Regarding Ducks and Universes, by Neve Maslakovic

How could I not read this book, with a title and cover like that? Impossible.

It also helps that the book is a bit of a sci-fi romp, a biiiiit like Shades of Grey or The Android’s Dream with the science and the touch of satire and the all-around amusement the author obviously has with his/her own book. I’m a fan.

The fun science here is a bit baffling, but once your head gets around it it’s pretty cool. Basically, in the late-ish 1980s of an alternate history (I mean, already alternate before this crazy thing happened), there was a Mad Scientist type who managed to split off the universe into a Universe A and a Universe B that share a timeline and population up to said split, but then anything that happens after the split is one-universe-only. So if this split happened tomorrow, there would be a You A and a You B who are exactly alike tomorrow, but in thirty years maybe one of you is a movie star and the other is not, or one of you lives in Iceland and the other in California, whatever. Awesomely, the Mad Scientist (I think, it could have been someone else) also invented a transporter thing that allows for people from the two universes to travel between them, provided they don’t go seeking out their alters (i.e. You A seeking out You B) without permission from said alters.

Are you confused now? Good!

Because of this crazy science, the book is pretty exposition-heavy at the beginning, which is slightly annoying. But then you start getting into the plot part, and that’s pretty darn interesting too. Here we have a Felix Sayers (who totally wishes he were related to Dorothy) off to visit Universe B ostensibly for funsies, but actually because he’s just found out that he’s really Felix A and that his parents lied about his birthdate for some unknown reason. He’d like to figure out why the lying, of course, but he’d also like to make sure that Felix B hasn’t gone and written the mystery novel that Felix A has been meaning to get around to, someday, you know, maybe. Things only get stranger when two competing research teams start following Felix A around and he finds out that he might already be a bit more important to history than he ever hoped to be.

I had a lot of fun with this book. There’s confusing science, of course, but there’s also a healthy dose of vintage mysteries with Sayers and Christie, and some social commentary on environmentalism and social media and e-books that is amusing in small doses, though Maslakovic goes a little too far every once in a while. But! Anyway! Otherwise delightful. Also, there are fun side stories including some corporate espionage, violations of the Lunch-Place Rule, and illness by almost-dog. You know, normal stuff.

“There is something to be said about being unreachable, especially when you are trying to avoid being prodded by your boss to engage in regulation-breaking activities of the sourdough kind.”

Recommendation: For fans of the sci-fi romp, Agatha Christie, and sourdough bread.

Rating: 9/10
A to Z Challenge

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4 thoughts on “Regarding Ducks and Universes, by Neve Maslakovic

  1. Deborah says:

    Sounds like my kind of book! I am going to add this to my ever-growing tbr list. Not a huge Christie fan, but I think the sci-fi romp will win me over. 🙂

  2. Cari says:

    I have to read this! I ordered it for TPL because I liked the premise.

    I'm writing a short story now with an alternate universe plot line. Maybe I should have you read it to make sure it makes sense.

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