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Othersyde by J. Michael Straczynski
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I read this years ago when it was first published and Straczynski's "Babylon 5", his fabulous "Five year SF novel for TV", was still fresh in my mind. For anyone who watched that show regularly, you will surely remember Morden who was the human rep for the Shadow. He would target people by asking them, "What do you want?" For a few, this seemingly harmless question subtly pushed them closer to their darkest wishes.

Okay, nothing like that scenario happens in this book. Othersyde is definitely not in the same "universe" as the science fiction TV series. For one thing, Othersyde is not science fiction. It's more urban horror and (perhaps) demon possession than anything else. However, for those who have seen the author's Hugo-winning show, little phrases turn up here and there throughout the book which will give the viewer/reader shivers.

And for the person who has never watched the series? Not to worry. You won't know what you're missing. You'll be busy being overwhelmed by subtle horror, moments of disgust, incipient nightmare and the desperate feeling that nothing can stop the evil gripping the town. For me, the most ghastly moment, the one that runs over and over in my mind, involves the mysterious power's drawn-out and brutal destruction of its human tool when they are done with it. My mind plays that long scene over and over and I can't shake it. Yack!

Othersyde is not perfect. Like a couple of other Straczynski stories, the ending just isn't as good as the rest of the tale. Consequently, I give this 4 stars.

I don't actually own a copy of this book. I think I read it courtesy of interlibrary loan. I remembered it just now when I was inputting data for Staczynski's Demon Night, so I put it on my wish list. ( )
  SherryThompson | Aug 14, 2011 |
Better than I thought it would be. ( )
  SenoraG2001 | Dec 31, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743487206, Paperback)

When 16-year-old Chris Martino moves with his mother to Los Angeles from New Jersey, he inadvertently befriends nerdy classmate Roger Horseface Obst. Chris writes Roger a note in lemon juice-invisible ink-but later a different message appears, and it becomes obvious that a terrifyingly omnipotent force is about to ensnare Roger in its net of darkness. While Roger senses an opportunity for revenge against his student tormentors, Chris resists this evil presence, which identifies itself as Othersyde; therein lies the book's most forceful conflict. As the terror escalates, a policewoman and a sympathetic teacher become involved with the evil around them-and with each other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:27 -0400)

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