The Leap
by Blaine C. Readler
Full Arc Press

"He should have painted his backside white instead, but that was all hindsight now."

Will's great-uncle has been trying to send him to another universe for the past four months. After 40 years of experimentation on Will's father, Uncle Bill finally gets it right and Will finds himself suddenly transported to a parallel universe a lot like his own. But instead of inventing microchips and super-fast computers, this society has spent its time building rocket ships, jet packs—and intense xenophobia. Having blown Russia sky-high with a nuclear bomb, the U.S. is the biggest bully on the block, and a group called the Central Intelligence Department (CID) is after Will and his uncle on suspicions of terrorist activity. Will quickly learns he's traded places with his double, Buck, and it's up to him to save his uncle—along with the rest of America—from a 1950s-era nightmare where taking the Lord's name in vain is a federal offense and the Civil Rights movement never happened.

Readler's parallel universe offers plenty of science-fiction standbys, with rocket trips to outer space and daring rescue missions, but also concentrates on the science in a world where computers were never invented. A hero who really has to think for himself (often performing complex mental math as he floats in the vacuum of space), Will is an unlikely hero that both nerds and action lovers can embrace. Equal parts fascinated and frightened by this universe's technological differences, and using his own world's obsession with gadgetry to his advantage, Will leaps in with both feet to save the day.

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