9. Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect (Novel). 2008, Author: Paul McCusker.

My fascination for the realm of sci-fi and fantasy stories continues with the book Ripple Effect by Paul McCusker. This work of fiction is the first of the Time Thriller Trilogy series. This sequence of publications focuses on the interwoven connection between our home Earth, and an alternate reality. Both are very closely tied and connected. Every individual on Earth has an equal, or a twin, living in that alternate dimension. Whenever some significant event happens to the both of them, at the same time (e.g. they both drown in water), they swap places. The novel follows the life of one woman who has the misfortune of being in this predicament. Elizabeth Forde just happens to be taking a bath one evening, when without warning, her bathtub fills up with muddy water, and she starts drowning. After she awakes, she discovers that she doesn’t recognise anyone, but everyone seems to know her. Elizabeth was one of the many unfortunate victims of Fawlt Line’s time fault, but now Elizabeth must muster all her mustard and come to grips with what everyone is telling her. Is she dreaming, or does she truly have amnesia?

The story element that caught my attention in Ripple Effect was the creative way of displaying a moral to the reader. Paul McCusker has a way with storytelling in which he can drive a point home, such as selflessness or humility, without making it overly preachy. Like, for example, the design McCusker puts into his plotlines by suggesting that every person that encounters the time fault, confronts it for a reason. Often to teach a lesson or to make the main character rethink his/her past, or even to see how their choices affect the lives of another person. Every fictitious character in the book has a chance, due to the time fault, to relive their choices over again, but in the shoes of someone else.

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