The concept of teleportation has been a part of speculative fiction for decades, usually with a certain amount of hand-waving to explain exactly how it works. Sometimes it’s treated as a means to an end, the way in Star Trek the characters could go from the ship to a planet surface or to another ship without a lot of wasted time. But sometimes, as in The Punch Escrow, a new science fiction book by Tal M. Klein, the actual consequences of using a teleportation device are at the heart of the story.

Joel Byram, the protagonist of the book, is an ordinary guy by the standards of his time (the year 2147). He doesn’t need to worry about aging, thanks to nanobots, or about air pollution, thanks to genetically modified mosquitos (come on, wouldn’t you like to read this book just to see mosquitos being useful for a change?), and transportation is simple and fast, thanks to the teleportation industry run by the world’s most powerful corporation, International Transport. He himself is working in the field of artificial intelligence, trying to make machines act more human.  Because human nature hasn’t changed all that much in the next hundred years, he is also trying to save his deteriorating marriage.

And then one day he’s involved in a teleportation accident, and suddenly there are TWO Joel Byrams running around where there should only be one, and his life is a complete mess.  He’s on the run from International Transport, which does not want the actual mechanics of teleportation to be made public, and he’s also on the run from a religious sect that’s trying to destroy teleportation altogether, AND he’s trying to get back to his wife, who at this point doesn’t realize that there are two Joel Byrams when she might not want either of them.



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