Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Lost Train of Thought

The Lost Train of Thought
by John Hulme & Michael Wexler
Recommended Ages: 12+

This is the third installment of "The Seems," about a kid named Becker Drane who gets a job as a Fixer in the world that made the World, troubleshooting problems with the supply of sleep, time, and (this time) thought itself. A train full of the precious ore, mined in an obscure part of the Seems, has disappeared en route to the transshipment hub from where it was to travel to Earth. Unless the train and its contents are recovered pronto, the Unthinkable will happen - possibly costing millions of lives - and the only other way to stop it would be to take the World offline and risk being unable to get it started again.

Meantime, Becker is facing disciplinary action for mixing work with personal business. He could end up being suspended from his job, having his brother and his girlfriend "unremembered" (so they have no memory of what he let slip to them about the seems), and even seeing the girl of his dreams forget they ever met. But before his sentence kicks in, he gets called in as part of a second team of four fixers, sent out to the Middle of Nowhere to find out what became of the train of thought, after the first team loses contact. Then, while Becker, the Octogenarian, and two other fixers are out of the way, there's a prison break in Seemsberia. The Tide, a rebel group within the Seems, chooses that moment to strike, taking over everything and threatening the stability of the World.

I'd like to keep spoilers to a minimum, even though this book has been out since 2009, but that's an awful long time after the third book for a series that, up to then, brought out a new installment every year, not to have a fourth book yet. That throws a certain light of finality upon the ambiguous, possibly cliffhanger ending - though, to be exact, it isn't quite the ending of the book. It's followed by a glossary and several helpful appendices. But there also seems (no pun intended) to be good reason to expect another story, at least, to resolve some of the issues left up in the air at the end of this story. So, I hope I'm not quite finished with it, though I seem to be caught up for the moment.

The Seems is a fun universe, full of action, surprises, and goofball humor, combining puns on everyday phrases with a magical concept of how the world works and the wild ways it could go wrong. Becker is an imperfect hero who, nevertheless, steps up and delivers the stuff. Perhaps the authors will think of a way to bring him back. Hope springs, well, in a place in the Seems that we visit in this book. So the authors should know all about that.

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