Short Story Review: “Just Beyond the Trailer Park” by John Shirley

3 of 5 stars.

Multi-verse theories in science fiction [and science] hinge on a couple standard measurements. 1) How are the different universes or layers of the universe related or separated? 2) What is the level of interaction between these layers or worlds, if any, and can entities, matter or energy cross between them?

This tale surmises that the layers of the universes occupy the same space in alternating fractions of seconds. Certain waves lengths easily cross the threshold, and some rare humans can perceive across the threshold. The protagonist of this tale is a young teen boy that can do just that, at first in his dreams then in waking life. Interestingly, his home life is so bad–beatings, drugs, alcohol etc. that he prefers the strange alien life of the Alternate World over his Human World Reality. With the help of his eccentric, conspiracy-theory-loving neighbor, Sylvester is able to spend increasing amounts of time on a different plane of existence . . .

This tale appears in the New Lovecraftian anthology, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu edited by Paula Guran. I received my copy of the anthology directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read Shirley’s “Aftertaste”</a, “Ash”, “At Home With Azathoth”, and his excellent “Isolation Point, California”.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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