world was so cinematic that I could easily see it made into an edge-of-the-seat sci-fi extravaganza!

Buy Slipstream at Amazon
Find Michael Offutt's blog and website here.