YA Report: “Fair Coin” by E. C. Myers

Review by Michelle Ristuccia
In “Fair Coin” by E. C. Myers, Ephraim’s world is shattered when he comes home to find his mother has tried to kill herself. Mysteriously, the suicide attempt was prompted by a case of mistaken identity — there seem to be two Ephraims, and one of them was hit by a bus and killed earlier that day. Yet, having a doppelganger hardly seems to matter when Ephraim finds a magic coin that grants his wishes, for better or for worse.

The bold beginning told me every thing I needed to know about why I was going to like this book. Myers quickly immerses us in the characters, who in turn usher us through an increasingly complex and fast-paced plot. We learn soon enough that the so-called magic coin is actually a device created to transport its users through the multiverse of “Fair Coin,” meaning that each alternate reality that Ephraim has seen has remained behind him in his selfish quest for a more perfect life. This revelation plunges us into a cold sea of consequences, where problems cannot be wished away, death is still permanent, and the mere flip of a coin may be the difference between reparation and destruction.

“Fair Coin” reminds me why it is that I have a soft spot for multiverses. Rather than just a convenient plot device, the multiverse concept in “Fair Coin” explores its characters and their choices by contrasting each character against other versions of themselves. These foils within foils bring out a nature versus nurture issue with a slight focus on the nurture aspect. “Fair Coin” shows how a hard life changes people, yet at the same time, each character has that thread of personality in common with all their selves to round out the nature side of the equation. The result is that each character, rather than being diminished by the existence of endless copies of themselves, is instead held to a higher standard of uniqueness. It is, after all, their divergent choices which separate each from his or her other selves.

I recommend this book to any one interested in a character-driven science fiction young adult novel. The science is not overly technical because Myers does an excellent job explaining the Many Worlds Interpretation, which I was pleased to see included universes where time is slower or faster than in our own, as well as a hint of worlds even more divergent. The plot also will not disappoint. Taking advantage of the endless landscape of a multiverse, “Fair Coin” will make you feel like you are following the white rabbit to a particularly dangerous game of croquet.

Visit E. C. Myers’ website at http://ecmyers.net/ to find out more about “Fair Coin,” the upcoming sequel Quantum Coin, and his impressive array of published short fiction. You can also find him on twitter @ecmyers . Star Trek fans should check out his OS re-watch reviews at http://www.theviewscreen.com/

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Michelle writes short fiction of all speculative fiction genres in between chasing her toddler from tree to tree. The shorter the work, the better, because 200 words looks very long on her cellphone and that keypad is very, very small. You can find out more about her rabid love of Star Trek, podcasting, and raising future geeklings at her blog, wakingdreamsblog.blogspot.com

~ by MrsMica on February 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “YA Report: “Fair Coin” by E. C. Myers”

  1. I saw this website and got so excited that I hurricane kicked a hippo!

    • Ok this is clearly spam but I am approving it because it's so idiotic, it's hilarious. "I hurricane kicked a hippo and I liked it…" It's my new song…

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