Ever have one of those days? You know the type where you feel like everything is just a bit off. You miss the bus even though you left five minutes early. You spill coffee on your new white linen, short-sleeve Oxford shirt. Your cell phone reception is nonexistent even though you’re standing in the middle of downtown. Maybe you’re just having a bad morning, or perhaps you’ve been secretly transported to an alternate version of Earth.
I love when a story seems normal, yet there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s not until I’m really engrossed in the tale that I figure out that the world is a different place from where I grew up. They’re not science fiction, per se, but contain just enough of a difference to be noticeable. Here are a few of my favorite examples of these types of stories.
One of These Things is Not Like the Other by D. Travers Scott is a grizzly novel about four quadruplet brothers. When their dad commits suicide, they find out that one of them is NOT really a brother. Some quirks: travel by airship instead of plane, sorta-telepathic abilities. A bit of a mystery to try to figure out what was going on, and it kept me guessing all the way to the end.
The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko starts in a small country town. A teenage boy is confronted by his doppelgänger who offers him a trip to an alternate world. Turns out, the trip was one-way. He makes a life in the new world by inventing a new game called “Pinball,” but gets noticed by a shady corporation who wants to rule the world.
Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. Translated from the Finnish, it tells the story of a guy who rescues and cares for a troll that has been badly beaten. The author does a great job of making it seem like trolls actually exist, and when the main character bites off more than he can chew, bad things really start happening.