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Fifty years ago, a new civil war fractured the United States into a mosaic of polarized nations. Ever since, Harmony “Bibi” Cain has isolated himself: from society, from technology, from family. A powerful empath weary from the constant intrusion of others’ emotions, he’s finally cloistered in his rural Wisconsin retirement community. He hopes to find, if not peace, then at least a little quiet.

But when four impossible-seeming killings shake North America, Bibi is drawn into an investigation he wants nothing to do with. The victims were killed by motes—unstoppable drones only an empath can control—and decades ago, Bibi was an unwitting subject in the wartime program that created them: the program that weaponized empathy.

With his few remaining friends at risk, and tensions between countries of the former United States reawakening, everything may depend on Bibi’s lifelong struggle with his own extraordinary ability.

-Goodreads

Book Information

  • Title: Three Grams of Elsewhere
  • Series: Standalone
  • Author: Andy Giesler
  • Page Count: 338
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 4.0/5.0
  • Date Read: May 10th, 2024

Opening Thoughts

As my reading for the SPSFC-3 competition is nearing its end. Three Grams of Elsewhere by Andy Giesler was my second to last finalist to read. I bookended my final four reads starting with the biggest page count, then read a mid-range, now a nice break with a smaller page count. This leaves only the second largest page count after this one.

A brief reminder that the review and scoring below are strictly my own opinions and do not reflect the final competition scores for team Peripheral Prospectors or the competition in general.

Pacing

This certainly felt like a fairly fast paced story. I’m not sure if this was due to it being one of the smaller page count novels I’ve read recently or not. There were plenty of ebb and flow going on. This wasn’t non-stop active or anything like that. At the same time, there didn’t seem to be many, if any, moments I would describe as working through a slog. There was a good mix of names used in this story both for characters and locations. Nothing of note to mention as far as struggles with the names that were chosen. Some were a bit tongue in cheek humor as well. The only item I struggled with a little bit was the timeline transitions of the story being told and who the dialog was with when it came to Bibi. This is eventually explained but I had made note a little over half way indicating my frustration wondering who Bibi was talking with.

World Building

The world building was nicely done. This was a nice futuristic North America for the most part. The layout is considerably different as new countries are established from prior conflicts. The future tech was very intriguing. There was some tech speak early on that seemed like system overload but it didn’t take too long to become comfortable with it and just let the world develop. There was also a nice bit of overlap between technology and religion in this read as well. The fact that this aspect can change based on which character’s point of view may be describing the relationship, was a nice touch.

Character Development

The character development was solid. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way for our main protagonist Bibi and some good arcs for some supporting characters too. At times I may have felt a little lost as to what was going with some of the characters and eventually I found myself falling into that feeling of not being able to trust any of the characters including Bibi. It was still a wild ride to see unfold though.

This book turned out to have some underlying human nature thoughts develop and allow the reader to reflect on them This was a really nice touch to such a futuristic science fiction story.

Roundup & Recommendation

When all is said and done, I rather enjoyed this read. It was certainly different form not only anything else in this competition I’ve read, but also any of my usual reads.

I would certainly recommend Three Grams of Elsewhere to fans of science fiction looking for something on the shorter side for page count and a rich imaginative world with some interesting characters and relationships.

Scoring

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve just started this one (like, I haven’t even finished the first chapter yet) but already I can tell it’s not like anything I’ve read recently. Makes for a nice breath of fresh air!

    1. I agree. After what has been an enjoyable yet long season of competition reading, this one did provide me a nice little break before diving into the second longest read of the finalists for our team. I actually just put a pause on said read at 50% to get another May obligated read in and will pick up and finish that one off over the first week or two of June.

      1. I enjoyed the book you saved for last of the finalists, but I do wish it hadn’t been as long as it is. Having such a tightly written book as THREE GRAMS OF ELSEWHERE in the SPSFC finalists is a nice change.

      2. Thanks for the comment! I personally plan to keep up with both of the series. I want to see how similar book two’s might be but even if they are similar, I found enough differences between the two in the first installments to enjoy them both.

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