The Traveler’s Companion is written by Christopher John Chater, and is an independent novel published via Amazon and Smashwords. It is also available as a paperback from CreateSpace, if that’s more your thing. I reviewed this novel via an ePub version provided by LibraryThing’s Member Giveaways.
This was a very interesting novel; an exploration of the themes of love and loss via string theory and quantum physics.
At its core, this is a story about loss. Ryan Iverson’s wife died of sudden brain cancer, and he has spent the following decades believing that love makes people stupid, enough that he can actually ‘weaponize’ it (per the book’s description) via his “daughter” – a hybrid clone/AI named Angela.
The book really explores what it means to lose someone via the main plot device – an alternate dimension called the Zone, where human creativity becomes the path to godlike power, via the ‘magic’ of quantum physics. It is realized and described well enough that it is easy to suspend one’s disbelief and accept the existence of the Zone for the course of the story.
The characters are well-defined and individual – Dr. Iverson, Angela, Director Gibbons and C.C. Go all have distinct personalities which shine through very clearly.
It has a powerful story at its heart. There is a bit too much exposition at times, when characters trade long-winded scientific theories framed by “You already know all this” or “As we all know”; a few minor editing mistakes and one odd formatting error (in the ePub version) where a quote from the titular “Traveler’s Companion” starts with “Chapter One”, which turned into its own chapter, complete with page breaks, immediately following the regular Chapter 3, slightly mar what is otherwise an enjoyable read.
All in all, a very strong entry by Mr. Chater. I sincerely hope he has more stories to share.
Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars. Recommended.