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A Universe Less Traveled

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  35 reviews
What if there were another world, almost like ours, but not quite? It brushes up against us, like the tail end of a dream, but stays just barely out of reach.

What if you found a way to go there?

Billy Boustany stumbles upon the ability to slip into a surprising new version of the city where he has lived his entire life. He begins a journey that is most fun he’s had in years
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 10th 2020 by Weeping Willow Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Thomas Schlafly
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Eric von Schrader’s novel combines an engaging plot with insightful commentary on 21st century life in his home town of St. Louis. Just as Jonathan Swift imagined faraway places for his commentary in Gulliver’s Travels; and George Orwell imagined a dystopic future in 1984, von Schrader imagines an alternative version of St. Louis superimposed on the current footprint of the City. Instead of looking to the future, like Orwell, or to unexplored parts of the globe, like Swift, von Schrader looks sl ...more
Charles E
Billy Boustany, heir to Duke’s Digital stores, a St. Louis electronics retail chain founded by his charismatic, eccentric, and well-known TV celebrity father, “Big Hearted Bill,” wakes up one day to find himself on the losing end of a changing world. His customers are picking his brain for the best electronics, then making their purchases online. His stores are going out of business.
To gather himself, Billy decides to visit his childhood home in a historic St. Louis neighborhood. Walking the f
Sheila Mac Donough
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'll admit to a soft spot for parallel universe stories. I love them. A Universe Less Travelled delivered a world that invites you in and makes you want to stay. I've never been to St.Louis, but it didn't matter; every bit of the city -and its twin- was vividly described and easily pictured. It had utopia, dystopia, going back and forth in time, love and family.

I like books with several characters and PoVs and there were quite a few in this story. Billy was sweet and relatable, flawed and imper
Janna M
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for a good parallel universe story; bonus points if it has a well-written star-crossed lovers angle. This novel covers all the bases: utopia, dystopia, secret societies, history, scientific advances, mysterious sisters who finish each other's sentences. But A Universe Less Traveled somehow manages to not cross the line into cliche.

Although I'll admit I didn't quite like him at first, I warmed up to Billy Boustany as he explored and stumbled and made unlikely friends. He didn't dig d
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
The story starts right off with amusing correspondence about mistaken identity in the early twentieth century. Then readers are brought to the year 2010 with Billy, the protagonist, who owns an electronics store. Little details bring his story and his world to life, and there are lot of them.

From Billy’s point of view, strange things are happening, places he clearly remembered are disappearing. How could that be?

We’re also brought into the world of Jim Hines, during the Crash before the Great De
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you see this book, you'll know I already read it, since there's a blurb on the back cover written by me raving about how good it is. But I wanted to read it again in an actual print copy, and experience once again this enjoyable this tale of parallel world versions of St. Louis. If you're a native of my town, or even just somebody who's been here for a while at some point, you'll find tons of reference points to make you smile. The Veiled Prophet organization has its name changed, and there i ...more
claire martin
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a free copy from voracious readers only for an honest review.

What an interesting concept. Two cities existing in the same time and space but completely different.

I liked the way the chapters were dated so you could see the development of the second city. The characters were neatly interwoven but I felt some characters could have been developed a bit more, ( unless there's a second book where we find out more).

An enjoyable but of escapism in the crazy times we're currently living in.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed now. This imaginative novel is a clever mix of adventure, history and sci-fi world-building. It's well written with engaging and realistic characters - one of which is the city of St Louis - a place I've never visited, but enjoyed learning about. I had no idea where the twists and turns of the story would lead, but loved the quirky ending.

Kick back and let this book take you on an adventure away from your everyday reality.
Gary Olson
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is my first parallel universe novel. Found it entertaining. I grew up in Kansas and St. Louis was in our backyard. Thought it was well written with compelling characters--Billy became more likable as the story unfolded. I appreciated the way Eric developed the multiple story lines. Overall it was a fun read.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really enthralling story that combines a down to earth St. Louis with time travel and science fiction.
It doesn’t take itself too seriously but makes some serious points. Great characters and sly sense of humor.
Read it.
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"It's a page-turner for everyone, with one surprising event and interesting character after another. I didn't stop reading until I hit the last page at 2 a.m. History and architecture buffs will love the story's details and layers. St. Louis locals and visitors will want to trek the routes to those "special spots" themselves. Read the book and meet Billy, Meredith, Diyami and the rest. Then, get in line for a walking tour -- and Book Two!" JC ...more
Cheryl Roberts
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely thought provoking book. Really enjoyed the characters and how they all interacted. Couldn't put it down. ...more
moe moellering
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Universe Less Traveled was great fun to read. It started a bit slow, but picked up soon enough and was a delightful adventure into Saint Louis as it is: kind of sad in many ways, and what might have been....which was an idealist's dream of joy and enlightenment. I really appreciated the diversity, the general decency, the intelligent creativity of plot and characters and the overall light-heartedness of this book. The fondness for historic Saint Louis was heartfelt and is appreciated by one wh ...more
Roy DeRousse
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you know St. Louis, love science fiction, or love alternate universe stories, "A Universe Less Traveled" is the book for you. If you love all of those things, you will love the book even more!

In the alternate St. Louis, events happened that turned the city into a social and economic world powerhouse. It would be a great place to live. The book follows one man who manages to cross over into that St. Louis and how that affects him, his family, and the other world. It contains MANY references to
Robert Duffy
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: one

I shy away from science fiction because life in the real world so boggles the imagination that I needn't go hunting for literary trouble. Today's mess is monumentally confounding, and presents a reality even the finest science fiction practitioner might find difficult to conjure up.

However, Eric von Schrader's "A Universe Less Traveled, " in a less troubled, less frightening moment in recent world history, is reassuring in its way with its hope that goodness can prevail.

"Universe" Is a meticul
Jay Brandt
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Seldom does a book capture my attention in the first chapter, much less the first couple of pages. I am accustomed to having to endure a long introduction period before slowly finding my way into a story, but this wasn't the case with "A Universe Less Traveled". Beginning with the cryptic notes of a 1908 secret society brought me directly into the mystery of what would be a tale spun with skill and consummate story telling.

As an avid fan of Mark Twain I love the spinning of a good tale and this
Huntley Barad
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually interested in traveling in a new universe. I have enough issues with the one I live in, and usually I expect another universe to be even worse. I loved traveling in "A Universe Less Traveled" though.

I know it's wrong, but I'm a bedtime reader. For the most part, I leave my recreational reading to my last hours of the day, when I'm flat on my back. This book drew me onto the couch, during the day, until I finished it, because I enjoyed it so much. For me to enjoy a novel, I need
Joe Hasenmueller
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book to read, particularly if you're from St. Louis. Eric von Schrader offers up an enjoyable alternative to the challenges and uncertainties that plague many rust belt cities today. What if there was a place where there was little to no crime? What if there was a place where small businesses could grow and flourish? What if we could continually build on what’s good in our lives and never experience the downsides? What if life was a never-ending party? This book introduces y ...more
Patty  W
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's cinematic, imaginative, well-paced, and suspenseful. You'll meet some wonderful characters. I rooted for them as they led me through a series of adventures through different time periods and realities, and they've stayed with me long after I finished the book. This was a very satisfying read--humorous, inventive, and moving. ...more
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
A Universe Less Travelled is a story of two parallel earths. Throughout history various people have found ways to cross over into the other one. Billy, an unhappy 40 electronics salesman discovers he can travel between the two worlds. It's all fun and games until the Knights Carnelian catch on to him. Soon it's all chaos and his daughter's life may be in danger.

I found the different time shifts and different characters in this work interesting. In particular Jim from the 1930s and how he set up
Dennis M
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the opening sentence, A Universe Less Traveled, grabs and holds your attention, making it a difficult, if not impossible, book to put down. Be prepared to miss sleep and a meal or two once you begin reading this book.

Multiple story lines emerge, engage you, slip into the background as the next story line comes front and center and then reemerge as the story lines blend to tell a tale of two parallel universes, one "as is" it and one "as it could be." Woven in this easy-to-read narrative
Robin Starr
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An imaginative journey that relies on everyday people each with their own personal struggles to stir the imagination of what might have been and what still could be. Expect to be challenged as you follow all the characters who end up being connected in unexpected, yet purposeful ways. You’ll find lots twists and turns along the way as the author cleverly weaves together the past and present with the dreams of a more exciting world. The denouement is carefully crafted to explain everything to the ...more
Kim Block
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While you don’t need to be a St. Louisan to enjoy Eric von Schrader’s A Universe Less Traveled, his observations of the failures and successes of his hometown echo within a landscape of a real and an imagined city: between the “what is” and the “what if.” Filled with memorable characters, this fast-paced story delights in teasing the reader’s sense of place and time. His central character, Billy Boustany, unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe; one which initially offers an escape from al ...more
Mark Tucker
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Original concept with tremendous detail and compelling characters. Von Schrader’s understanding of everything from complex communications to ancient Indian cultures is matched with a perceptive sense of human relationships and frailties, all of which come together to produce an interesting story that teaches as well as it entertains.
Thomas Conway
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Original, vivid, exciting, and fun. Great settings and descriptions. Takes you to another world, the way Back to the Future, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and other delightful books and movies do. You will have to pay attention to the frequent time shifts, but I believe you will enjoy reading this book. I enjoyed it.
John Shugert
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this being set in my home town St. Louis!👍
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-read
"Like most St. Louisans, Billy spent little time downtown. He attended baseball and hockey games, of course, and he brought out-of-town visitors to see the Arch. That was about it. When he first took over the store, he bankers and lawyers, were mostly downtown, but they had long since moved to the suburbs, just as his business had."

I live in St. Louis so this book got on my radar because of the location, and I'm not sure I would have found or read it otherwise. And who isn't entranced by alterna
Eric Schrader
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Why you should read A Universe Less Traveled:
First and foremost, it’s a lot of fun and you will almost certainly enjoy it. The high ratings and positive reviews on Goodreads from happy readers make that pretty clear. In addition, I (the author) have received many emails from readers who can’t stop thinking about the book and want to ask questions and talk about it.
It’s a page-turner that you won’t want to put down and a great escape from the troubles of 2020. The story moves along briskly from o
Robert W.

By Robert Duffy


I shy away from science fiction because life in the real world so boggles the imagination that I needn't go hunting for literary trouble. Today's mess is monumentally confounding, and presents a reality even the finest science fiction practitioner might find difficult to conjure up.

However, Eric von Schrader's "A Universe Less Traveled, " in a less troubled, less frightening moment in recent world history, is reassuring in its way with its hope that goodness can prevail.

Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was an enjoyable read that was hard to put down once it got going. I felt like this book had a slow start to get into the groove of the main story; however, once it did, the story was unique and interesting. I didn't mind the details that slowed the beginning because the story circles back to that information later in the story.

The concept of slightly overlapping universes and the ability for certain individuals to cross
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In my career, I have made documentary films and produced television shows. I work as an instructional design consultant. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent most of my life there. I have always been fascinated by the older parts of the city and their echoes of a lost world.
A few years ago, my wife and I moved to Carpinteria, California. I've always wanted to live by the ocean.

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