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What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a parallel universe under an alien sky? This is the question Zax Delatree must answer every time he closes his eyes. Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological ut What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a parallel universe under an alien sky? This is the question Zax Delatree must answer every time he closes his eyes. Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to live by are his wits and the small aides he has picked up along the way - technological advantages from techno-utopias, sedatives to escape dangerous worlds, and stimulants to extend his stay in pleasant ones. Thankfully, Zax isn't always alone. He can take people with him, if they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on his tail, and they are after something that Zax cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, the power to travel through worlds... File Under: Science Fiction [ Green Power Sweat Dreams Waking Nightmare Zax of all Trades ]


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What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a parallel universe under an alien sky? This is the question Zax Delatree must answer every time he closes his eyes. Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological ut What would you do if you woke up and found yourself in a parallel universe under an alien sky? This is the question Zax Delatree must answer every time he closes his eyes. Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to live by are his wits and the small aides he has picked up along the way - technological advantages from techno-utopias, sedatives to escape dangerous worlds, and stimulants to extend his stay in pleasant ones. Thankfully, Zax isn't always alone. He can take people with him, if they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on his tail, and they are after something that Zax cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, the power to travel through worlds... File Under: Science Fiction [ Green Power Sweat Dreams Waking Nightmare Zax of all Trades ]

30 review for Doors of Sleep

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    At one time, Ursula Le Guin posited a story where a man would fall asleep and the world would change every time he dreamed. He didn't like that. He tried to avoid dreaming until an evil psychiatrist started controlling his dreams. The point is the world changed every time he slept. For Dr. Who and his amazing TARDIS, the universe changed every time he closed the callbox door and you never knew where he would end up except you knew he would be chased by Daleks. In other stories, people race throu At one time, Ursula Le Guin posited a story where a man would fall asleep and the world would change every time he dreamed. He didn't like that. He tried to avoid dreaming until an evil psychiatrist started controlling his dreams. The point is the world changed every time he slept. For Dr. Who and his amazing TARDIS, the universe changed every time he closed the callbox door and you never knew where he would end up except you knew he would be chased by Daleks. In other stories, people race through time to prevent some evil one from taking over the time continuum. Doors of Sleep follows in the wake of all of these ideas with a story of a man, Zax, who falls asleeps and wakes in a different universe each time he falls asleep and wakes up. It is a masterpiece of endless creativity with thousands of worlds each experienced somewhat briefly. And, the author, Tim Pratt takes this to extremes and offers literally thousands of worlds. Of course, no matter what Zax does he does not wake up in walls, under the ocean, in the belly of a whale, or so forth. But, of course, he must come up with solutions in the form of pharmacological pills to instantly put him to sleep should a raging sabertooth charge at him. Zax has two erstwhile companions, consisting of a plant creature and a jewel containing an artificial intelligence. And its a good thing he has companions because Dr. Evil (the Lector) is on his tail chasing him across the multi-universes, hungering for that magic blood so that the Lector can build armies of inter-universe beings who will conquer all universes. And chase they do since apparently the gates only work in one direction and they both end up in the same spots. This gives us the conflict and the tension that is not necessarily apparent with the quick stops in the multiverses. Doors of Sleep is a fun and engaging romp through the multiverse, most enjoyable as the endless creativity of Pratt's brain is shown off with all manner of creatures on all manner of worlds.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    "Here’s the situation. Every time I fall asleep, I wake up in another universe. That started happening nearly three years and a thousand worlds ago, and I still don’t know why, or what happens during the transition, while I’m asleep." It is never really explained how Zaxony (or Zax) Delatree got this dimensional drifting affliction (although there is a strong implication). Zax has been keeping a diary about his adventures, and that is what you, dear reader, are perusing. It is possible for Zax to "Here’s the situation. Every time I fall asleep, I wake up in another universe. That started happening nearly three years and a thousand worlds ago, and I still don’t know why, or what happens during the transition, while I’m asleep." It is never really explained how Zaxony (or Zax) Delatree got this dimensional drifting affliction (although there is a strong implication). Zax has been keeping a diary about his adventures, and that is what you, dear reader, are perusing. It is possible for Zax to take along other people (or creatures), if they fall asleep in his arms before he falls asleep. So he has had several companions before we start reading, most notably one called The Lector, who quickly turned out to be quite an evil bastard, a scientist who wants to extract Zax's dimensional hopping power from him. There are many dimensions that are described, quite a lot of fun descriptions, a couple feel less imaginative, and overall I would've liked to see some more "out there" dimensions. The book's main problem is that it only really gathers any forward momentum towards the end of the book. Before that we're basically just following Zax and his companions as they jump from dimension to dimension, which is interesting enough for a while, but then starts to drag. Only about halfway the book does Zax find out that The Lector is chasing him through the dimensions, which provides some drive, but fact remains that Zax has little control about where he will end up next, so it's hard for him as a character to have any real goal besides "not dying". Towards the end we suddenly have a ramshackle plot, with an unconvincing baddie and it all ends a bit too neatly. That said, I found it quite a relaxing book to read, even when the characters got in dire straits. But is that what I want from an adventure like this book? My guess is that if the book had a stronger plot and stronger character motivations, it could've been quite an addictive thriller. (Kindly received a review copy from Angry Robot through Edelweiss)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was an interesting exploration of multiverse theory told in a close and often intimate perspective. I want to describe this as a sci fi thriller, but in reality the narrative is much slower than the pager turners normally given that label. Certainly it still held my attention but there was not a lot of action in the story. Instead it was more focus on the characters. Towards the second half the story picked up with some interesting narrative shifts, however it fully immersed me. The 3.5 Stars This was an interesting exploration of multiverse theory told in a close and often intimate perspective. I want to describe this as a sci fi thriller, but in reality the narrative is much slower than the pager turners normally given that label. Certainly it still held my attention but there was not a lot of action in the story. Instead it was more focus on the characters. Towards the second half the story picked up with some interesting narrative shifts, however it fully immersed me. The best aspect of this book was the exploration of the multiverse. I loved the author's creativity in imagining so many different realities. These worlds gave the book a more fantastical quality. In comparison to other scifi books I have recently read, it was refreshing to read a multiverse story that actually explored the other universe. Overall, this was an interesting piece of sci fi that explored popular theories in some fun and imaginative ways. There was very little hard science in this one, which would make it an excellent entry point for those new to the subgenre. I would recommend this one to fairly wide range of readers - essentially anyone interested in the subject matter could read and enjoy it. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Angry Robot Books. 

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Dooley

    An interesting concept for sure but the concept is more interesting than the story itself. The story of Zaxony Delatree and his journals explaining his extraordinary life of travel to many many worlds. Existing in a multiverse, when Zax falls asleep he wakes up in another world in an alternative universe. Along the way he meets up with various characters, bringing some with him. They also have to be asleep and hanging on to him to travel with him. One of these characters has ulterior motives tho An interesting concept for sure but the concept is more interesting than the story itself. The story of Zaxony Delatree and his journals explaining his extraordinary life of travel to many many worlds. Existing in a multiverse, when Zax falls asleep he wakes up in another world in an alternative universe. Along the way he meets up with various characters, bringing some with him. They also have to be asleep and hanging on to him to travel with him. One of these characters has ulterior motives though. He is after Zaxs blood to travel on his own too, with much more sinister intentions. After being held captive by him and blood taken Zax manages to escape but while he travels randomly through the multiverse he has this character on his tale trying to catch up with him, take his blood and perhaps take his life. This sounded really interesting on paper but sounds better than it works. The fact that Zax travels to a new world every times he sleeps means he never spends long in one place. He visits dozens and dozens of places in this book, some get a couple of pages, some get a paragraph and they end up becoming a bit of a blur, having little or no novelty and I found myself soon losing interest in the descriptions of them as they had little relevance. It’s basically a chase movie set in a multiverse, a good vs evil battle with an overly cheesy ending. I’m sure there is plenty of philosophical questions and social commentary in here but the format didn’t grab my attention enough to care. There are some interesting ideas in here but ultimately I think the book was somewhat doomed from the beginning due to the format. Many thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robit for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    Review first published on The Curious SFF Reader Zax Delatree has a special ability, every time he falls asleep, he travels to a new random dimension. Sometimes, he wakes up in dystopian world and sometimes he wakes up in a fantastical world where evil mushrooms try to kill him. If Zax falls asleep holding someone in his arms, he can transport them with him. A lesson he has learnt the hard way the first time he traveled to a new reality. However, most of Zax’s companions tend to abandon him after Review first published on The Curious SFF Reader Zax Delatree has a special ability, every time he falls asleep, he travels to a new random dimension. Sometimes, he wakes up in dystopian world and sometimes he wakes up in a fantastical world where evil mushrooms try to kill him. If Zax falls asleep holding someone in his arms, he can transport them with him. A lesson he has learnt the hard way the first time he traveled to a new reality. However, most of Zax’s companions tend to abandon him after a few realities to settle down on worlds they like, a luxury that Zax can’t afford. Some other times, Zax has to run away from his own companions when they try to vivisect him in order to understand how his powers work. That’s the case with the Lector, one of Zax’s former companion turned evil doctor who wants to replicate his powers in order to create an Empire across realities. Zax managed to escape the Lector once but, will he be able to avoid him forever? Doors of Sleep is such a fun ride! This book really is a wonder of creativity, Tim Pratt imagined hundreds of different worlds that are all completely different from one another and it was fascinating to discover them one by one. I really enjoyed the world but, most of all, I loved the characters! The main character is a fascinating character to follow. At the start of the novel, Zax has been jumping from one reality to another for 3 years and he has visited hundreds and hundreds of different worlds. In each reality, he tries his best to help the people he meets and, if he encounters someone or something who wants to visit a new world, he takes them with him. I liked reading the novel from Zax’s perspective but I have to say that my favorite characters were his companions. I don’t want to say too much about the second companion because they arrive pretty late in the story but Minna was awesome! She’s a character from a world where biological engineering is mastered and she can modify her body at will to create biological compounds that are (more than a few times) life savers. Zax is a cool character but Minna was the highlight of the novel for me. She’s a gentle soul but also very badass in her own way and usually a lot more quick-witted than Zax! Another character that I found fascinating was the Lector. Sure, he was kind of a “moustache twirling villain” and his personality probably could have been developed a bit more but, I had a ton of fun reading about him and his evil plans for the universe. He is also the one who injected Zax with a language virus that allows him to understand intelligent creatures in every world he visits and, without this virus, the story would have been a lot less interesting. Doors of Sleep was one of the first book I read this year and, while it’s not perfect, it’s so much fun that I could easily forgive the unevenness of the pacing (it takes a bit for the plot to start) and enjoy the novel and its wonders. I don’t know if this book is standalone or a start to a new series but, if Pratt writes more stories in this world, I will read them for sure! ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. My thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to Angry Robot Books for the digital advanced copy of Doors of Sleep in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!  If you are a fan of multiverse adventures and creative characters, check this out! Wow, what a wild ride! I can only imagine how Zax feels since I was getting dizzy just travelling with him!  I think the book's biggest strength is just the sheer number of creative ideas on the pages - I coined a term for it, like "word salad" but it's "universe salad." Thank you so much to Angry Robot Books for the digital advanced copy of Doors of Sleep in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!  If you are a fan of multiverse adventures and creative characters, check this out! Wow, what a wild ride! I can only imagine how Zax feels since I was getting dizzy just travelling with him!  I think the book's biggest strength is just the sheer number of creative ideas on the pages - I coined a term for it, like "word salad" but it's "universe salad."  One page might spit out six wildly different universes if Zax is travelling quickly.  Pratt's well of ideas seems to be endless. There are many pop culture nods that I enjoyed spotting too, like an Emerald City universe with a yellow brick road and all.  One thing the book accomplishes is making me feel soooo small, the possibility of endless universes and endless galaxies, planets, and he is only seeing a small portion... So Zaxony is travelling alone and it was hard for me to latch onto the story before he found a travelling companion, that is a super interesting plant/human hybrid.  They become great friends and Minna is able to perform many scientific tasks to make Zax's life easier.  They also eventually pick up an analytic war crystal named Vicki who I think is the best character 😂 Once the antagonist shows up in truth and the book turns into a pursuit, giving Zax and company a purpose, I finally latched onto the story.  This happened maybe halfway through and is why I only gave Doors of Sleep 3.5 stars, I felt aimless before that point.  The Lector is a brilliant terrorist with the aim of conquering all the worlds, creating a moving empire, and it's going to take mote than weapons and traps to stop him.... A really brilliant bad guy who is only limited by his inability to comprehend the true grandness of the multiverse. I should mention Zax too as a character - he is thoughtful, a general good Samaritan with strong principles about helping people, but he is also flawed and sooo lonely before he meets Minna. I loved that they ended up just being partners and not pursuing anything romantic too. Overall: clever but brief world building, strong friendships and interesting characters, many philosophies, and a twisty OMG ending, made me enjoy this book quite a bit.  I am definitely 100% on board for the next book and hope you guys will check this one out!  Just released on January 12th so grab your copy now!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Inventive and engaging, Doors of Sleep is the feel-good sci-fi story you didn’t know you needed. If you’re looking for an upbeat, quirky, feel good story to start off 2021, then you cannot go wrong with Doors of Sleep. This book was such a happy surprise, and I can’t believe this is my first time reading Tim Pratt! With an almost retro sci-fi vibe, Pratt has managed to write an entertaining story with loveable characters, a thrilling plot, some timely social commentary, and plen The nitty-gritty: Inventive and engaging, Doors of Sleep is the feel-good sci-fi story you didn’t know you needed. If you’re looking for an upbeat, quirky, feel good story to start off 2021, then you cannot go wrong with Doors of Sleep. This book was such a happy surprise, and I can’t believe this is my first time reading Tim Pratt! With an almost retro sci-fi vibe, Pratt has managed to write an entertaining story with loveable characters, a thrilling plot, some timely social commentary, and plenty of heart. I was also impressed by how imaginative Pratt’s worlds were, and I found myself wishing some of them were real. This is the travel journal of Zaxony Dyad Euphony Delatree, or Zax for short. For the past three years or so, Zax has had the unfortunate ability to travel to a different universe every time he falls asleep. This means that when the story begins, Zax has already been to nearly one thousand different worlds, each unique and with its own set of dangers and challenges. Zax doesn’t understand why this is happening to him, only that he doesn’t know how to stop it. He’s been able to gather various drugs over time that allow him to fall asleep quickly and get out of sticky situations, but he can never stay awake long enough to fully appreciate some of the better worlds he’s discovered. Zax can take someone with him from one world to the next, as long as they are asleep, and so he’s had several traveling companions over the years. But they’ve never lasted very long for various reasons, and so Zax is mostly lonely. One lost companion, however, is a scientist known as the Lector, the man who helped Zax in the beginning by studying his blood and figuring out ways to help him stay awake longer. He also injected Zax with something called a linguistic virus which allows him to communicate with anyone on his travels, no matter what language they speak. However, we soon learn that Zax left the Lector behind when his methods became suspect, and now he is trying to stay one step ahead of him, as he suspects the Lector is trying to catch him. When the story opens, Zax has woken up in an orchard and soon meets a girl named Minna, who offers him some blue apples from one of the trees. Minna ends up joining Zax, as her world offers only a harsh existence of subservience, and she wants nothing more than to leave and go somewhere else. But the Lector isn’t far behind, and it doesn’t take Zax and Minna long to figure out what he’s up to: the Lector intends to take over the multiverse, and he needs Zax to do it. I’ll admit the beginning of the story is a little slow and meandering, and after experiencing Zax jump to ten or twelve different worlds, I began to wonder if that’s all there was to this book—lots of really cool vignettes where Zax encounters more and more interesting and dangerous people, robots, and creatures, but nothing much happens. But at about the 33% mark, once Zax and Minna meet a new character named Vicki, the story really takes off. Pratt’s grand vision of his vast multiverse could have easily spiraled out of control, but I was pleased to see how well he reigned in his story, keeping the focus on a few main characters and making their stories the center of attention. For the most part, we see everything from Zax’s point of view (except for a few times when other characters fill in parts of the story), which made Doors of Sleep feel intimate and focused. Which brings me to the characters. I absolutely loved Minna and Vicki in particular, although Zax is a pretty good character as well. Minna is a smart, resourceful woman who has been through terrible hardship on her home world. She’s part plant and has the ability to photosynthesize. She is able to regrow body parts if necessary, in the event of injury, and as we find out, she’s very hard to kill. Minna saves the day a lot in this story, especially when it comes to the nefarious antics of the Lector, and Zax is better off having met and befriended her. Zax and Minna meet Vicki on a world made of shattered crystals, and I think I’ll save that surprise for you to discover yourself. Let’s just say that Vicki is a marvelous creation, and the three characters together were my favorite part of the story. Zax, Minna and Vicki are all good people (and I use the term “people” lightly!) and only want to help others. This was such a refreshing change from some of the more grim stories I’ve been reading. In Zax’s home world, he was a “harmonizer,” which is like a moderator who tries to help others resolve their disputes. Zax’s code of honor is to never harm a living creature, but of course he struggles with this whenever the Lector shows up. All this goodness is offset by the Lector, who to be honest, was almost a caricature of an evil genius. His big, evil plan to take over all the worlds was fairly predictable, and as a bad guy he was more annoying than scary. But I do like what Pratt does to his character at the end, which wasn't predictable at all. The author came up with a really good hook for his story, a multiverse filled with wonderful diversity and different levels of danger, depending on what world you end up on. Pratt’s imagination is off the charts, and I loved experiencing each new world, even if some of them were very brief visits. Here are few examples: a “bubble” world where a civil war has separated everyone into different bubbles, where you only live with people who share the same beliefs and ideals as you; a fishing village ruled by a living lighthouse where people emerge from the sea each night lugging nets of shells, fish and gears; a world of subterranean engines where slaves labor in mines for insect-like aliens. One gets the impression that the author will never run out of ideas for his worlds!  And because I loved the characters so much, there was always a sense of worry that they would become separated. After all, if one falls asleep without the other, the sleeper will go to another world without his companion, and the twist about travelling like this is that Zax can’t control where he goes. In all his travels, he’s never visited the same world twice, and finding a lost companion would be nearly impossible! This gave the story a nice sense of tension and kept me frantically turning the pages. Pratt throws in some interesting twists and surprises near the end, and I fervently hope there will be a sequel, because the ending practically demands one! I’m so glad I had the chance to read this quirky book, and I look forward to whatever Tim Pratt writes next. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)

    full review on http://colourmeread.com ! :) full review on http://colourmeread.com ! :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    K.L. Dobbs

    4.5- This was just the type of escapist read my wild imagination needed! This story is written in journal entry form about the circumstances that found the main character Zax to be traveling through multiverses every time he fell asleep. Fall asleep- wake up in a new world, fall asleep-new world and on and on. Oh, how many worlds he visited! Some were the strangest type of places you could not even imagine and some were seemingly normal. Along the way he acquires several companions that travel w 4.5- This was just the type of escapist read my wild imagination needed! This story is written in journal entry form about the circumstances that found the main character Zax to be traveling through multiverses every time he fell asleep. Fall asleep- wake up in a new world, fall asleep-new world and on and on. Oh, how many worlds he visited! Some were the strangest type of places you could not even imagine and some were seemingly normal. Along the way he acquires several companions that travel with him when he holds them while sleeping. One of these companions is a Dr. who seems very interested in learning and helping Zax until one day he turns on him which leads Zax on the run through the multiverses from this evil genius that has figured a method of traveling as well. Along the way Zax has picked up another companion Minna and an AI that help him evolve and formulate plans against the mad Dr. What an exciting, interesting read that never lagged in interest!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Some time ago, I read quite a bad book with a main character named something similar to Zax, which is what this book's main character is called by his friends. Not only that, but the author's first name was not too dissimilar to Zaxony. And the premise was that whenever the protagonist fell asleep, he shifted into another universe. So I wondered, when I picked this one up (having been fortunate enough to be invited to review it by the publisher, via Netgalley), whether it was prompted by the aut Some time ago, I read quite a bad book with a main character named something similar to Zax, which is what this book's main character is called by his friends. Not only that, but the author's first name was not too dissimilar to Zaxony. And the premise was that whenever the protagonist fell asleep, he shifted into another universe. So I wondered, when I picked this one up (having been fortunate enough to be invited to review it by the publisher, via Netgalley), whether it was prompted by the author reading that same book I read and, in frustration, deciding to write a better one. Nothing else about the books is remotely similar, so it may be complete coincidence. But the most important difference is that this is really good. I've talked in other reviews about how there are two versions of Tim Pratt. The "dark" Pratt writes gruelling stories about nasty people having a bad time, often because of what they do to each other; the "bright" Pratt writes hopeful stories about good people overcoming the evil of others, often by generosity and self-sacrifice. This book, happily, is by the "bright" Pratt. The main character, Zax, is an early-career harmonizer, a kind of social worker who helps individuals and groups find ways to get along. Through mysterious events (they get a bit less mysterious in the course of the book, but are never fully explained), he begins to shift universes every time he goes to sleep. He's able to take someone with him if they're both asleep and in close contact, and, in a probable salute to Doctor Who, he has a series of companions, some of whom leave him when they get to a place they want to stay. One of them, however, the Lector (the chief administrator of a university and a talented scientist) betrays him and tries to take the secret of his universe-shifting by violence. The story opens some time after his experience with the Lector, which is later told in flashback. He's travelling from universe to universe, and they're diverse and sometimes dangerous and sometimes extremely beautiful. The societies he encounters range from utopian to dystopian, and some are both depending who you are. He soon rescues a new companion, Minna, who's talented with genetic manipulation - just how talented he doesn't realize until later - and an indentured servant of remote and cruel overlords. And then the Lector catches up with him, and reveals his plan to create a multi-universal empire, and Zax, Minna, and an AI they've picked up along the way called Vicki must find a way to thwart him. The story puts Zax's training and ideals as a harmonizer directly into conflict with the Lector's as a conqueror and organizer, raising important questions about self-determination, civilization, and what is good. It's well handled, for the most part, and thought-provoking, and doesn't come to set conclusions about political structure, though it does have some things to say about attitudes and general approaches to relations between people and groups. There are one or two moments when satire is applied with too heavy a hand, as when Zax visits a world where everyone has retreated to (literal) bubbles in which they can be with only the people who "share their exact values and biases", this being a ploy to end a civil war. The bubble he arrives in contains people who drink craft beer, ride electric scooters, have elaborate facial hair, believe in respect and kindness... and spend a lot of time using small electronic devices made in another bubble where people believe in child labour. I thought that was a bit on the nose. But that's an aberration in a story that's usually a lot smoother and more subtle, and the varied worlds are imaginative and interesting, reminding me irresistibly of Roger Zelazny's Amber and Corwin's trips through Shadow. It could, in fact, have easily become a series of vignettes, which would probably still have been entertaining, but the overarching story with the Lector as antagonist adds tension and weight. I did also question the moment when a beautiful woman who Zax had met, spent a couple of days having sex with, and then lost was described as his "true love," though, to be fair, it wasn't Zax who used that phrase. The ending suggests that we might be in for a series, and if so, I'm very happy and will follow the series eagerly. This book has no trouble making it to my Best of 2020 list.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rowena Andrews

    For the amount of portal fantasy/sci-fi anime (isekai) that I watch, it is something that I rarely delve into in fiction, so the Doors of Sleep was an interesting venture into the unknown for me, and what an adventure it was. Overall, I had some mixed feelings about this book, but one thing that I can say with certainty that I loved was the portal aspect and getting to see new worlds – and so many of them. I can only have the deepest admiration of Pratt for being able to come up with the concep For the amount of portal fantasy/sci-fi anime (isekai) that I watch, it is something that I rarely delve into in fiction, so the Doors of Sleep was an interesting venture into the unknown for me, and what an adventure it was. Overall, I had some mixed feelings about this book, but one thing that I can say with certainty that I loved was the portal aspect and getting to see new worlds – and so many of them. I can only have the deepest admiration of Pratt for being able to come up with the concepts for so many different worlds to create such a rich and varied multiverse, and even those places that were just glimpses or pit stops were well-imagined, if not as deep as I might normally want from world-building. But, the tapestry of worlds we were shown more than makes up for that (necessary – otherwise imagine how long this book would have been!) lack of depth, and the world-building was without a doubt my favourite aspect of this book. The other major strength of the Doors of Sleep is its characters, although I would say that comes through more later in the book once the main protagonist gains travelling companions. Zax is a fantastic character, and you can’t help but become invested in his story and efforts, as he is our key to the different worlds, and I like how he interacts with each world in a different way. However, as much as I enjoyed reading about Zax’s adventures, it was his companions that were elevated to favourites – especially Minna, who as well as having an interesting biology due to the world she is from, just has a wonderful personality, is badass where needed and is an excellent character to have paired with Zax. Where I did feel the book was a little weaker was the plot and the antagonist. Lector is a fun character to read, but he did feel as though he was a little lacking in development, beyond his role as the ‘villain’ and I think that bled a little into the plot. The main threat and purpose, was not as strongly defined as it could have been, and there were places where the multiverse and travelling aspect (as wonderful as they are) were too dominant, removing some of the feeling of danger and urgency, and as a result while the ending was a satisfying conclusion, it felt a little underwhelming because of those earlier elements. That said, I did still enjoy the plot, and while it takes a little while to get into the pace of the story, I enjoyed this tour-de-force of Pratt’s worlds and imagination, and his writing is fantastic and pulls you in. This was a fantastic book, even with it’s flaws and has definitely left me wanting to check out more portal fantasy/sci-fi, and I will be keeping an eye out for future books in this series, and by Tim Pratt in general.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Will

    4 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Every time Zaxony Delatree (Zax) falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his bearing and never revisits the same place twice, making his life a constant, spontaneous adventure. One that he can neither stop nor control. Sometimes he’ll wake in paradise, with plenty of food and a no worries beyond his next nap. Others he’ll wake in hell; worlds of brimstone or desert or glass, worlds at war or apocalypse, worlds filled with m 4 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Every time Zaxony Delatree (Zax) falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his bearing and never revisits the same place twice, making his life a constant, spontaneous adventure. One that he can neither stop nor control. Sometimes he’ll wake in paradise, with plenty of food and a no worries beyond his next nap. Others he’ll wake in hell; worlds of brimstone or desert or glass, worlds at war or apocalypse, worlds filled with monsters or fire or death. Sometimes he’ll even wake in space. But wherever he wakes, Zax does what he must to survive. Survive and move on. On and on and on. But isn’t all bad. Zax lives a life some would kill for. A new world each day, an adventure that never stops. Worlds mortal eyes have never seen, worlds of paradise, utopia, or orgies (if that’s your thing). And he can take a companion—something to stave off the loneliness. All Zax must do is fall asleep holding them, and asleep or awake, willing or unwilling, his passenger will follow. But there are often serious consequences of Traveling, not just the monsters and war. The first companion Zax brought along was driven insane by what she saw in-between, a moment that has haunted him since. But now Zax is being haunted by another former companion—one that has somehow followed him through time and space. Someone who is after the power in Zax’s blood, the ability to Travel between worlds. And where Zax would simply Travel, his former companion would conquer. “Every time Zax falls asleep, he travels to a new reality.” I was sold from this very first line. Doors of Sleep mostly delivered on my expectations—an adventure that doesn’t quit; new world after new world, each one rendered for but a glimpse; a hunt through time and space. I actually could’ve done with more adventure—more worlds to see, more unknown to explore. Anyone who knows me will know that’s my thing. My favorite part of games like Civ are the exploration, the first few dozen turns, when the world is shrouded in fog and ANYTHING could be out there. But I realize the need for a plot, and this one works pretty well. After all, how does one follow a Traveler through time? Not even Zax knows where he’s heading, after all. This mystery was part one—one that really could’ve been drawn out longer, in my opinion. The second part was what happens when the second Traveler catches the first. Where one would explore, the other would conquer—and it’s very difficult for those two points of view to coexist. Zax can use sedatives to escape the nightmare worlds, and stimulants to extend the utopias—but he has to measure each world’s worth/danger against the desire to prolong/escape it. It’s resource management; the supplements aren’t limitless, and he also has to eat, hydrate, and take care of his body and mental health throughout. While there is a strong survival element to the text, it’s mostly in the background. I would’ve liked to see it take more of a central role. The story takes place relatively late in Zax’s travels. His 1000th world sees him surviving, but not yet thriving under the weight of his “gift”. I honestly could’ve done with a little more of his earlier adventures. Maybe see him make his way through several companions, see him adapt and survive, see how he combats the loneliness, the uncertainty. It seemed to me that Doors of Sleep kicked off too early to enjoy the adventure. And while the plot was good and the story was good and the concept was good, that was the key element holding it back. “Every time Zax falls asleep, he travels to a new world.” So we catch but a glimpse of these worlds. And unfortunately we catch but a glimpse of this glimpse when the hunt takes center stage. My biggest issue had to be the end. Doors of Sleep is a fairly short book—only 250 pages—and one can essentially read it in a day. The plot to this adventure takes a bit of time and a bit of doing once it gets started but the conclusion takes a chapter. Less, even. You could blink and—it’s over. I also expected this to be a one-off, a standalone: it’s not. The conclusion sets up a sequel, something I confirmed before reviewing it. At first both my rating and review were going to be a great deal more negative due to the abruptness of the ending and the lack of resolution for certain elements I dare not spoil. But instead it’s just a cliffhanger. Which is… better, but still annoying. TL;DR A rollicking read, Doors of Sleep is a bit like Edge of Tomorrow. But instead of repeating the same day over and over, Zax must survive a new world each time he awakens—one that could hunger for his blood, or simply make his tum-tum hungry. Add in a little bit of Twoflower, a little Pincer Martin, a touch of An Idiot Abroad, and Doors of Sleep become the best forced, spontaneous adventure you never knew you needed. The first in a new series, DoS is here and gone again entirely too soon—both in that it’s somewhat short and concludes everything abruptly in under a chapter. Still, I heartily recommend it for anyone who likes adventure, science fiction, or just a good one- or two-day read (I mean, it took me five, but who’s counting). In addition, it was the escape I needed from the truly awful first week of a new year. Come escape with me!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Whisper19

    Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the ARC Well, another strange one. This time we follow the adventures of one Zaxony Delatree, Zax to his friends and enemies. After witnessing an attempted suicide, Zax develops the ability to travel the worlds (planets or parallel universes, not sure) as soon as he falls asleep. He can't really control his power, which is a problem. He meets and interacts with the inhabitants of each world he visits. He also realizes that he can take other people with him, Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for the ARC Well, another strange one. This time we follow the adventures of one Zaxony Delatree, Zax to his friends and enemies. After witnessing an attempted suicide, Zax develops the ability to travel the worlds (planets or parallel universes, not sure) as soon as he falls asleep. He can't really control his power, which is a problem. He meets and interacts with the inhabitants of each world he visits. He also realizes that he can take other people with him, but that it is better for the passenger to also be asleep while "traveling". On world 1000, or thereabouts, he wakes up in an orchard and there he meets a strange girl called Minna. They go on an adventure of a lifetime. What they don’t know is that someone from Zax’s past is following them. This is a strange novel, written in the form of Zax’s diary entries, but at times this literary form is imperfect or unbelievable. There is also a strange problem – each chapter has a title which is like a group of bullet points of what happens in that episode. I really didn’t care for that. Another writing element that causes problems for me is the fact that action happens very fast. I don’t mean that plot is fast paced, but that everything that happens happens in a second. For example, a flying vehicle they are on experiences engines malfunction and in the next sentence they have crashed into a field. I think that the reason for this extreme economy of text is that the author wanted to visit sooooooo many worlds, that he didn’t have enough time to allow us to actually experience both the world and the plot. Don’t get me wrong, the worlds are amazing, but do we really need a paragraph or two of Wizard of Oz world? Or of the Hipster+ChildLabour world? I think not. The main characters are sort of strange as well. Zax is at times really smart, with instincts that enable him to survive anything that is thrown at him, but then he is also very much an idiot at times. Didn’t like that. Minna is a veritable Deus Ex Machina. Whatever Zax needs, whatever problem they encounter, she has a solution for it. I really didn’t like that. Whatever happens you know that she will come up with something that will save them. Tension disappears after a while. The idea behind this story is good, fun even, but the end, of course, necessitates a sequel. I’d have preferred this to be a standalone.

  14. 5 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    REVIEW: I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining portal adventure, which has a pleasingly old-fashioned feel. The overarching narrative is very straightforward. For reasons that poor Zaxony doesn’t fully understand, every time he falls asleep or unconscious – he jumps worlds. Initially, he spends his time in a horrified daze as he tries to come to terms with his new normal. For the worlds that Zax encounters are mind-bogglingly various, ranging from idyllic to nightmarish and everything in between REVIEW: I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining portal adventure, which has a pleasingly old-fashioned feel. The overarching narrative is very straightforward. For reasons that poor Zaxony doesn’t fully understand, every time he falls asleep or unconscious – he jumps worlds. Initially, he spends his time in a horrified daze as he tries to come to terms with his new normal. For the worlds that Zax encounters are mind-bogglingly various, ranging from idyllic to nightmarish and everything in between. He can take someone with him, as long as he is holding them when he falls asleep – but he is haunted by an upsetting incident where a lovely woman he fell in love with stayed awake during their journey between worlds and arrived in the new world raving – her mind broken by the experience. So he is very careful who he takes along. We join Zax in the middle of his adventures, after a couple of the companions he has taken with him haven’t turned out to be ideal – and just as he starting a relationship with another kindly soul. There is a generally upbeat, positive vibe running through the series of adventures that I thoroughly welcomed and while the main plot isn’t overly complicated, or particularly original – what made this book really stand out is the sheer inventiveness and variety of alll those worlds Zax visits. There is a building sense of frustration that we only ever see the thinnest slice of their dynamic – because as soon as Zax falls asleep, off we go to somewhere entirely new, again. But I really liked that niggling sense of annoyance, as it helped me bond with dear old Zax, who is generally a well-meaning, honest chap – in sharp contrast to a nicely satisfyingly nasty antagonist in the form of the Lector, an archetypal evil scientist. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and note with satisfaction that it looks as though this is the first in a series. Highly recommended of fans of science fiction adventures with an upbeat tone. While I obtained an arc of Doors of Sleep from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 9/10

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    DNF at 46% An interesting concept but a rather lackluster execution. Zax is not a very active force in his own life, relying on companions to give his life meaning and direction, even though his whole shtick is that every time he sleeps he ends up in another world. Every problem he encounters is solved within pages and there doesn't seem to be an overarching goal in the story. Certainly he would like to go home or at least be somewhere consistent, but he's not actively fighting for it; instead he DNF at 46% An interesting concept but a rather lackluster execution. Zax is not a very active force in his own life, relying on companions to give his life meaning and direction, even though his whole shtick is that every time he sleeps he ends up in another world. Every problem he encounters is solved within pages and there doesn't seem to be an overarching goal in the story. Certainly he would like to go home or at least be somewhere consistent, but he's not actively fighting for it; instead he's taking every world as a new start. There was some promise of a plot arc with the Lector but that was quickly and rather blandly quashed. Minna and Vicki also have abilities that are far too useful and limit any potential conflict. {Thank you Angry Robot and NetGalley for the advanced copy; all thoughts are my own}

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Doors of Sleep follows Zax Delatree through many worlds, each time he falls asleep he awakens in a new world. Constantly travelling, meeting friends and making enemies along the way, as he tries to leave a little bit of himself and make each world a better place when he can. I went in to Doors of Sleep a little blind, just knowing it involved Zax travelling. What I didn’t expect was such a beautiful story of friendship, splashed across dozens, hundreds of different worlds. Told through journal e Doors of Sleep follows Zax Delatree through many worlds, each time he falls asleep he awakens in a new world. Constantly travelling, meeting friends and making enemies along the way, as he tries to leave a little bit of himself and make each world a better place when he can. I went in to Doors of Sleep a little blind, just knowing it involved Zax travelling. What I didn’t expect was such a beautiful story of friendship, splashed across dozens, hundreds of different worlds. Told through journal entries that Zax has been writing, you can an in-depth look at how he feels as he wakes each day in a new place, wondering how this happened, and what he can do. I found the world building just fantastic, even though we get brief glimpses at each place, some a little more than others, the creativity that went in to each place was amazing, how they connected and differed, how Zax feels about each one, and the varying levels of safety and beauty, and danger. Despite being primarily told from Zax, his friends were the real winners of this novel. Minna was such a delightful, brilliant, badass of a character, and the way she adapated and learned was so engaging, just the kind of character everyone would want to be - that’s not even including all of her very specific skills, I just want to be like her for her brilliant and caring ways. My biggest complaint about Doors of Sleep is there is a brief mention of talking cats, and how they could have had one as a companion. I won’t lie that I’m hurt we didn’t get talking cat companions. I think it would have brought a welcomed level of sass to the friend group, and I’m just a sucker for animal companions. So, not a real complaint, I just want every book to have sassy animal companions. I do wish we could have spent more time on each world, but that would have made this a ridiculously large book, so maybe one day we’ll see some novellas of some of the other worlds. I adored this book, and think everyone who has an interest in travels and adventure would get a lot from the amazing places we see, and if you’re looking for strong female characters, Minna should be way up there. An engaging fun book, well worth an afternoon of multiverse adventure.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clover

    This book and its characters and its story are wonderful. I would like to give Tim Pratt a hug and tell him thank you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    Every time Zaxony Delatree falls asleep, he wakes up in another universe, with very few similarities between them, except for perhaps a humanoid biosphere followed by a land of trees birthed with deadly creatures, or a technocratic societal world in the desert followed by one that’s airborne. There’s really no telling the distance of space-time between them, and any world is possible. Zax is on the run from Lector, a man from a previous world who created the linguistic virus, allowing for instant Every time Zaxony Delatree falls asleep, he wakes up in another universe, with very few similarities between them, except for perhaps a humanoid biosphere followed by a land of trees birthed with deadly creatures, or a technocratic societal world in the desert followed by one that’s airborne. There’s really no telling the distance of space-time between them, and any world is possible. Zax is on the run from Lector, a man from a previous world who created the linguistic virus, allowing for instant communication with any living being. But Lector wants more, and like most antagonistic forces, ends up craving absolute power and spilling blood in the process. With the help of an AI and a new companion, both picked up in different worlds as he goes, Zax isn’t entirely alone, even if the multiverse centres around a mystical power only he has access to. Pratt’s imagination is wild and fast; the reader has to keep up with it all. It carries the action, and perhaps helps to disguise the lack of actual narrative momentum and a few obvious clichés. Asides from Lector cropping up and wanting to take Zax’s blood-powers to build some kind of multiverse Empire of his own, there isn’t a great deal for the reader to get hooked on. Thanks to his Doctor Who-like ability, Zax can take comrades between worlds, and his new friend Minna has a refreshing level of humanity that engages well, plus she possesses ingenious magical biotech abilities and can defeat fungal shapeshifters … I hoped Pratt might spend more time expanding on a particular world, rather than the episodic frenzy of hopping between hundreds of universes. But if you love high concept and high tech fantasy that hops endlessly and kicks up plenty of chase in-between, then I don’t see how you could be disappointed in this book. And the way it ends, there’s bound to be a follow-up; I sense Pratt may have a cunning understanding of how to relay the worlds and create new storylines that could, as it were, improve as time keeps ticking.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Gillman

    The possible existence of a multiverse, an infinite string of worlds in which life is the same, but very much not too, in its expression, is, for many people, an entirely alluring idea. To think that out there somewhere exist endless possibilities for life, a great many of which bear no resemblance to our own reality, is appealing in a world where everything seems perpetually, drably the same. For Jaxony Delatree, a man condemned to travel to a new world every time he falls asleep or becomes uncon The possible existence of a multiverse, an infinite string of worlds in which life is the same, but very much not too, in its expression, is, for many people, an entirely alluring idea. To think that out there somewhere exist endless possibilities for life, a great many of which bear no resemblance to our own reality, is appealing in a world where everything seems perpetually, drably the same. For Jaxony Delatree, a man condemned to travel to a new world every time he falls asleep or becomes unconscious, the multiverse is, however, a curse of sorts, each journey, as documented in Tim Pratt’s Doors of Sleep, one life-altering further step away from his home, his family and friends and any sense of reassuring permanence. His peripatetic existence is not of his choosing either, the result of meeting a woman in his professional capacity as a social worker who is there one minute and gone, quite mysteriously, the next. Any idea that the multiverse is a gloriously unexpected kaleidoscope of the new and the exciting and different has long ceased to hold any appeal after three years and over 1000 worlds, and while there are moments of quiet reverie and the thrill of discovery can still make its sizeable presence felt, the reality is that Jaxony aka Jax, whose companions are usually fleeting and too easily distracted or lost, often feels lost, alone and very far from home in the gorgeously-named, though poetically-authoritarian, Realm of Spheres and Harmonies. When we meet Jax, who has become a consummate survivor who can find food and water anywhere, who has been given a beneficial virus by someone which acts as a universal translator for him, and who knows his ways around the stimulants and sedatives necessary to extend his presence in or hasten his departure from a particular world, he is a man beleaguered, someone who tries to find the small joys where he can but who is also rapidly running out of any sense that his is a good and charmed existence. Then he meets Minna and later Vicki (or Vastcool Class Crystal Intellect Three Three Three), whose exact nature is best left to the reading but whose presence in Jax’s life provides the emotional anchor he has long craved and so desperately needed, and who become even more critically important when a Big Bad turns up, one of Jax’s old companions, and embarks on a comprehensively evil plan to mould the multiverse to his own hideously authoritarian design. While the existence of a nemesis does give the narrative some extra impelling grunt, the truth of the matter is that exciting though it is, not simply because of the action it generates but the great moral quandaries it throws up, Doors of Sleep gets along quite beautifully without it too. That’s because this vibrantly emotive novel is, at heart, an exploration of humanity, primarily the good – Jax is a kind and decent man who doesn’t fold into himself, tempting though that might be, but does what he can to help others such as free a race of fabricated beings from dependence on long-departed masters – and occasionally the bad, and how even when life seems perpetually, gloriously wondrous, that we still need a connection to other people or life soon feels empty and hollow, no matter how exotic the locale. Told through Jax’s eloquently insightful diary entries, Doors of Sleep is a gently told story of one man finding himself very alone, and then surprisingly not, and how he discovers that worlds he now inhabits one after the sleep-inducing other, might be part of something far bigger and greater. It is also fantastically, enthrallingly imaginative in a way that excites and delights you as you wonder how one author can come up with so many dizzyingly different possibilities for the expression of life. Jax goes from worlds where cloud forests provide a meditative place to rest and recoup (or mourn, as needs be), where gentle giants roam and where bird-headed people live lives of quiet luxurious perfection or where bucolic paradise holds sway (though with a darker, hidden truth behind it.) He also comes across worlds of ruin clad in colonising crystal, others subsumed beneath life-stopping ice or one where mechanical spiders have taken all life and reduced it to an extinct nothing. These cited worlds are but a small selection of the utterly beguiling array of places that Pratt takes you to, locales rich in sustaining possibility, others lost to the predations of death and hope long extinguished. Pratt brings these worlds alive so fully and completely, sometimes, masterfully, in just a paragraph or two, that he infuses Doors of Sleep with the feeling of a glittering, astonishing travelogue, reminding us that even though Jax is largely inured to the riotous differences he witnesses – but importantly, not completely, meaning the sense of wonder has not wholly departed him – that they are profoundly, fantastically fascinating. And the perfect setting too for a battle between good and evil, which, it will not surprise you to learn may take different forms on different worlds but which is, very much alike in its capacity to either uplift and nourish, or enslave and destroy. Doors of Sleep is many good and wondrous things – it is exquisitely well-written with a perfect balance between raw humanity and spine-tingling action, imaginative beyond belief, offering up worlds so uniquely not of our own that you can’t help but get lost in them (just don’t get too far from Jax; you’ll find out why) and proof that the multiverse is an amazingly diverse place to tell an enrapturing, multi-layered and emotionally resonant story. But most of all, and this is what will grab your heart and soul very quickly, it is winningly, insightfully and relatably human, a novel which knows its way around a thrilling narrative but never forgets that even the most exciting stories need richly-expressed humanity at their core and are all the poorer for its absence. Doors of Sleep has humanity and thoughtful musing on the human condition in bountiful abundance, and while Jax may visit world upon brilliantly or alarmingly different world, this is never lost sight of, with the need for connection and relationship always paramount, proving that no matter where you end up, you always need to feel that you matter, to yourself, and just as importantly, to others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ollie

    Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he wakes up somewhere new. Slipping between realities as he sleeps, Zax is an unwilling explorer of the multiverse who attempts to make the most of his affliction by helping those in need. But a dangerous enemy is on his trail, pursuing him in a way he thought impossible and determined to unlock the bloodborne secrets of his multiverse-hopping abilities – by any means necessary. So begins a game of cat and mouse across hundreds of worlds, a game with the hig Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he wakes up somewhere new. Slipping between realities as he sleeps, Zax is an unwilling explorer of the multiverse who attempts to make the most of his affliction by helping those in need. But a dangerous enemy is on his trail, pursuing him in a way he thought impossible and determined to unlock the bloodborne secrets of his multiverse-hopping abilities – by any means necessary. So begins a game of cat and mouse across hundreds of worlds, a game with the highest stakes imaginable. Opening in the techno-utopian setting of the Dionysius Society, it quickly becomes clear that Doors of Sleep does not lack for imagination. Altered humans party away, with wings, hooves and other cosmetic modifications on display, as recreational drugs are passed around with abandon, all inside the aerial domes which make up a playground for wealthy youths. Meanwhile, the planet below is preyed upon by an unknown entity known as “the Adverse.” Don’t get too used to this setting, as Zax is crashing hard from exhaustion; sleep – and a new world – beckon. Fear not, however, because Pratt just absolutely refuses to run out of ideas for new locations. Worlds with mysterious, long-absent creators. Worlds of uplifted animals. Dead worlds, space stations, dystopias, utopias, post-scarcity worlds, nightmare cities of stalking creatures… Doors of Sleep is a treasure trove of ideas in terms of its settings alone, and that’s before we even come to discuss the finer details and the characters themselves. Each world Zax and his loveable companions visit is another opportunity for a sub-plot, whether it’s helping the local populace overcome a hardship or attempting to outwit Zax’s pursuers. Many of these worlds feel like there’s enough going on to have their own spinoff story, so deft is the worldbuilding. Zax’s former role as a harmonizer – essentially someone who mediates between disagreeing parties – means he is not only driven to resolve conflicts, he’s actually good at it. He would much rather solve problems with discussion rather than violence, or, if discussion fails, some good old-fashioned cunning, which makes him a very relatable character. He isn’t perfect by any stretch, but he also isn’t irritatingly naïve or slow to grasp situations. Of course, a great aid to Zax’s situational awareness is the linguistic virus he was deliberately infected with by a previous travelling companion. This functions in the same practical sense as the Babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, allowing Zax to speak alien languages rapidly, and is one of the many entertaining narrative workarounds to his unusual situation – particularly as the nature of the virus means he can pass it on to others easily. He’s hardly James Bond with a gadget for every situation, but he is resourceful and as prepared as he can be. Just the simple action of restocking his supplies provides endless variety; sometimes he must forage for food and water in a wilderness, on other occasions he has to work out what the local currency is. And let’s not forget, every world has different technology for him to get to grips with and make use of. As useful as gadgetry can be though, it pales in comparison to Zax’s travelling companion Minna. Able to adapt to her surroundings rapidly thanks to her unusual biology, she is practically a walking laboratory, and proves her extreme usefulness from the off. Additionally, she is an absolutely charming character, enraptured by the prospect of adventures with her friend Zax and the opportunity to escape her grim reality. Whilst they don’t always see eye to eye on everything, particularly with regard to how best to deal with Zax’s adversary, they clearly have such affection for each other that it’s impossible not to get invested in their friendship. Others who join Zax along the way – whether friend or foe – are also excellent characters in their own right, but Minna outshines them all with her matter-of-fact reasoning and her gentle philosophising. Its relatively slim size belies just how much Doors of Sleep has to offer. It’s a well-crafted, entertaining slice of escapist science fiction with not a word wasted, an action-packed adventure across a multiverse that promises much and delivers on every count. Hugely enjoyable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Denise Ruttan

    I received this book as an ARC for an honest review from Netgalley. I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved the concept of its multiverse and found it a very creative backdrop for a space opera; on the other hand, it felt as if the author had come up with an amazing setting and strong hook, and realized he needed some conflict, so he added a stereotypical super-villain to the mix. This is the story of Zaxony Delatree, a man with an unusual medical condition that enab I received this book as an ARC for an honest review from Netgalley. I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved the concept of its multiverse and found it a very creative backdrop for a space opera; on the other hand, it felt as if the author had come up with an amazing setting and strong hook, and realized he needed some conflict, so he added a stereotypical super-villain to the mix. This is the story of Zaxony Delatree, a man with an unusual medical condition that enables him to travel between quantum universes in the multiverse simply by falling asleep. In his home universe, a place of plenty with advanced technology, he works as a harmonizer, a kind of mediator. He is only able to stay in one place as long as he is able to stay awake, but he tries his best to help people along the way. He is the epitome of the Lawful Good type character, with a moral code so strong that his flaw becomes self-righteousness and naivete, much like the Jack Ryan character in the Tom Clancy novels. Along the way he learns he can take companions with him if he holds them when he falls asleep, but they must be sedated too, or they go mad traveling between worlds. One of his companions, the Lector, a scientist, travels with him in order to study him, and gives him a linguistic virus that enables him to understand the languages of all the worlds he visits. But the Lector turns out to be an evil megalomaniac who wants to control Zax's ability to jump between universes in order to invade the multiverse as an empire. In turn, the Lector becomes a foil for Zax's Lawful Good nature, the polar opposite of him. Zax picks up companions that help him in his fight against the Lector, although at first it is not a war; just an adventure, traveling between rapidly changing worlds, which lends the effect of the Groundhog Day trope, because of the speed in which he must travel. One of these people is a bio-engineered human who is something like a plant laboratory in a body, named Minna, and a crystal intelligence, named Vicki. I enjoyed the author's multiverse; it was colorful and creative, and almost like a series of interlocking short stories, in a way. But my main knock on this book is the villain. I found the story of their conflict to be predictable. I prefer my villains three-dimensional, with complexities beyond multiverse domination, and I found it hard to care about even Zax defeating this villain, because he was a flat character. But if you like the black-and-white morality of superhero movies or Star Wars, you will probably appreciate the narrative arc of this story much more than I did. In short: Enjoyable enough to finish, but underwhelming, in the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Graculus

    I freely admit to having a bit of a mixed experience with this author in the past - I really like the Marla Mason books but bounced quite hard off the previous sci fi novel of his that I tried, so this was always going to be a bit of a gamble... The basic premise of Doors of Sleep is that our protagonist has discovered that when he falls asleep, he moves to a different universe - by the time we meet Zax, he has already travelled to hundreds of different universes, gaining and losing companions al I freely admit to having a bit of a mixed experience with this author in the past - I really like the Marla Mason books but bounced quite hard off the previous sci fi novel of his that I tried, so this was always going to be a bit of a gamble... The basic premise of Doors of Sleep is that our protagonist has discovered that when he falls asleep, he moves to a different universe - by the time we meet Zax, he has already travelled to hundreds of different universes, gaining and losing companions along the way. He can only take someone with him, he's found, if they're asleep too as being awake does bad things for the brain of the person travelling with him. One of his companions, one he's left behind a while ago called the Lector, was left because he developed designs on Zax's abilities and wanted to use them for his own ends. Naturally, we later discover that the Lector has managed to find a way to do so regardless of this separation and spends a chunk of the book chasing Zax and his current companions through various universes again. There's also some exposition about how they separated in the first place, which makes the plot drag a bit. To be perfectly honest, partway through the book and before the Lector was (re)introduced as an antagonist, I was left thinking 'what exactly is the point of this book?' and wondering where the author was going with it. This was yet another one of those books where I probably wouldn't have carried on with it past a certain point if I hadn't needed to review it. As we get towards the end, things are tied up in a fairly neat package and even one of the bad things discussed earlier turns out to have apparently not been bad after all? Frankly, I'd have been interested more in the early days than this - looking back, Zax describes his experiences when first travelling, unable to understand or communicate before a very convenient language virus made that simpler. The decision to start in media res instead just didn't work as well for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anna Szabó

    There are times I wish I could to other universes just to run from this one. I think most people feels this way sometimes. Zax is someone who actually can. He didn't choose this but he has no choice. Every time he falls asleep he travels to another universe. He can prolong his stay with stimulants but eventually he falls asleep. But he can take people and stuff with him if he hold the person in his arms. The person he holds must be unconscious because if not, it has consequences, the person goes There are times I wish I could to other universes just to run from this one. I think most people feels this way sometimes. Zax is someone who actually can. He didn't choose this but he has no choice. Every time he falls asleep he travels to another universe. He can prolong his stay with stimulants but eventually he falls asleep. But he can take people and stuff with him if he hold the person in his arms. The person he holds must be unconscious because if not, it has consequences, the person goes mad. Why? Sorry, you have to read Doors of Sleep to get an answer. Zax believes he is the only one with this ability, or curse depending on who you ask. There is someone else out there, someone after Jax, someone who wants Zax blood because it is his blood that enables him to travel between worlds. I liked Zax almost immediately. He is a little naive but he kind-hearted and honest, a really good person. He sees the best in people even if the person in question is one of the most narcissistic and evil person in the whole multiverse. Meet the Lector. He is the smartest man in the multiverse, really. He is ambitious, incredibly clever and feels no remorse. He says he is sorry from time to time but those seem empty worlds because he is just too selfish. Minna is the other main character, a positive one. She is fierce, loyal and kind, a real good friend to Zax. The world-building is absolutely amazing. Jax races through hundreds of world and sometimes we only get glimpses of them. I loved these other universes, these other worlds, some are wonderful, some are horrific. I wish Pratt showed us Zax's homeworld. I will read the next book in the series and I highly recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Angry Robot for my copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: Doors of Sleep - Journals of Zaxony Delatree Author: Tim Pratt Publisher: Angry Robot Publication Date: January 12, 2021 Review Date: November 26, 2020 From the blurb: “Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to help him survive are his wits, a few small gadgets, and the people he can take with him, so long as they're unconscious in his Book Review: Doors of Sleep - Journals of Zaxony Delatree Author: Tim Pratt Publisher: Angry Robot Publication Date: January 12, 2021 Review Date: November 26, 2020 From the blurb: “Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to help him survive are his wits, a few small gadgets, and the people he can take with him, so long as they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on Zax's tail, and they are after something he cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, and the power to travel between worlds...” ——— Wow! What an unexpectedly fantastic speculative fiction book. I had never read anything by Tim Pratt before. Now I have a new favorite author. I see that he has many books published, so I look forward to reading more of his writing. This was just incredibly creative. The story concept was creative, and the descriptions of all the worlds Zax slides through are so creative. The characters of Zax and his companions were so fully drawn, as well as the antagonist, The Lecter. I see that Tim has published many books on NetGalley so I will be on the lookout for more of his books in the future. This was one of the best books I’ve read via NetGalley in some time. I’m so grateful to have found another author, new to me. I give this book 5 stars, and highly recommend reading it. Thank you to Angry Robot for giving me access to this book and best of luck to Tim Pratt with his literary career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon. #netgalley #doorsofsleep #zaxonydelatree #angryrobot #timpratt

  25. 4 out of 5

    Celia Reaves

    For reasons that are never explained, Zax developed a problem. Every time he goes to sleep, he wakes up in a different universe. It’s a one-way trip, and he seems to have no control over where he goes. Something ensures that he wakes somewhere he can actually survive, at least in the short term: not inside a wall, or under miles of water, or in the vacuum of space. However, longer-term survival (meaning the next half hour sometimes) is definitely NOT guaranteed. He’s been living like this for ye For reasons that are never explained, Zax developed a problem. Every time he goes to sleep, he wakes up in a different universe. It’s a one-way trip, and he seems to have no control over where he goes. Something ensures that he wakes somewhere he can actually survive, at least in the short term: not inside a wall, or under miles of water, or in the vacuum of space. However, longer-term survival (meaning the next half hour sometimes) is definitely NOT guaranteed. He’s been living like this for years, so he’s been in thousands of universes and is more-or-less resigned to surviving this way. He can take with him anything he can carry, including other people as long as they are within his arms and go to sleep before he does, so he’s had a few companions over the years. The first half of the book moves rather slowly. Zax’s situation is static, despite changing universes with every sleep. Pratt’s creativity in imagining a wildly diverse buffet of worlds, and describing them vividly in a few words, makes this slow setup worthwhile. Eventually a plot develops, involving a Really Evil Bad Guy who does everything but twirl his mustaches or stroke his tidy black goatee. Zax is supported by sidekicks with nearly magical powers, but it’s still a challenge when he never stays anywhere longer than he can stay awake. I found I could like this story well enough as long as I thought of it as an allegory. It didn’t really pull me in, mainly because all the characters were either 100% good or 100% evil, so they didn’t feel real. I also had to keep cranking up my suspension of disbelief, as the mechanism of Zax’s traveling remained unexplained but seemed oddly convenient on occasion. Still, it was worth it for the dazzling creativity of the worlds he visited.

  26. 5 out of 5

    WorldconReader

    Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher, Angry Robot, for kindly providing a review copy of this book. "Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree" by Hugo award winning author Tim Pratt is an adventurous tale of what might happen if an ordinary person suddenly develops the ability (or perhaps the handicap?) of mysteriously shifting into an alternate reality each time they fall asleep. In some ways the concept is similar to TV shows such as Sliders or before that Otherworld. Whatever the Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher, Angry Robot, for kindly providing a review copy of this book. "Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree" by Hugo award winning author Tim Pratt is an adventurous tale of what might happen if an ordinary person suddenly develops the ability (or perhaps the handicap?) of mysteriously shifting into an alternate reality each time they fall asleep. In some ways the concept is similar to TV shows such as Sliders or before that Otherworld. Whatever the mechanism, in each episode or chapter, the characters find themselves in a scenario that may be familiar, totally alien, relaxing, deadly, interesting, boring, etc. In each of these works, the characters struggle to survive, even flourish, understand and hopefully control their situation, and hopefully even do some good. Early in the novel "Doors of Sleep" both Zax, the main character, and perhaps the reader become a bit ungrounded as everything changes rather frequently. However, fortunately for both Zax and the reader, an overall story arc presents itself with sufficient reoccurring characters and goals that make this novel hard to put down. Additionally, Pratt's first person journal style writing pulls the reader into the world and life of the characters, even if they happen to spin around wildly. This was definitely an enjoyable book to read. Readers that enjoy SF with multiple new worlds, ongoing challenges, characters that develop, and a cool mixture of both high tech and biotech will surely enjoy this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ernest

    As soon I started this book, I sighed. "Oh great. Another multiverse novel. Just what I needed." And in truth, it took a few chapters before Zax grew on me enough to really get into the book. He's sort of an Arthur Dent (Hitchhiker's Guide) character stuck in a multi-verse version of Gulliver's travels. Every time he falls asleep, he jumps between universes, never knowing where he'll wake up. This is, of course, handy for the author, because he gets to write about a whole new world every time Za As soon I started this book, I sighed. "Oh great. Another multiverse novel. Just what I needed." And in truth, it took a few chapters before Zax grew on me enough to really get into the book. He's sort of an Arthur Dent (Hitchhiker's Guide) character stuck in a multi-verse version of Gulliver's travels. Every time he falls asleep, he jumps between universes, never knowing where he'll wake up. This is, of course, handy for the author, because he gets to write about a whole new world every time Zax awakes, and move him on when it gets tedious. Fortunately, the necessary elements of the story show up in the form of companions, one a woman with plant DNA grafted in, and the other an AI in the shard of a crystal. Then we get the villain of the piece, a former companion that's out to decode ZZa's secret and rule the multi-verse. So you've got Zax, who was a "harmonizer" in his own world, which is a sort of social worker, and his friends dropping in new worlds and trying to help folks out here and there, and an evil scientist villain, "the Lector" close on their heels doing pretty much the opposite, and on a much larger scale. The worldbuilding is actually fun, once you accept that it's only going to be thumbnail sketches of each, the trio of travelers are sympathetic and engaging, and their peril is very real as the Lector closes in on them with the aim of dissecting our protagonist. Despite my initial skepticism, this multi-verse novel turned out actually be just what I needed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    "Here's the situation. Every time I fall asleep, I wake up in another universe." Twenty-two-year-old Zax hurtles through a complex multiverse in Tim Pratt's Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree. This imaginative adventure stands on the shoulders of classic science fiction action novels like H.G. Wells's The Time Machine and provides as much entertainment. Zak can't explain his predicament, but he knows he's been to more than 1,000 separate universes. Luckily, he stumbles on ways to counter "Here's the situation. Every time I fall asleep, I wake up in another universe." Twenty-two-year-old Zax hurtles through a complex multiverse in Tim Pratt's Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree. This imaginative adventure stands on the shoulders of classic science fiction action novels like H.G. Wells's The Time Machine and provides as much entertainment. Zak can't explain his predicament, but he knows he's been to more than 1,000 separate universes. Luckily, he stumbles on ways to counter the continual existential dangers. He's injected with a linguistic virus that helps him communicate as he jumps worlds. He learns to manipulate drugs, both artificial and natural, that keep him awake for days in hospitable worlds or put him to sleep quickly should danger arise. "Sometimes I need to spin the wheel of worlds again fast," he admits. Zak's also fortunate when he finds friendly life forms that add their own unusual skill sets to his. Vicki, for example, a small crystal life form that is "a tactical and strategic engine," tries to determine why Zak is in this unending loop--and, perhaps, how to stop the process. This is an escapist fantasy with something for everyone. There are close calls, chases, heartbreak and, of course, an evil villain, all within colorful and distinctive worlds. "Traveling is... it's like life, I guess," Zak says. "Sometimes it's wonderful, and sometimes it's terrible, and sometimes it's boring." This fast-paced tale is perfect for anyone looking for sympathetic characters and nonstop action. -reviewed for Shelf Awareness 1/26/21

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aoife

    This is a great sci fi story, really imaginative, with some great lessons thrown in. Admittedly, one of the major lessons is "If you're hurtling helplessly through the multiverse, find a created plant person to bring along because she'll be really useful" but who knows when we'll need to know that! I loved the varied civilisations Zax meets on his travels: some real thought has gone into them, even the ones that we skip past very quickly. These aren't cookie cutter planets, they're distinct and i This is a great sci fi story, really imaginative, with some great lessons thrown in. Admittedly, one of the major lessons is "If you're hurtling helplessly through the multiverse, find a created plant person to bring along because she'll be really useful" but who knows when we'll need to know that! I loved the varied civilisations Zax meets on his travels: some real thought has gone into them, even the ones that we skip past very quickly. These aren't cookie cutter planets, they're distinct and interesting. A whole novel spent on any of them - except maybe that first one, and the first one he's drunk on - would be fantastic in and of itself. I know I kind of made fun of Minna above, but I really did like her; she was clever and funny. There's a touch of Dr Who in this book's DNA, and I liked it. Although the story starts in the middle, it doesn't fall prey to my least favourite trope - No One Talks About What's Going On - because it's presented as a journal and Zax constantly ruminates on his circumstances, so even though you don't know what's happening immediately - unless you've read the blurb - it quickly becomes clear, and the rules are easy to follow. However, I did think that the final cliffhanger came out of absolutely nowhere, wasn't signposted, and seemed like it was just there to be there. Overall? A lot of fun, really clever, and definitely one I recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Aryan

    Imagine a book that is a joyous cross between Quantum Leap and Doctor Who. One where they actually travel to different world and are not limited by TV budgets, or one where they always end up in London, for some reason! Zax has an unusual condition, where every time he falls asleep he wakes up on a new world, in his own body, somewhere in the multiverse. The excitement and wonder of it would begin to wear off after a while and then you get into the really interesting stuff like, if you did that, Imagine a book that is a joyous cross between Quantum Leap and Doctor Who. One where they actually travel to different world and are not limited by TV budgets, or one where they always end up in London, for some reason! Zax has an unusual condition, where every time he falls asleep he wakes up on a new world, in his own body, somewhere in the multiverse. The excitement and wonder of it would begin to wear off after a while and then you get into the really interesting stuff like, if you did that, what would you do with your time? What would you do in each world? Just party every night, forever? Help people? Try to conquer them? Commit crimes and get away with it? This is a fun, interesting, exciting and at times heart-wrenching SF adventure story where Zax explores the infinite, finds himself on wonderful and terrifying worlds. Along the way he picks up and loses companions who want to travel, get bored, or they find a place where they want to stay forever, and so he leaves them behind. The bulk of the story then gets into something darker but still exciting and never too grim. This is an adventure book that demonstrates the author's fertile and amazing imagination. Sometimes Zax blinks in and out of world, but each time Pratt creates something different and weird and wonderful and occasionally scary. Really clever and interesting. I really liked this.

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