Bob Proehl's new book, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, out June 28, transports us into the world of comic cons. If you're a fan of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl or Michael Chabon's Kavalier and Klay, you're going to flip for this book. As someone who identifies very much as a nerd, I certainly fell hard and fast for it.
A Hundred Thousand Worlds follows a cast of characters as they head west across America, following the comic con circuit. At the heart of the story are nine-year-old Alex and his mom, Val, a former sci-fi TV star who is keeping the real reason for their travels a secret from her son. We also meet Gail, a comic book writer who fights to find her place in a world dominated by men. And we also follow Brett, an indie comic book artist who ends up collaborating with Alex on the finish of his series.
One of the most brilliant things about A Hundred Thousand Worlds is that it works on two levels. It's a magnificent story that anyone — regardless of their level of 'nerdiness' — will be hooked by. But, if you're a geek like me, you'll definitely be thrilled by the references to some of our favorite characters and worlds. Here are 7 'geeky' references in A Hundred Thousand Worlds that every nerd will love:
1. The X-Files
A large part of the book is centered around a TV show from the '90s called Anomaly that is so clearly modeled after The X-Files. Val, one of the books main characters, played Bethany Frazer, the Scully of Anomaly, and her ex-husband played Ian Cambell, the Mulder of the show.
2. The Doctor from Doctor Who
Though he's only present for a few moments, you'll catch a glimpse of one of the actors who plays The Curator, a clear analog for The Doctor. He even wears a bow tie.
3. Marvel and DC Comics
The "Big Two" comic book companies are called Timely and National, and they play a huge role in the novel. Many of the characters in A Hundred Thousand Worlds are comic book writers and illustrators, and the politics between the two companies are fascinating.
4. Harry Potter
Alex, the nine-year-old at the center of A Hundred Thousand Worlds, is obsessively reading the Harry Potter analog, Adam Anti, during the course of the novel. Some of the book titles for the Adam Anti series are pretty snarky match-ups to the Harry Potter titles, too. For instance, Adam Anti and Nothing But Flowers.
Of course, we see a lot of comic book characters pop up throughout the story. One of the classics present throughout the novel is Outerman, the double to Superman. Metropolis is also referred to as Metro City.
6. The Justice League
In place of the Justice League, we hear about the Vengeance Troop. So cheeky.
A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl is being published by Viking on June 28, 2016. You can pre-order it now.
Images: Melissa Ragsdale