A Universe Less Traveled
By Eric von Schrader
When Billy Boustany stumbles upon the ability to slip into a surprising new version of his sleepy midwestern city, he begins a journey that is most fun he’s had in years. Then it turns into an obsession that upends his life, his family, and everything he knows.
A Universe Less Traveled tells Billy’s story, framed by tales of other accidental visitors to this mysterious city.
Looking for an escape from the troubles of his failing business, Billy discovers a teeming metropolis with iridescent skyscrapers and throngs of immigrants and tourists from all over the world. As he explores, he meets peculiar allies and experiences raucous celebrations. Billy questions his sanity as he struggles to make sense of this bizarre world.
Billy also meets a formidable enemy – the Knights, a shadowy organization with a mission to keep people like him out of their world. When his daughter disappears at the hands of the Knights, Billy and his wife go on a frantic search to find her in the other city. It leads to heartbreak, then to a new beginning.
Kirkus Reviews says:
"Von Schrader’s debut novel should especially captivate readers familiar with St. Louis, but even those unacquainted with the city will find this parallel-worlds yarn worth a visit.... Von Schrader’s prose is butter smooth, and the chronological jumps the narrative makes back and forth throughout history (in both universes) are never tangled or confusing. An enjoyable, gentle fantasy that gives new meaning to the phrase 'Spirit of St. Louis.'”
"I read A Universe Less Traveled in two days, which I never do. It's an intriguing novel of ideas and a lively adventure yarn as well, told in a brisk, readable style."
— David Carkeet, author of I Been There Before, The Full Catastrophe and other novels
“What if there existed a better, more successful, happier St. Louis than the one we know? A place where men wear shorts in the summer, a place where people sometimes break into song and street parties are a must-see for the tourists who flock to St Louis from all over the world. What would a visitor from our St. Louis think of that St. Louis — and what would the people of that St. Louis think of us? It's hard to come up with original ideas, but Eric von Schrader has done it. A wistful take on our continuing angst of what we might have been.”
— Bill McClellan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“There have been many tales of parallel worlds, but few have offered this much heart, imagination, and good old-fashioned storytelling fun.”
— Steve Pick, Co-author of St. Louis Sound: An Illustrated Timeline