by Kristine Williams
available on Lulu.com
Daniel's uncle Frank was a man with a penchant for the fantastic. He was certainly a source of great stories that Daniel fondly recalls from his childhood. But there were also props, toys and objects that his uncle claimed were proof that his fantastical stories were true after all.
When Daniel inherits his uncle's house, he does not expect to receive a key that opens a doorway into an alternate reality and adventure. But when Daniel uses the strange key on the key ring to the house, he falls out of his reality and right into the path of oncoming traffic. The traffic altercation brings Daniel and Ian Foster to the attention of Sheriff Murphy, who interprets Daniel's disoriented behavior as proof of his otherworldly status. He's had plenty of experience, for there were others, visitors from Daniel's world, who had come passing by on their travels through Ether. Daniel has a problem, however; in order to get back home, he must use the key, but his key is left back in his reality, still stuck in the door lock. His only hope now is to find another key, hidden somewhere in Ether.
Soon, Daniel faces his new reality and a quest for the second key, traveling through Ether courtesy of Ian Foster and his balloon ship, which is not completely unfamiliar to Daniel—he had seen it before, a model of it in his uncle's house. Their journey takes them to a giant forest, where people dwell inside trees hollowed out by enormous worms. Daniel takes part in a worm hunt and earns a tooth keepsake from the beast.
Each environment they pass through offers some sort of danger. In the swamp there is the Tree of Lives, a particularly nasty things that uses the sense of the victims for its own. And in the maze there is the mold that can make you forget your name, then more, until you forget to live. Then there are the zombified, who have lost their memories due to the spores, roaming the maze aimlessly until they die.
Ether is an imaginative adventure story that's worth checking out if you love Dr. Who or watched Sliders or the Stargate series. Though smaller in scope, Ether still manages to be entertaining for those who love the idea of traveling between different worlds.