Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to help him survive are his wits, a few small gadgets, and the people he can take with him, so long as they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep.
But someone unwelcome is on Zax's tail, and they are after something he cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, and the power to travel between worlds...
“Pratt’s high-tech universe of tangled alien half-truths and hidden motivations provides a fascinating setting for a gripping series that has plenty of room for future surprises.”
– Publishers Weekly, on The Forbidden Stars
"Tim Pratt has created a space opera for today–one filled with diverse characters and cultures that feel nuanced enough to be real."
– B&N Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog, on The Wrong Stars
“Tim Pratt is in the vanguard of the next generation of master American fantasists.”
– Jay Lake, John W Campbell Award-winning author of Into the Gardens of Sweet Night
“Tim Pratt lures you in with his writing style and penchant for the dramatic and dangerous.”
– British Fantasy Society
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 50 members
Some time ago, I read quite a bad book with a main character named something similar to Zax, which is what this book's main character is called by his friends. Not only that, but the author's first name was not too dissimilar to Zaxony. And the premise was that whenever the protagonist fell asleep, he shifted into another universe. So I wondered, when I picked this one up (having been fortunate enough to be invited to review it by the publisher, via Netgalley), whether it was prompted by the author reading that same book I read and, in frustration, deciding to write a better one. Nothing else about the books is remotely similar, so it may be complete coincidence. But the most important difference is that this is really good. I've talked in other reviews about how there are two versions of Tim Pratt. The "dark" Pratt writes gruelling stories about nasty people having a bad time, often because of what they do to each other; the "bright" Pratt writes hopeful stories about good people overcoming the evil of others, often by generosity and self-sacrifice. This book, happily, is by the "bright" Pratt. The main character, Zax, is an early-career harmonizer, a kind of social worker who helps individuals and groups find ways to get along. Through mysterious events (they get a bit less mysterious in the course of the book, but are never fully explained), he begins to shift universes every time he goes to sleep. He's able to take someone with him if they're both asleep and in close contact, and, in a probable salute to Doctor Who, he has a series of companions, some of whom leave him when they get to a place they want to stay. One of them, however, the Lector (the chief administrator of a university and a talented scientist) betrays him and tries to take the secret of his universe-shifting by violence. The story opens some time after his experience with the Lector, which is later told in flashback. He's travelling from universe to universe, and they're diverse and sometimes dangerous and sometimes extremely beautiful. The societies he encounters range from utopian to dystopian, and some are both depending who you are. He soon rescues a new companion, Minna, who's talented with genetic manipulation - just how talented he doesn't realize until later - and an indentured servant of remote and cruel overlords. And then the Lector catches up with him, and reveals his plan to create a multi-universal empire, and Zax, Minna, and an AI they've picked up along the way called Vicki must find a way to thwart him. The story puts Zax's training and ideals as a harmonizer directly into conflict with the Lector's as a conqueror and organizer, raising important questions about self-determination, civilization, and what is good. It's well handled, for the most part, and thought-provoking, and doesn't come to set conclusions about political structure, though it does have some things to say about attitudes and general approaches to relations between people and groups. There are one or two moments when satire is applied with too heavy a hand, as when Zax visits a world where everyone has retreated to (literal) bubbles in which they can be with only the people who "share their exact values and biases", this being a ploy to end a civil war. The bubble he arrives in contains people who drink craft beer, ride electric scooters, have elaborate facial hair, believe in respect and kindness... and spend a lot of time using small electronic devices made in another bubble where people believe in child labour. I thought that was a bit on the nose. But that's an aberration in a story that's usually a lot smoother and more subtle, and the varied worlds are imaginative and interesting, reminding me irresistibly of Roger Zelazny's Amber and Corwin's trips through Shadow. It could, in fact, have easily become a series of vignettes, which would probably still have been entertaining, but the overarching story with the Lector as antagonist adds tension and weight. I did also question the moment when a beautiful woman who Zax had met, spent a couple of days having sex with, and then lost was described as his "true love," though, to be fair, it wasn't Zax who used that phrase. The ending suggests that we might be in for a series, and if so, I'm very happy and will follow the series eagerly. This book has no trouble making it to my Best of 2020 list.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher, Angry Robot, for kindly providing a review copy of this book. "Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree" by Hugo award winning author Tim Pratt is an adventurous tale of what might happen if an ordinary person suddenly develops the ability (or perhaps the handicap?) of mysteriously shifting into an alternate reality each time they fall asleep. In some ways the concept is similar to TV shows such as Sliders or before that Otherworld. Whatever the mechanism, in each episode or chapter, the characters find themselves in a scenario that may be familiar, totally alien, relaxing, deadly, interesting, boring, etc. In each of these works, the characters struggle to survive, even flourish, understand and hopefully control their situation, and hopefully even do some good. Early in the novel "Doors of Sleep" both Zax, the main character, and perhaps the reader become a bit ungrounded as everything changes rather frequently. However, fortunately for both Zax and the reader, an overall story arc presents itself with sufficient reoccurring characters and goals that make this novel hard to put down. Additionally, Pratt's first person journal style writing pulls the reader into the world and life of the characters, even if they happen to spin around wildly. This was definitely an enjoyable book to read. Readers that enjoy SF with multiple new worlds, ongoing challenges, characters that develop, and a cool mixture of both high tech and biotech will surely enjoy this book.
There are times I wish I could to other universes just to run from this one. I think most people feels this way sometimes. Zax is someone who actually can. He didn't choose this but he has no choice. Every time he falls asleep he travels to another universe. He can prolong his stay with stimulants but eventually he falls asleep. But he can take people and stuff with him if he hold the person in his arms. The person he holds must be unconscious because if not, it has consequences, the person goes mad. Why? Sorry, you have to read Doors of Sleep to get an answer. Zax believes he is the only one with this ability, or curse depending on who you ask. There is someone else out there, someone after Jax, someone who wants Zax blood because it is his blood that enables him to travel between worlds. I liked Zax almost immediately. He is a little naive but he kind-hearted and honest, a really good person. He sees the best in people even if the person in question is one of the most narcissistic and evil person in the whole multiverse. Meet the Lector. He is the smartest man in the multiverse, really. He is ambitious, incredibly clever and feels no remorse. He says he is sorry from time to time but those seem empty worlds because he is just too selfish. Minna is the other main character, a positive one. She is fierce, loyal and kind, a real good friend to Zax. The world-building is absolutely amazing. Jax races through hundreds of world and sometimes we only get glimpses of them. I loved these other universes, these other worlds, some are wonderful, some are horrific. I wish Pratt showed us Zax's homeworld. I will read the next book in the series and I highly recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for my copy.
Doors of Sleep is a fascinating novel that really explores the imagination of author Tim Pratt as his protagonist wakes up on a new world every time he falls asleep. His descriptions are wonderful, with each planet feeling vibrant and unique. Pratt uses an interesting voice in his writing, with each character feeling authentic to the world that shaped their beginning. While possibly not everyone's cup of tea, nor groundbreaking in its ideas, Doors of Sleep was a quick and pleasant stand-alone read that left me feeling good.
This is a great sci fi story, really imaginative, with some great lessons thrown in. Admittedly, one of the major lessons is "If you're hurtling helplessly through the multiverse, find a created plant person to bring along because she'll be really useful" but who knows when we'll need to know that! I loved the varied civilisations Zax meets on his travels: some real thought has gone into them, even the ones that we skip past very quickly. These aren't cookie cutter planets, they're distinct and interesting. A whole novel spent on any of them - except maybe that first one, and the first one he's drunk on - would be fantastic in and of itself. I know I kind of made fun of Minna above, but I really did like her; she was clever and funny. There's a touch of Dr Who in this book's DNA, and I liked it. Although the story starts in the middle, it doesn't fall prey to my least favourite trope - No One Talks About What's Going On - because it's presented as a journal and Zax constantly ruminates on his circumstances, so even though you don't know what's happening immediately - unless you've read the blurb - it quickly becomes clear, and the rules are easy to follow. However, I did think that the final cliffhanger came out of absolutely nowhere, wasn't signposted, and seemed like it was just there to be there. Overall? A lot of fun, really clever, and definitely one I recommend.
At one time, Ursula Le Guin posited a story where a man would fall asleep and the world would change every time he dreamed. He didn't like that. He tried to avoid dreaming until an evil psychiatrist started controlling his dreams. The point is the world changed every time he slept. For Dr. Who and his amazing TARDIS, the universe changed every time he closed the callbox door and you never knew where he would end up except you knew he would be chased by Daleks. In other stories, people race through time to prevent some evil one from taking over the time continuum. Doors of Sleep follows in the wake of all of these ideas with a story of a man, Zax, who falls asleeps and wakes in a different universe each time he falls asleep and wakes up. It is a masterpiece of endless creativity with thousands of worlds each experienced somewhat briefly. And, the author, Tim Pratt takes this to extremes and offers literally thousands of worlds. Of course, no matter what Zax does he does not wake up in walls, under the ocean, in the belly of a whale, or so forth. But, of course, he must come up with solutions in the form of pharmacological pills to instantly put him to sleep should a raging sabertooth charge at him. Zax has two erstwhile companions, consisting of a plant creature and a jewel containing an artificial intelligence. And its a good thing he has companions because Dr. Evil (the Lector) is on his tail chasing him across the multi-universes, hungering for that magic blood so that the Lector can build armies of inter-universe beings who will conquer all universes. And chase they do since apparently the gates only work in one direction and they both end up in the same spots. This gives us the conflict and the tension that is not necessarily apparent with the quick stops in the multiverses. Doors of Sleep is a fun and engaging romp through the multiverse, most enjoyable as the endless creativity of Pratt's brain is shown off with all manner of creatures on all manner of worlds.
Zax has a very particular ability. Whenever he falls asleep he then wakes up in a different universe. Every. Single. Time. You think that's awesome, right? Well, sometimes it is, sometimes it downright sucks not to be able to stay in the same place for more than a couple of days at most. This is an amazing novel that will make you want to read it in one sitting. The action is almost constant. Tim Pratt has managed to create such a vast world full of detail and interesting and diverse characters. And oh the plot twists... You never expect any of them. It's science fiction with a shot of fantasy at its best. I just can't get over how awesome this book was. Each character and universe were different and well described. The characters abilities and limitations are perfectly explained. I hope we get more adventures of Zax and his team in the future! Thank you so much @netgalley @tim.pratt and @angryrobotbooks for this ARC!
Doors of Sleep is the type of story that is right in my wheelhouse. It has a lot of elements I love: doors to magical worlds, time travel (of a sort), faerie creatures (of a sort), AI, interesting characters, and a really neat concept. I especially enjoyed the chapter headings which give little clues as to what is about to happen, as well as the shifting points of few that take place a few times in the narrative. There's a lot to like here, and I liked all of it. Another winner from Tim Pratt. Highly recommended!
Book Review: Doors of Sleep - Journals of Zaxony Delatree Author: Tim Pratt Publisher: Angry Robot Publication Date: January 12, 2021 Review Date: November 26, 2020 From the blurb: “Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to help him survive are his wits, a few small gadgets, and the people he can take with him, so long as they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on Zax's tail, and they are after something he cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, and the power to travel between worlds...” ——— Wow! What an unexpectedly fantastic speculative fiction book. I had never read anything by Tim Pratt before. Now I have a new favorite author. I see that he has many books published, so I look forward to reading more of his writing. This was just incredibly creative. The story concept was creative, and the descriptions of all the worlds Zax slides through are so creative. The characters of Zax and his companions were so fully drawn, as well as the antagonist, The Lecter. I see that Tim has published many books on NetGalley so I will be on the lookout for more of his books in the future. This was one of the best books I’ve read via NetGalley in some time. I’m so grateful to have found another author, new to me. I give this book 5 stars, and highly recommend reading it. Thank you to Angry Robot for giving me access to this book and best of luck to Tim Pratt with his literary career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon. #netgalley #doorsofsleep #zaxonydelatree #angryrobot #timpratt
The possible existence of a multiverse, an infinite string of worlds in which life is the same, but very much not too, in its expression, is, for many people, an entirely alluring idea. To think that out there somewhere exist endless possibilities for life, a great many of which bear no resemblance to our own reality, is appealing in a world where everything seems perpetually, drably the same. For Jaxony Delatree, a man condemned to travel to a new world every time he falls asleep or becomes unconscious, the multiverse is, however, a curse of sorts, each journey, as documented in Tim Pratt’s Doors of Sleep, one life-altering further step away from his home, his family and friends and any sense of reassuring permanence. His peripatetic existence is not of his choosing either, the result of meeting a woman in his professional capacity as a social worker who is there one minute and gone, quite mysteriously, the next. Any idea that the multiverse is a gloriously unexpected kaleidoscope of the new and the exciting and different has long ceased to hold any appeal after three years and over 1000 worlds, and while there are moments of quiet reverie and the thrill of discovery can still make its sizeable presence felt, the reality is that Jaxony aka Jax, whose companions are usually fleeting and too easily distracted or lost, often feels lost, alone and very far from home in the gorgeously-named, though poetically-authoritarian, Realm of Spheres and Harmonies. When we meet Jax, who has become a consummate survivor who can find food and water anywhere, who has been given a beneficial virus by someone which acts as a universal translator for him, and who knows his ways around the stimulants and sedatives necessary to extend his presence in or hasten his departure from a particular world, he is a man beleaguered, someone who tries to find the small joys where he can but who is also rapidly running out of any sense that his is a good and charmed existence. Then he meets Minna and later Vicki (or Vastcool Class Crystal Intellect Three Three Three), whose exact nature is best left to the reading but whose presence in Jax’s life provides the emotional anchor he has long craved and so desperately needed, and who become even more critically important when a Big Bad turns up, one of Jax’s old companions, and embarks on a comprehensively evil plan to mould the multiverse to his own hideously authoritarian design. While the existence of a nemesis does give the narrative some extra impelling grunt, the truth of the matter is that exciting though it is, not simply because of the action it generates but the great moral quandaries it throws up, Doors of Sleep gets along quite beautifully without it too. That’s because this vibrantly emotive novel is, at heart, an exploration of humanity, primarily the good – Jax is a kind and decent man who doesn’t fold into himself, tempting though that might be, but does what he can to help others such as free a race of fabricated beings from dependence on long-departed masters – and occasionally the bad, and how even when life seems perpetually, gloriously wondrous, that we still need a connection to other people or life soon feels empty and hollow, no matter how exotic the locale. Told through Jax’s eloquently insightful diary entries, Doors of Sleep is a gently told story of one man finding himself very alone, and then surprisingly not, and how he discovers that worlds he now inhabits one after the sleep-inducing other, might be part of something far bigger and greater. It is also fantastically, enthrallingly imaginative in a way that excites and delights you as you wonder how one author can come up with so many dizzyingly different possibilities for the expression of life. Jax goes from worlds where cloud forests provide a meditative place to rest and recoup (or mourn, as needs be), where gentle giants roam and where bird-headed people live lives of quiet luxurious perfection or where bucolic paradise holds sway (though with a darker, hidden truth behind it.) He also comes across worlds of ruin clad in colonising crystal, others subsumed beneath life-stopping ice or one where mechanical spiders have taken all life and reduced it to an extinct nothing. These cited worlds are but a small selection of the utterly beguiling array of places that Pratt takes you to, locales rich in sustaining possibility, others lost to the predations of death and hope long extinguished. Pratt brings these worlds alive so fully and completely, sometimes, masterfully, in just a paragraph or two, that he infuses Doors of Sleep with the feeling of a glittering, astonishing travelogue, reminding us that even though Jax is largely inured to the riotous differences he witnesses – but importantly, not completely, meaning the sense of wonder has not wholly departed him – that they are profoundly, fantastically fascinating. And the perfect setting too for a battle between good and evil, which, it will not surprise you to learn may take different forms on different worlds but which is, very much alike in its capacity to either uplift and nourish, or enslave and destroy. Doors of Sleep is many good and wondrous things – it is exquisitely well-written with a perfect balance between raw humanity and spine-tingling action, imaginative beyond belief, offering up worlds so uniquely not of our own that you can’t help but get lost in them (just don’t get too far from Jax; you’ll find out why) and proof that the multiverse is an amazingly diverse place to tell an enrapturing, multi-layered and emotionally resonant story. But most of all, and this is what will grab your heart and soul very quickly, it is winningly, insightfully and relatably human, a novel which knows its way around a thrilling narrative but never forgets that even the most exciting stories need richly-expressed humanity at their core and are all the poorer for its absence. Doors of Sleep has humanity and thoughtful musing on the human condition in bountiful abundance, and while Jax may visit world upon brilliantly or alarmingly different world, this is never lost sight of, with the need for connection and relationship always paramount, proving that no matter where you end up, you always need to feel that you matter, to yourself, and just as importantly, to others.
Do you like Dictor Who? If so, you will ,like this book. After reading the synopsis, I thougt."Ok,maybe.." But I was hooked from the beginning. Give the book a chance and you'll be glad you did. For sci fi fans and some good world building.
Every time Zax falls asleep he wakes up in a different world. This is exciting but also poses several problems. Fortunately for Zax he picks up a cohort along the way. Unfortunately for Zax someone is chasing him through these worlds in an effort to unlock the secret to his ability by any means necessary. I really enjoyed this story. Pratt does an excellent job at beautifully illustrating so many worlds with creatures, cultures, landscapes, and dangers. This was easily my favorite part of the book. Pratt shows the reader just a glimpse of each world but my mind want an entire story on each of these worlds. This was truly an imaginative story. Pratt breathes life into his characters. I found myself easily cheering for Zax and Minna. He also makes the antagonist seem quite human-like with his goals and ambitions. It would be easy to have paper thin characters in a story that focuses more on the environment than anything else but that simply isn't the case here. I can't say I've ever read another book like this one and I'm excited because the ending sets up a potential sequel perfectly. My fingers are definitely crossed that this happens.
This one felt a little like Doctor Who, but the Doctor has no control over where the Tardis takes them. Well written with dashes of just about everything.
When Zaxony Delatree - Zax - falls asleep, he wakes up in another universe. For three years he's traversed the multiverse, occasionally taking on a companion, but most of them eventually find a world to stay in while Zax has no choice but to keep travelling. Sometimes he feels good helping them find better lives, and sometimes it breaks his heart. And once it was a narrow escape, as said companion was keen on vivisection... There's a lot to like in this book. It takes its time flitting between different realities, giving little slivers of world building - appropriately, though, as even with stimulants Zax can only stay awake so long and doesn't get to experience much of any world. We do, however, get more information about his new companion, giving a sense of continuity that might otherwise be lacking in the tale and lessening the sense of crushing loneliness Zax faces others. Timely? After some pleasant meandering, the threat that drives the rest of the plot is introduced and speeds the rest of the story along. If I had any complaints it's that there isn't as much meat to the story as there could be, and the world building is by its nature fleeting and brief, but then, the very nature of the set up gives little choice. I was a little more 'hmm' about the slight inconsistencies in the decisions about when to sleep/escape from any given reality - a little more grounding would have helped my suspension of disbelief. I found Doors of Sleep a relatively light and pleasantly diverting read. That GoodRead gives it a series name makes me think there might be more adventures for Zax - and I'll gladly check those out when they arrive!
Doors of Sleep is the latest book by author Tim Pratt, whose work I've previously enjoyed quite a bit (see his "The Axiom" trilogy or his most recent tie-in The Fractured Void). Those novels were all fun space operas featuring fun casts of misfit characters having enjoyable relationships, quirks and smart interactions with dangerous enemies, and for the most part I really liked the results, even if none of the books were truly tremendous enough to fall into my "must read" category. Doors of Sleep is the start of a new series which isn't quite space opera, so I was curious to see how it would read compared to those others. And Doors of Sleep is very fun and entertaining, which reminds me of a number of other stories, from Marie Brennan's Memoirs of Lady Trent in writing style to well, Doctor Who, in that it features a man traveling through different worlds accompanied by occasionally changing companions and trying to do good on as many of those worlds as he can. And yet it's not Doctor Who, in that our protagonist is not some mad genius but just a well meaning accidental traveler, who is far more human and thus breakable than that show's classic hero. The result, aided by Pratt's solid entertaining writing, is a rather fun (although not comedic unlike his other works) and well done novel that ends on a satisfying point while promising more to come. -----------------------------------------------------Plot Summary------------------------------------------------------ Zax Delatree has seen hundreds of worlds since that fateful day years ago, when he went to sleep one night and woke up not in his own home...but in a whole other world entirely. Since that date Zax has learned his curse: whenever he falls unconscious, be it through sleep or some other method, he will leave his present world and wake up in a whole new one, elsewhere in the multiverse...and never the same world twice. Some worlds are happy good ones, especially for humans, whereas others are harsh and unforgiving, where Zax would be lucky to survive, nevertheless enjoy himself. The only thing Zax has been able to take with him between worlds are the things that are attached to him, as well as any individual he might be holding onto when he falls asleep. Zax has had a few companions over this time - people who have chosen to leave their own worlds and be carried by him to others. Some have left voluntarily, happy with where they ended up, whereas others have not, and Zax grieves for their loss. All but for one, the scientist known as the Lector, who at first seemed to provide Zax with the most help possible, before betraying Zax for the sake of his own ambition. But just as Zax beings to enjoy himself again with a new companion, he is surprised to discover that the Lector has found a way to follow him between worlds, and is seeking not just revenge, but Zax's very being for his own evil purposes..... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As I mentioned before the jump, in a way Doors of Sleep reminds me of both Marie Brennan's "The Memoirs of Lady Trent" and Doctor Who. Like the Lady Trent books, the story is told from the perspective of a journal written down slightly after the fact by Zax, with each entry/chapter headed by quick descriptions of what will happen in that entry/chapter, and like Lady Trent, Zax has learned to write in an observational tone as to what is going on, even if he's not quite as much a scientist as his companions/former companions. And Like Doctor Who, Zax not only travels to many different worlds and tries to help where he can, but he takes along companions for company and assistance in such work. Which is not to call Doors of Sleep any more derivative than the usual book these days, as Pratt manages to make this book definitely its own thing. Take Zax for example, who may pine for his old home and for some chance someday to go back, and yet remains good hearted pretty much throughout his experiences, no matter how bad (although he has moments of utter despair, they never can drive him to do evil). Some of Zax's companions have apparently been unable to do the same, seeing the fact that Zax can never stay in a single place and thus can never do more than just a little good - and that there is no end to it - to be exhausting, but for Zax these are core parts of him that he never forgets. But Zax isn't some genius or technologically super advanced person - his world was well off, but nothing super special, and thus its only through his experiences and the assistance of his companions, who wind up being far more capable than he himself, that he's able to accomplish what he has. This makes Zax just so incredibly likable, and his companions in this book, whose identities I won't spoil, form such great complements to him in both ability and temperament - they're more willing to compromise themselves ethically than Zax, but they love him for his attitude and don't think him naive, just principled. The comradery makes for great reading, especially against the threat posed by both the major antagonists and minor ones they may find on individual worlds. The result is a plot that may not be as humorous, or at all as romantic, as some of Pratt's other works, but is still tremendous fun and enjoyable to read from beginning to end. And since this book is kind of short, it never outstays its welcome either. And while the book does contain a satisfyingly ending (to go along with some surprising plot twists), it also contains a pretty strong sequel hook for future books in this series to follow up on, although that sequel hook does sound a lot like what he did with the Axiom trilogy. Again there's nothing here that's really must read - it's not tremendously funny like the Axiom sometimes was, and the characters aren't mindblowingly good (nor is there any significant message/theme here), but it's a book that's done really well in pretty much all facets and is very enjoyable as a result. I'll be back for book 2 for sure.
Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he wakes up somewhere new. Slipping between realities as he sleeps, Zax is an unwilling explorer of the multiverse who attempts to make the most of his affliction by helping those in need. But a dangerous enemy is on his trail, pursuing him in a way he thought impossible and determined to unlock the bloodborne secrets of his multiverse-hopping abilities – by any means necessary. So begins a game of cat and mouse across hundreds of worlds, a game with the highest stakes imaginable. Opening in the techno-utopian setting of the Dionysius Society, it quickly becomes clear that Doors of Sleep does not lack for imagination. Altered humans party away, with wings, hooves and other cosmetic modifications on display, as recreational drugs are passed around with abandon, all inside the aerial domes which make up a playground for wealthy youths. Meanwhile, the planet below is preyed upon by an unknown entity known as “the Adverse.” Don’t get too used to this setting, as Zax is crashing hard from exhaustion; sleep – and a new world – beckon. Fear not, however, because Pratt just absolutely refuses to run out of ideas for new locations. Worlds with mysterious, long-absent creators. Worlds of uplifted animals. Dead worlds, space stations, dystopias, utopias, post-scarcity worlds, nightmare cities of stalking creatures… Doors of Sleep is a treasure trove of ideas in terms of its settings alone, and that’s before we even come to discuss the finer details and the characters themselves. Each world Zax and his loveable companions visit is another opportunity for a sub-plot, whether it’s helping the local populace overcome a hardship or attempting to outwit Zax’s pursuers. Many of these worlds feel like there’s enough going on to have their own spinoff story, so deft is the worldbuilding. Zax’s former role as a harmonizer – essentially someone who mediates between disagreeing parties – means he is not only driven to resolve conflicts, he’s actually good at it. He would much rather solve problems with discussion rather than violence, or, if discussion fails, some good old-fashioned cunning, which makes him a very relatable character. He isn’t perfect by any stretch, but he also isn’t irritatingly naïve or slow to grasp situations. Of course, a great aid to Zax’s situational awareness is the linguistic virus he was deliberately infected with by a previous travelling companion. This functions in the same practical sense as the Babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, allowing Zax to speak alien languages rapidly, and is one of the many entertaining narrative workarounds to his unusual situation – particularly as the nature of the virus means he can pass it on to others easily. He’s hardly James Bond with a gadget for every situation, but he is resourceful and as prepared as he can be. Just the simple action of restocking his supplies provides endless variety; sometimes he must forage for food and water in a wilderness, on other occasions he has to work out what the local currency is. And let’s not forget, every world has different technology for him to get to grips with and make use of. As useful as gadgetry can be though, it pales in comparison to Zax’s travelling companion Minna. Able to adapt to her surroundings rapidly thanks to her unusual biology, she is practically a walking laboratory, and proves her extreme usefulness from the off. Additionally, she is an absolutely charming character, enraptured by the prospect of adventures with her friend Zax and the opportunity to escape her grim reality. Whilst they don’t always see eye to eye on everything, particularly with regard to how best to deal with Zax’s adversary, they clearly have such affection for each other that it’s impossible not to get invested in their friendship. Others who join Zax along the way – whether friend or foe – are also excellent characters in their own right, but Minna outshines them all with her matter-of-fact reasoning and her gentle philosophising. Its relatively slim size belies just how much Doors of Sleep has to offer. It’s a well-crafted, entertaining slice of escapist science fiction with not a word wasted, an action-packed adventure across a multiverse that promises much and delivers on every count. Hugely enjoyable.
What a weird story. It reminded me of Every Day by David Levithan but instead of waking up as a different person everyday, Zax travels to a new reality. Definitely one to pick up if you like Science Fiction and multiverse travel.
This was just the type of escapist read my wild imagination needed! This story is written in journal entry form about the circumstances that found the main character Zax to be traveling through multiverses every time he fell asleep. Fall asleep- wake up in a new world, fall asleep-new world and on and on. Oh, how many worlds he visited! Some were the strangest type of places you could not even imagine and some were seemingly normal. Along the way he acquires several companions that travel with him when he holds them while sleeping. One of these companions is a Dr. who seems very interested in learning and helping Zax until one day he turns on him which leads Zax on the run through the multiverses from this evil genius that has figured a method of traveling as well. Along the way Zax has picked up another companion Minna and an AI that help him evolve and formulate plans against the mad Dr. What an exciting, interesting read that never lagged in interest!
Okay so that premise right?? It's portal fantasy (well, portal science fiction) aka one of my favorite things! Overall I really enjoyed this book, but was ultimately thrown off a little bit by the ending. I do recommend it - it's a wonderful adventure and I'm definitely looking forward to more by this author. So let's get into the details a bit more! Things I Liked! I've already said that I love portal fantasy, so that was definitely one of my favorite aspects of this book. I loved being able to get a glimpse at so many different worlds, and to see both the similarities and differences between them. It would be amazing so see fan art of these different worlds (or dare I say, a movie adaptation??). Zax is our main character, and he's great, but MINNA YOU GUYS. I would say she is also a main character, and woooooo boy she is WAY cooler than Zax. Sorry Zax hahaha. Minna is some sort of humanoid being, but her body works in very similar ways to plants. If she doesn't have enough food, she can photosynthesize!! She can adjust her body to become less susceptible to poisons! She can grow plant like stuff that others can wear that filters the air! And those are just the physical aspects about her, not even her personality. Minna comes from a very isolated world, and watching her interact with new places and humans and bringing in her own world view was so interesting. She is pragmatic and inquisitive and just so, GOOD. I love her. The book is written as Zax's journal. I find journal type formats to be a bit hit or miss, but I really liked this style. I think it worked for this novel because the journal aspect wasn't too intrusive - by that I mean it was mostly written as Zax telling a story, with a few moments of his own reflections. So it felt more like "standard/regular" prose with a couple journal entries thrown in, if that makes sense. The journal format also allowed for us to hear from different characters' perspectives, as there were a handful of times that others wrote in Zax's journal. I thought this was very well done, and it worked extremely well with the particular plot events happening at that time. Things That Could Have Been Better! I think overall the plot and main "issue" that the protagonists were trying to solve was a bit weak. The story made sense, but I think I needed a bit more gut punchy-ness (if that makes sense). Like, just MORE from the antagonist, more consequences, etc. In the middle and end of the book, it felt like the world-jumping aspect totally eclipsed the actual plot, to the point where the book was just focused on "Zax jumps here, and then here, and then here..." and the conflict got lost. So yes, as I said before, I did love getting to see different worlds, but it felt like we jumped TOO much. The ending was the thing that felt most unsatisfying to me. The main conflict was wrapped up, but since the conflict already felt weak, the ending was also weak. There were also things that happened that left other questions VERY open for subsequent books. It was kind of frustrating in my opinion, as they were pretty big questions and I don't know if the author intended for this to be a series or not. I think future books would be awesome! It just threw me a lot since I wasn't expecting it. I know I'm being vague but I don't want to spoil anything! Again, I overall really enjoyed this book but a few things made it fall a little shy of 5 stars.
The nitty-gritty: Inventive and engaging, Doors of Sleep is the feel-good sci-fi story you didn’t know you needed. If you’re looking for an upbeat, quirky, feel good story to start off 2021, then you cannot go wrong with Doors of Sleep. This book was such a happy surprise, and I can’t believe this is my first time reading Tim Pratt! With an almost retro sci-fi vibe, Pratt has managed to write an entertaining story with loveable characters, a thrilling plot, some timely social commentary, and plenty of heart. I was also impressed by how imaginative Pratt’s worlds were, and I found myself wishing some of them were real. This is the travel journal of Zaxony Dyad Euphony Delatree, or Zax for short. For the past three years or so, Zax has had the unfortunate ability to travel to a different universe every time he falls asleep. This means that when the story begins, Zax has already been to nearly one thousand different worlds, each unique and with its own set of dangers and challenges. Zax doesn’t understand why this is happening to him, only that he doesn’t know how to stop it. He’s been able to gather various drugs over time that allow him to fall asleep quickly and get out of sticky situations, but he can never stay awake long enough to fully appreciate some of the better worlds he’s discovered. Zax can take someone with him from one world to the next, as long as they are asleep, and so he’s had several traveling companions over the years. But they’ve never lasted very long for various reasons, and so Zax is mostly lonely. One lost companion, however, is a scientist known as the Lector, the man who helped Zax in the beginning by studying his blood and figuring out ways to help him stay awake longer. He also injected Zax with something called a linguistic virus which allows him to communicate with anyone on his travels, no matter what language they speak. However, we soon learn that Zax left the Lector behind when his methods became suspect, and now he is trying to stay one step ahead of him, as he suspects the Lector is trying to catch him. When the story opens, Zax has woken up in an orchard and soon meets a girl named Minna, who offers him some blue apples from one of the trees. Minna ends up joining Zax, as her world offers only a harsh existence of subservience, and she wants nothing more than to leave and go somewhere else. But the Lector isn’t far behind, and it doesn’t take Zax and Minna long to figure out what he’s up to: the Lector intends to take over the multiverse, and he needs Zax to do it. I’ll admit the beginning of the story is a little slow and meandering, and after experiencing Zax jump to ten or twelve different worlds, I began to wonder if that’s all there was to this book—lots of really cool vignettes where Zax encounters more and more interesting and dangerous people, robots, and creatures, but nothing much happens. But at about the 33% mark, once Zax and Minna meet a new character named Vicki, the story really takes off. Pratt’s grand vision of his vast multiverse could have easily spiraled out of control, but I was pleased to see how well he reigned in his story, keeping the focus on a few main characters and making their stories the center of attention. For the most part, we see everything from Zax’s point of view (except for a few times when other characters fill in parts of the story), which made Doors of Sleep feel intimate and focused. Which brings me to the characters. I absolutely loved Minna and Vicki in particular, although Zax is a pretty good character as well. Minna is a smart, resourceful woman who has been through terrible hardship on her home world. She’s part plant and has the ability to photosynthesize. She is able to regrow body parts if necessary, in the event of injury, and as we find out, she’s very hard to kill. Minna saves the day a lot in this story, especially when it comes to the nefarious antics of the Lector, and Zax is better off having met and befriended her. Zax and Minna meet Vicki on a world made of shattered crystals, and I think I’ll save that surprise for you to discover yourself. Let’s just say that Vicki is a marvelous creation, and the three characters together were my favorite part of the story. Zax, Minna and Vicki are all good people (and I use the term “people” lightly!) and only want to help others. This was such a refreshing change from some of the more grim stories I’ve been reading. In Zax’s home world, he was a “harmonizer,” which is like a moderator who tries to help others resolve their disputes. Zax’s code of honor is to never harm a living creature, but of course he struggles with this whenever the Lector shows up. All this goodness is offset by the Lector, who to be honest, was almost a caricature of an evil genius. His big, evil plan to take over all the worlds was fairly predictable, and as a bad guy he was more annoying than scary. But I do like what Pratt does to his character at the end, which wasn't predictable at all. The author came up with a really good hook for his story, a multiverse filled with wonderful diversity and different levels of danger, depending on what world you end up on. Pratt’s imagination is off the charts, and I loved experiencing each new world, even if some of them were very brief visits. Here are few examples: a “bubble” world where a civil war has separated everyone into different bubbles, where you only live with people who share the same beliefs and ideals as you; a fishing village ruled by a living lighthouse where people emerge from the sea each night lugging nets of shells, fish and gears; a world of subterranean engines where slaves labor in mines for insect-like aliens. One gets the impression that the author will never run out of ideas for his worlds! And because I loved the characters so much, there was always a sense of worry that they would become separated. After all, if one falls asleep without the other, the sleeper will go to another world without his companion, and the twist about travelling like this is that Zax can’t control where he goes. In all his travels, he’s never visited the same world twice, and finding a lost companion would be nearly impossible! This gave the story a nice sense of tension and kept me frantically turning the pages. Pratt throws in some interesting twists and surprises near the end, and I fervently hope there will be a sequel, because the ending practically demands one! I’m so glad I had the chance to read this quirky book, and I look forward to whatever Tim Pratt writes next. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to read Doors of Sleep in exchange for an honest review. I must start off by saying the synopsis does not do this book justice. It was far more than I expected it to be and immensely creative. One of the joys of the book is the glimpses of the different worlds Zax winds up in - I could get lost exploring those worlds in more detail - but the development of a storyline and plot beyond endless travels made the story engaging instead of simply fun. There is humor as well as tragedy, suspense and excellent world-building (I know, that seems unlikely when they don’t stay in one world more than a few days and yet, it is achieved). Though the main conflict resolves in a satisfying way, the cliffhanger at the end was not quite what I was hoping for, though I do hope there will be a sequel that allows the reader to wrap things up with Zax and the unanswered questions. I really enjoyed this one!
REVIEW: I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining portal adventure, which has a pleasingly old-fashioned feel. The overarching narrative is very straightforward. For reasons that poor Zaxony doesn’t fully understand, every time he falls asleep or unconscious – he jumps worlds. Initially, he spends his time in a horrified daze as he tries to come to terms with his new normal. For the worlds that Zax encounters are mind-bogglingly various, ranging from idyllic to nightmarish and everything in between. He can take someone with him, as long as he is holding them when he falls asleep – but he is haunted by an upsetting incident where a lovely woman he fell in love with stayed awake during their journey between worlds and arrived in the new world raving – her mind broken by the experience. So he is very careful who he takes along. We join Zax in the middle of his adventures, after a couple of the companions he has taken with him haven’t turned out to be ideal – and just as he starting a relationship with another kindly soul. There is a generally upbeat, positive vibe running through the series of adventures that I thoroughly welcomed and while the main plot isn’t overly complicated, or particularly original – what made this book really stand out is the sheer inventiveness and variety of alll those worlds Zax visits. There is a building sense of frustration that we only ever see the thinnest slice of their dynamic – because as soon as Zax falls asleep, off we go to somewhere entirely new, again. But I really liked that niggling sense of annoyance, as it helped me bond with dear old Zax, who is generally a well-meaning, honest chap – in sharp contrast to a nicely satisfyingly nasty antagonist in the form of the Lector, an archetypal evil scientist. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and note with satisfaction that it looks as though this is the first in a series. Highly recommended of fans of science fiction adventures with an upbeat tone. While I obtained an arc of Doors of Sleep from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 9/10
Zax Delatree has a special ability, every time he falls asleep, he travels to a new random dimension. Sometimes, he wakes up in dystopian world and sometimes he wakes up in a fantastical world where evil mushrooms try to kill him. If Zax falls asleep holding someone in his arms, he can transport them with him. A lesson he has learnt the hard way the first time he traveled to a new reality. However, most of Zax’s companions tend to abandon him after a few realities to settle down on worlds they like, a luxury that Zax can’t afford. Some other times, Zax has to run away from his own companions when they try to vivisect him in order to understand how his powers work. That’s the case with the Lector, one of Zax’s former companion turned evil doctor who wants to replicate his powers in order to create an Empire across realities. Zax managed to escape the Lector once but, will he be able to avoid him forever? Doors of Sleep is such a fun ride! This book really is a wonder of creativity, Tim Pratt imagined hundreds of different worlds that are all completely different from one another and it was fascinating to discover them one by one. I really enjoyed the world but, most of all, I loved the characters! The main character is a fascinating character to follow. At the start of the novel, Zax has been jumping from one reality to another for 3 years and he has visited hundreds and hundreds of different worlds. In each reality, he tries his best to help the people he meets and, if he encounters someone or something who wants to visit a new world, he takes them with him. I liked reading the novel from Zax’s perspective but I have to say that my favorite characters were his companions. I don’t want to say too much about the second companion because they arrive pretty late in the story but Minna was awesome! She’s a character from a world where biological engineering is mastered and she can modify her body at will to create biological compounds that are (more than a few times) life savers. Zax is a cool character but Minna was the highlight of the novel for me. She’s a gentle soul but also very badass in her own way and usually a lot more quick-witted than Zax! Another character that I found fascinating was the Lector. Sure, he was kind of a “moustache twirling villain” and his personality probably could have been developed a bit more but, I had a ton of fun reading about him and his evil plans for the universe. He is also the one who injected Zax with a language virus that allows him to understand intelligent creatures in every world he visits and, without this virus, the story would have been a lot less interesting. Doors of Sleep was one of the first book I read this year and, while it’s not perfect, it’s so much fun that I could easily forgive the unevenness of the pacing (it takes a bit for the plot to start) and enjoy the novel and its wonders. I don’t know if this book is standalone or a start to a new series but, if Pratt writes more stories in this world, I will read them for sure! ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rating: 4 out of 5. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. My thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Making an author come up with a single science fiction concept is tricky enough, but to ask them to come up with an infinite number of multiverses is just plain mean. Tim Pratt only have themselves to blame as they choice to take Zaxony Delatree on an adventure across a multitude of worlds. Worlds full of technology, worlds full or monsters. Some worlds not even on a planet. Will Zax every be able to get back home and, if he does, what type of person will he be? It happened one night when Zax went to sleep, rather than wake up in his own bed, he was in an alien landscape, unable to speak the language and having no idea where he was. To make matters worse, this continued to happen every time he slept. It was not until he met the benevolent The Lector that things changed. Now Zax had a companion to travel with and technology that allows him to understand any language. Things are not too bad when you have company, but are The Lector’s intentions noble? Taking on a series of worlds is not an easy task. Not only did Pratt need to come up with the ideas but also a valid way of leaping from one to the other. High concept science fiction ideas often fail as they lack rules. It would have been simple to have Zax zipping from place to place like a God, but Pratt intelligently avoids this by creating structures and rules that give the book foundations to build upon. Zax is a slave to his ‘powers’. When he sleeps, he warps. He can take other people and objects with him, if they are connected closely to him e.g. being worn or held. He heals while he sleeps but can die at any point when visiting a world. When you take all these rules into account you don’t get a grand pulp adventure, but a very human story or loss and fear. Zax is constantly in danger and when he is with a companion, he fears leaving them behind. Doors of Sleep is written as if it was Zax’s journal, so you get a sense of the man. On his home world, he is a harmoniser, trained to solve conflicts. Now he finds himself in constant turmoil and chaos. There are moments in Zax’s story that he gives into fear, but the secret to his survival is his companions. There is a hint of Doctor Who here, constantly visiting new worlds with pals, but Pratt has an unlimited budget and imagination. Zax’s later friends become a stabilising force in his life and allow the story to progress. There is a joy in just reading about new place after new place, but Pratt effortlessly steers the story to one of protagonist and antagonist. The stakes are raised, and the dangers heightened. An exploratory science fiction book becomes a thriller. Throughout the book, Zax and Co must visit over 100 worlds and many of them for a significant amount of time. It is impressive that Pratt can flesh them out so well, there are even worlds that get a sentence or two and produce evocative ideas. Doors is based in part on an earlier monthly exercise that the author undertook of taking characters into a different multiverse. The readers of this finished novel benefit greatly from the hard work as there is a sense of weight and research to even the most ephemeral places visited. As a reader I had an affection for Zax and his companions. Zax’s training means that he inherently wants to help, and it is nice to read a book about characters wanting to do good for the sake of goodness. This also helps to heighten the drama as the antagonist wishes to use the multiverses for a very different purpose. When the book starts to reach its conclusion, it slows down slightly, and the conflict unfolds, only for the ending to promise so much more. I hope that Doors of Sleep is not the final outing for the Journals of Zaxony Delatree as this book has proven a great start to 2021 and has set a level that is going to be hard to better.
For the amount of portal fantasy/sci-fi anime (isekai) that I watch, it is something that I rarely delve into in fiction, so the Doors of Sleep was an interesting venture into the unknown for me, and what an adventure it was. Overall, I had some mixed feelings about this book, but one thing that I can say with certainty that I loved was the portal aspect and getting to see new worlds – and so many of them. I can only have the deepest admiration of Pratt for being able to come up with the concepts for so many different worlds to create such a rich and varied multiverse, and even those places that were just glimpses or pit stops were well-imagined, if not as deep as I might normally want from world-building. But, the tapestry of worlds we were shown more than makes up for that (necessary – otherwise imagine how long this book would have been!) lack of depth, and the world-building was without a doubt my favourite aspect of this book. The other major strength of the Doors of Sleep is its characters, although I would say that comes through more later in the book once the main protagonist gains travelling companions. Zax is a fantastic character, and you can’t help but become invested in his story and efforts, as he is our key to the different worlds, and I like how he interacts with each world in a different way. However, as much as I enjoyed reading about Zax’s adventures, it was his companions that were elevated to favourites – especially Minna, who as well as having an interesting biology due to the world she is from, just has a wonderful personality, is badass where needed and is an excellent character to have paired with Zax. Where I did feel the book was a little weaker was the plot and the antagonist. Lector is a fun character to read, but he did feel as though he was a little lacking in development, beyond his role as the ‘villain’ and I think that bled a little into the plot. The main threat and purpose, was not as strongly defined as it could have been, and there were places where the multiverse and travelling aspect (as wonderful as they are) were too dominant, removing some of the feeling of danger and urgency, and as a result while the ending was a satisfying conclusion, it felt a little underwhelming because of those earlier elements. That said, I did still enjoy the plot, and while it takes a little while to get into the pace of the story, I enjoyed this tour-de-force of Pratt’s worlds and imagination, and his writing is fantastic and pulls you in. This was a fantastic book, even with it’s flaws and has definitely left me wanting to check out more portal fantasy/sci-fi, and I will be keeping an eye out for future books in this series, and by Tim Pratt in general.
Doors of Sleep follows Zax Delatree through many worlds, each time he falls asleep he awakens in a new world. Constantly travelling, meeting friends and making enemies along the way, as he tries to leave a little bit of himself and make each world a better place when he can. I went in to Doors of Sleep a little blind, just knowing it involved Zax travelling. What I didn’t expect was such a beautiful story of friendship, splashed across dozens, hundreds of different worlds. Told through journal entries that Zax has been writing, you can an in-depth look at how he feels as he wakes each day in a new place, wondering how this happened, and what he can do. I found the world building just fantastic, even though we get brief glimpses at each place, some a little more than others, the creativity that went in to each place was amazing, how they connected and differed, how Zax feels about each one, and the varying levels of safety and beauty, and danger. Despite being primarily told from Zax, his friends were the real winners of this novel. Minna was such a delightful, brilliant, badass of a character, and the way she adapated and learned was so engaging, just the kind of character everyone would want to be - that’s not even including all of her very specific skills, I just want to be like her for her brilliant and caring ways. My biggest complaint about Doors of Sleep is there is a brief mention of talking cats, and how they could have had one as a companion. I won’t lie that I’m hurt we didn’t get talking cat companions. I think it would have brought a welcomed level of sass to the friend group, and I’m just a sucker for animal companions. So, not a real complaint, I just want every book to have sassy animal companions. I do wish we could have spent more time on each world, but that would have made this a ridiculously large book, so maybe one day we’ll see some novellas of some of the other worlds. I adored this book, and think everyone who has an interest in travels and adventure would get a lot from the amazing places we see, and if you’re looking for strong female characters, Minna should be way up there. An engaging fun book, well worth an afternoon of multiverse adventure.
En esta ocasión disfrutaremos de la reseña de la última obra de Tim Pratt de la mano de un auténtico experto en el tema, Antonio Díaz. Muchas gracias a Antonio por hacernos un hueco en su agenda para comentar este libro. Espero que disfrutéis de sus comentarios. Nadie que me conozca quedará sorprendido si digo que soy un gran fan de Tim Pratt, tanto en su obra corta (tan prolífica como variada y excelente), como en su obra larga. Cuando anunció que publicaría una novela basada en un personaje que había protagonizado varios de sus mejores relatos del 2019 me subí inmediatamente al tren del hype. La sinopsis de Doors of Sleep no puede ser más atrayente: Zax es un humano normal y corriente que, cada vez que duerme, cambia de universo. No sabe dónde va y no parece que pueda controlar su destino. El potencial narrativo es, por su propia definición, infinito. Genera una incertidumbre, no sólo en el propio Zax, sino también en el lector, no saber cuál será ese próximo destino. Incluso aunque el cruce entre universos se dé en unas circunstancias controladas, al girar la página podemos encontrarnos en lugares muy dispares, fruto de una imaginación muy viva. Al menos esto es lo que me digo para justificar que me ventilé la novela en tan sólo dos días (acabando uno de ellos a una hora indecente). Cuando Pratt decidió escribir Doors of Sleep, no desperdició ni una palabra y canibalizó los relatos que ya había escrito para tejerlos dentro del nuevo texto. En mi opinión es todo un acierto ya que su calidad es innegable. También decidió explorar los límites del poder del personaje para sentar unas reglas claras: cambia de universo cuando pierde la consciencia, no sólo cuando duerme; cuando llega a un nuevo destino siempre es a un lugar donde no se encuentre en un peligro inmediato y define las condiciones que se tienen que cumplir para que una persona puede decidir acompañarle en su viaje astral. La novela está escrita como si fuera el diario personal de Zax, con la salvedad de que no siempre se encuentra escrito por él. Es un recurso curioso que permite a Pratt una cierta flexibilidad para jugar con el punto de vista manteniendo un estilo cercano a Zax. A pesar de llevar un tiempo viviendo de una forma tan extrema, sin establecerse en ningún lugar, dificultando todas sus relaciones personales, sin elegir a donde va, sin poder repetir universo, viviendo de lo que puede forrajear en los lugares más benignos (un destino sin peligro inmediato no te asegura que haya algo comestible); Zax es un idealista. En su mundo original era un trabajador social que resolvía los conflictos entre las personas mediante la empatía y la diplomacia y eso lo convierte en un adalid del buen rollo. Éste carácter generalmente bondadoso e indudablemente honesto e idealista provoca que esta novela se parezca más a Heirs of Grace que a la saga de Marla Mason (que es más cruda y definitivamente más bruta). Esta decisión choca hasta cierto punto con el germen de la novela: saltar de universo en universo sin tener ningún control llevaría a cualquiera a la desesperación más absoluta. Eso no quiere decir que no pasen cosas malas (ni mucho menos), pero Doors of Sleep puede encuadrarse sin dudar en el movimiento hopepunk. Puede que haya momentos de miseria pero siempre se encaran con un cariz positivo. En cualquier caso es una novela ‘100% Pratt’ y rebosa su estilo por los cuatro costados. Debido al constante salto entre universos y las dificultades para transportar gente con él (gente que jamás podría volver a su universo original) el plantel de personajes secundarios no es especialmente grande. Eso permite a Pratt dedicar más tiempo en escena para estar bien perfilados y logra que nos encariñemos de ellos o los odiemos respectivamente. Mi principal crítica iría dirigida a un último acto algo desigual, con una recta final cerrando el nudo principal del libro de forma algo apresurada y con un último capítulo que abre claramente la puerta a una continuación (o continuaciones). Hubiera preferido, sino una obra autoconclusiva, sí que Pratt hubiera dedicado alguna página más a perfilar el desenlace para que llenase algo más al lector. Las prisas por desencadenar una tensión creciente le han jugado una mala pasada. Sin embargo, después de la decepción que me supuso The Wrong Stars, la primera novela de su trilogía de ciencia ficción Axiom, y a pesar de las buenas sensaciones de los relatos seminales, me enfrenté a esta novela con una cierta cautela. He de decir que he quedado muy satisfecho con Doors of Sleep que, sin dejar de ser una novela ligera y más orientada como divertimento, he disfrutado sin ambages.
Doors of Sleep left me wanting more in all the right ways. Tim Pratt has created such an unique and interesting read with Doors of Sleep. I can't say I have ever read a book quite like it. First of all due to the very plot and setting of the book Pratt has had to craft a whole bunch of worlds and they are all to a nicely detailed level. There are a huge number of worlds and some breeze past in the blink of an eye but the author still gives us a brief description of each one which really helped me believe the main character, Zax, was travelling through vast numbers of universes. A second aspect of Doors of Sleep that was really intriguing is the choice of characters that accompany Zax throughout the book. All were well put together and relatable and I was surprised at just how much I connected with a character called Minna. Minna is an alien and has led a very different life on a very different planet to Earth, or at least the origin planet of Zax, so by that understanding we have very little in common and a connection would be hard to establish. However, I did become emotionally attached to her and her backstory is really touching. Full of love and terror. The ending of Doors of Sleep wraps up the story nicely and had me on the edge of my seat. There is one section towards the end that really took me by surprise. NO SPLOIERS here so don't worry. All I will say is that the final section is so, so good and left me wanting more info. So if Angry Robot are reading this, PLEASE let Tim Pratt add more to this fantastic universe. There is a small section in the middle of the book where our character is travelling through worlds at a fast rate and I am guilty of skim reading this section. Don't get me wrong it is a good section and does add to the setting however I felt it went on a little too long for my liking. This wasn't in the realms of a DNF by any means it's just... I was a little too impatient to get back to the action. Okay so I want to mention the integral aspect of the plot and that is the fact that every time Zax falls asleep he travels to a different world. As mentioned in the synopsis Zax has zero control on where he ends up and that adds a restriction to what options are available to him during his travels. This I can only see as a self imposed restriction by the author but he uses this as an advantage and really creates a uniqueness I have not seen before in a book. The very idea of creating a character baffles my mind but the outcome is brilliant and highly entertaining. To sum up Doors of Sleep is a very good read and one that I will recommend to others that love Sci-Fi and are a little tired of the same old tropes and plots that fill the genre. I really hope to read more of Pratt's work and I hope we get to revisit Zax and company.
A masterpiece, Tim Pratt is one of the greatest narrators of our time. I imagine his work on TV and my mind fully explodes, his work is so imaginative I feel bad it's "only readers" who enjoy it. Captivating, wonderful and very original.
I’ve always loved stories that take place on one fantastically alien world after another, so I grabbed this book on the dual strengths of its author (Tim Pratt, master of space drama) and its premise. Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a different multiverse. Some worlds are eerily similar to his own highly technological world where he facilitates harmony, but others are devoid of life or filled with intelligent, carnivorous life, or gigantic gardens or bombed-out cities. He’s been traveling this way for a few years now, with no idea how or why. From time to time, he’s acquired companions, one of whom created a linguistic virus that allows Zax to understand the languages he encounters, and another, a farmer who can communicate with and control plant life, and yet another, a crystalline intelligence desperate for new horizons. Quickly Zax shifts from unwilling (and insomniac) tourist to fugitive. Someone’s on his trail, able to track him across multiverses, and that someone has just teamed up with a murderous, shape-shifting fungus. The story is at once dramatic, playful, grim, inventive, and just plain fascinating. Zax sometimes reminds me of Doctor Who or The Flying Dutchman With a Heart of Gold. I definitely want to keep traveling with him!