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
Gould makes an auspicious debut with this playful and moving look at a hallowed science fiction concept: teleportation. Gould gives us no teleportation chambers, no shimmery beaming a la Star Trek , no worries about mingling one's own molecules with a fly's--here only one person can teleport, and he has no idea how he does it. David Rice, age 17, first ``jumps'' spontaneously in order to escape his abusive father. Having run away, he learns to control his strange talent, using it first to survive on the street and then to set himself up comfortably via bank robbery. Gould does not focus on moral implications so much as keep the plot moving quickly. David searches for his long-lost mother, meets and woos a girl, enjoys the pleasures of a leisurely life in New York and (despite his best efforts) eventually runs afoul of the authorities, who of course want to understand his powers and then put him to work for them. Short fiction has earned this author a reputation in ``hard'' science fiction, and he applies similar logic to teleportation (though he glosses over some points to make the story work). His warm, delightful and compulsively readable novel displays assured storytelling skill.
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.