The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep
by John Hulme & Michael Wexler
Cover Artist: Gideon Kendall
Review by Paul Haggerty
Bloomsbury Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781599901299
Date: 18 September 2007 List Price $16.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Twelve year old Becker Drane has the best job in the world, or perhaps we should say The World. Becker is a Fixer, one of the elite people chosen to work in The Seems, the world behind the world. The place where dreams are made, literally, and then dispatched to sleeping people everywhere. The World only exists because the people of The Seems made it so, all according the The Plan, the original blueprint to which everything must conform. Normally everything goes well and the rain stays mainly in the plains. But sometimes things go wrong, and that's where the Fixers come in. But while sometimes a glitch is just a glitch, sometimes it's sabotage. Because there are people who don't like way The Plan is going, people who want to tear it all down and start again; with themselves in charge, of course. So when insomnia suddenly strikes everyone on Earth, it's a serious matter indeed. Thus newly minted Fixer Drane (37th on the roster) is called in to save the world from The Glitch in Sleep.
Becker can certainly sympathize with the rebels, known as The Tide. His best friend Amy had died of complications during routine surgery. What sense was there in that? Why would the Plan kill an 11 year-old-girl? Well, just like in The World we live in, there are no answers. The Plan is the Plan. It simply is and that's all there is to it, which is a really tough thing to have to swallow. And while The Tide might be able to create a better Plan, is it really worth killing the billions currently living on Earth just to find out? While he can sympathize with them, he can't support them. Especially since they keep causing Glitches that endanger his fellow Fixers as well.
Becker has been studying and practicing. He's all fired up and raring to go. He just knows that he can solve any problem The Seems throws at him. So, when he finally gets his big chance, Becker ends up with one of the biggest Glitches in History, one that's going to go down in the Fixer chronicles. And suddenly, though willing, Becker begins to wonder if he really is up to the task. The Glitch seems to be everywhere at once, effecting multiple portions of the Seems and then fading away before he can get to it, leaving havoc behind, and a lot of disgruntled people. Worse, his best efforts are causing even more trouble as he stumbles through the wreckage the Glitch is leaving behind. Now instead of just patching up a Glitch, he also has to deal with the manipulations of a group of demented scientists experimenting with nightmares, the administration personnel that want his badge, and a mistake which just might destroy the life of another young girl back in the World. Becker is going to need all his skills and just a bit of luck and hope to pull this one off. Because the alternative is the utter collapse of The Plan, and the deaths of every living person on Earth. But even if he saves it this time, there'll be a next time and a next time (as long as the authors keep writing them, of course), because the World is a complex place, the powers of chaos aren't going to give up, and there's just so much that can go wrong when you get a Glitch in the system.
While the plot and characters of The Glitch in Sleep are intriguing and fun, it's the background that really shines here. Hulme and Wexler have created a marvelously nonsensical world which still manages to explain a lot of the weirdness us mere Earthlings have to experience on a daily basis. So the next time a glitch makes you reboot your computer, be thankful The Seems is in good hands. I'd hate to see what would happen if they had to reboot the planet.