Set in Seattle, Steve Toutonghi’s second novel is a dazzling, intriguing, and philosophical blend of literary science fiction—perfect for fans of Blake Crouch, Philip K. Dick and Ex Machina—explores parallel universes and raises questions about reality, free will, and the meaning of a human life.
Vin, a down-on-his-luck young tech entrepreneur forced out of the software company he started, takes a job house-sitting an ultra-modern Seattle mansion whose owner has gone missing. There he discovers a secret basement lab with an array of computers and three large, smooth caskets. Inside one he finds a woman in a state of suspended animation. There is also a dog-eared notebook filled with circuit diagrams, beautiful and intricate drawings of body parts, and pages of code.
When Vin decides to enter one of the caskets himself, his reality begins to unravel, and he finds himself on a terrifying journey that raises fundamental questions about reality, free will, and the meaning of a human life.
"Toutonghi makes the multiple-worlds theory come alive in this swift moving mind-bender with imperfect, emotionally unstable characters who struggle with the impact their choices have on reality. Readers will have to decipher what is real before they can figure out what is happening. Highly imaginative, highly recommended." — Library Journal, Starred Review
"Toutonghi's second novel explores ideas of consciousness and parallel universes in ways that are intellectually engaging. This exploration of parallel worlds is a thrilling thought exercise." — Publishers Weekly
"The twists and turns of this novel will keep readers engaged while perhaps contemplating what they understand about reality and their ability to influence it." — Booklist
"An incredible work of science fiction. Stephen Toutonghi has managed to put a bold new spin on time travel and alternate realties while grounding his book in strong, believable characters. Side Life is original, thought-provoking, and just really freaking good." — Daniel Price, author of Slick and the Silvers series
"Like Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Toutonghi m anages to break and repair your brain while telling an intensely human story. Challenging and satisfying in equal measure." — Sean Ferrell, author of Man in the Empty Suit and Numb
"If you were in a secret computer lab and discovered a trio of large caskets, would you climb into one of them just to see what might happen? If so, you should apply for a grant right away and join our friend, Vin, in his research. But you might not want to discover the truth about the missing man in the Seattle tech mansion or anything else involved in your house-sitting-job cum mystery, after all. Just sayin'. Poet and Seattle techie, Steve Toutonghi, here gifts us with a book to blow our minds and keep us up at night. Wow, what a ride!"— Linda B., Auntie's Bookstore
A native of Seattle, Steve Toutonghi studied fiction and poetry while completing a BA in Anthropology at Stanford. After various professional forays, he began a career in technology that led him from Silicon Valley back to Seattle. He is the author of a previous novel, Join.