Title: The Twin Powers
Author: Robert Lipsyte
(This is a sequel to The Twinning Project)
Half-alien twins Eddie and Tom live on parallel Earths, one in 1958 and one in 2012. But life hasn’t changed much after their brief adventures . . . until a new alien shows up at school, and the boys discover the Primary Race which monitors them and the planets plans to destroy the Earths. Now they must master their powers and find the answers before it’s too late.
I liked the first book despite some big problems in worldbuilding. This one takes more care over its prose, but the plot takes a nosedive and the already shaky setting pretty much gives up in favor of dialing everything up to 11.
So: boys back in their own times, on their own Earths, having done pretty much nothing since the close of the last book, then run into Hercules, who humiliates them and tells them to learn how to use their powers. This part isn’t so bad—it’s what I wanted to happen after the teases in the previous book. The actual powers are not very well explained, other than “whatever I want to happen, within some limits,” so it’s not clear how they actually work (psionics, mostly, but then there are a number of places where they manipulate light or otherwise make material changes, so who knows).
Then . . . we’ve apparently forgotten about poverty and hunger as issues in favor of climate change and nukes being the big scary forces out to destroy the earth. And the Tech-Off Day/Week has now gotten so big Eddie is repeatedly on television about it and even goes to Washington (when in real life I think a small subset of people might really appreciate it and most of the rest of the world would just laugh at him or shrug him off and continue their lives). And then we get the government goonies who have somehow figured out aliens are involved in all this and start making trouble for everyone.
And that was pretty much where the plot completely lost me. The federal agents are, of course, officially government sanctioned and have no problem with kidnapping and torturing 13-year-old kids, grilling them for information about aliens. I pretty much started laughing when said agency then decides to throw non-astronauts on a rocket launching to meet a mysterious spaceship that presumably belongs to aliens (there is so much wrong with this picture I can’t begin to start or I’ll go off for pages). Or when the alien planet is apparently so close that a shuttle can get there in a few hours. (Bonus: What force destroyed the alien planet? Climate change! *headdesk*)
And then how everyone fixed the problem by stopping a particular test in the desert . . . The time frame is all wrong, for one. Nuclear bombs had already been used in WWII, and this is 1958. If they truly wanted to stop nuclear power they’re a few decades late to the party. Although that still bases everything on the assumption that the second, supposedly separate Earth is actually a mirror of the primary Earth (which given the explanation of how it was created, still makes no sense).
Anyway. I was hoping for something I could laugh at even if it didn’t hold up well to a closer inspection, but the only laughter I could summon was in disbelief. I rate this book Not Recommended.