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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Practice Effect

Copyright 1984 by David Brin

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Awful (1/5)

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 failure.

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 medieval world.

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.
Cover of The Practice Effect
Cover art by Dave Dorma

Reviews of other works by David Brin:
The Postman
The Uplift Wars
Glory Season
Infinity's Shore
Heaven's Reach
Kiln People

Reviews of other works by David Brin and Gregory Benford:
Heart Of The Comet