Forget the lottery.
Teenager Charlie Newell has just discovered something that will make him and his friends billionaires. What if a world existed in which no humans ever evolved? No cities. No pollution. No laws. A fantastic world filled with unimaginable riches in which everything—everything—was yours just for the taking?
Charlie has found that world. And he plans to use it to make him and his friends rich.
There is a problem: How do you keep something this big a secret?
Honors and Praise
An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
Winner of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction
Prometheus Award Nominee
“A splendid adventure. Solidly plotted with above-average characters.” —Kirkus
“More than a few surprising plot developments make for compelling reading.” —Booklist
“Rousing fun.”—San Franciso Chronicle
With adept storytelling, Gould, in his second novel (after the well-received Jumper, 1993), weaves the tale of Charles Newell, who discovers a gateway on his late uncle's farmland that leads to a "parallel" earth that is an ecological paradise of extinct species and lands unmarred by human presence. Charlie, who narrates, captures some passenger pigeons that he sells to major zoos and conservancy groups for a small fortune intended as seed capital for his master plan: to drill the alternate earth for its untouched gold. To help in this venture, Charlie reveals his secret to four of his friends, recent high-school graduates all. Working together, the five learn to pilot planes; but in time, their alliance and friendships are tested. The stakes become increasingly higher as well, climaxing in the arrival of government operatives. Ultimately, the financial considerations of the gateway prove no more important to Charlie or his pals than ecological and familial concerns. Adolescent readers will identify with the young heroes and heroines here, while older ones will be charmed by a yarn in which even the evil characters are intelligent and clever. Several loose ends cry to be tied up in a sequel; hopefully, Gould will oblige.
Great adventure book!
I wish Gould would write a continuation!
Wildside is a great idea. The author does a good job of enticing the reader in and letting the reader discover the adventure within. I’ve read it several times, or parts of it.
There are some themes here that are obvious pet-issues with the author. For example, his awkward forced-insertion of homosexuality in an otherwise fun adventure story targeted at teenagers. Author must have felt super woke writing this in the mid 90s.
Another of his pet issues is even more apparent. Wholly the last 1/3 of the book is devoted to his fanciful take on American government heavy-handedness in this “what if” scenario. As with his other books, he selects whatever American government agency is in the news that year and makes them the antagonist, totally divorced from the reality of said agency’s real life role/mission/resources etc, demonstrating both laughable ignorance and embarrassing bias. (The DIA?) I would have loved a lot more wildside, and a lot less wild government.