The Practice Effect
Copyright 1984 by
I first read this in 1986 and most recently on the 21st September 2002.
Physicist Dennis Nuel was assistant director at Sahara Tech. He worked on the original
development of zievatronics, an astounding technology capable to reaching into
the parallel worlds of the multiverse. He was ousted from this position when his old
mentor died and has spent the past six months on desultory AI research.
Now he's been offered his old department back, but there's a catch, of course.
The single zievatron machine is no longer working. A component on the far side, in the
parallel world to which the machine had connected, has failed. Dennis is the
only man for the job of fixing it, but he'll have to travel through the machine to the
other world first. Once there, he'll only be able to return if he can repair the
Dennis accepts the assignment, and travels to this parallel world. Once there he
realizes that the repair may not even be possible. There is something very different
about this new world, physical laws may be subtly different, and until he masters
the strange Practice Effect he'll have no hope of return.
This is a light-hearted romp as our hero applies his scientific skills to survive,
succeed, defeat the evil Baron and win the beautiful princess in an oddly-different
Brin had one interesting idea in this novel and drove it to its death, slamming in a
garbled, scientific mumbo-jumbo, non-explanation to tidy things up at the end. It's
absolute rubbish of course but I'm sure Brin had fun writing it and I certainly
chuckled my through my first reading of it. In particular I chuckled at the comment
near the end of the novel "Physics was a dead end by the year 2000".
Loaded on the 31st October 2002.