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Any Other World Will Do

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In a chance encounter on the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, Vikram Bhat stumbles across a promising new recruit. Miles Townsend, an 18-year-old kid running away from a past he’d just as soon forget, is drawn to the older Indian man, dazzled by Barcelona, and smitten with the Hotel Kashmir’s bartender, Anna de Wit, a Surinamese grad student with a genius for langu In a chance encounter on the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, Vikram Bhat stumbles across a promising new recruit. Miles Townsend, an 18-year-old kid running away from a past he’d just as soon forget, is drawn to the older Indian man, dazzled by Barcelona, and smitten with the Hotel Kashmir’s bartender, Anna de Wit, a Surinamese grad student with a genius for languages and Vikram’s first recruit. Miles and Anna have no idea they’re being recruited. They have no idea that Vikram is neither an Indian nor a man, or that he’s a few thousand light-years from home. He has a lot of secrets, it turns out. But he means well. When a series of bad decisions reveals the fact that Vikram isn’t the only one light-years from home—and this other one does not mean well—Miles and Anna become unwitting ambassadors to Vikram’s world, a place where the locals haven’t got their shit together any better than the people of Earth. A unique coming-of-age story, Any Other World Will Do is inventive, irreverent science fiction, a wry commentary on the primal urge to flee our troubles and the romantic way we remember the journey.


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In a chance encounter on the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, Vikram Bhat stumbles across a promising new recruit. Miles Townsend, an 18-year-old kid running away from a past he’d just as soon forget, is drawn to the older Indian man, dazzled by Barcelona, and smitten with the Hotel Kashmir’s bartender, Anna de Wit, a Surinamese grad student with a genius for langu In a chance encounter on the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, Vikram Bhat stumbles across a promising new recruit. Miles Townsend, an 18-year-old kid running away from a past he’d just as soon forget, is drawn to the older Indian man, dazzled by Barcelona, and smitten with the Hotel Kashmir’s bartender, Anna de Wit, a Surinamese grad student with a genius for languages and Vikram’s first recruit. Miles and Anna have no idea they’re being recruited. They have no idea that Vikram is neither an Indian nor a man, or that he’s a few thousand light-years from home. He has a lot of secrets, it turns out. But he means well. When a series of bad decisions reveals the fact that Vikram isn’t the only one light-years from home—and this other one does not mean well—Miles and Anna become unwitting ambassadors to Vikram’s world, a place where the locals haven’t got their shit together any better than the people of Earth. A unique coming-of-age story, Any Other World Will Do is inventive, irreverent science fiction, a wry commentary on the primal urge to flee our troubles and the romantic way we remember the journey.

44 review for Any Other World Will Do

  1. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    The concept of the plot and the characters are quite interesting. Most part of the story will make you wonder about a particular character called Vikram from the beginning till the end and we would come to know about it as the story goes on. I would say the ending is quite satisfying. I find the story a bit slow while so many things keep happening in between. I just couldn't feel that connected to the characters. Maybe because I do not read sci-fi that much. But yes, the writing is quite accessible The concept of the plot and the characters are quite interesting. Most part of the story will make you wonder about a particular character called Vikram from the beginning till the end and we would come to know about it as the story goes on. I would say the ending is quite satisfying. I find the story a bit slow while so many things keep happening in between. I just couldn't feel that connected to the characters. Maybe because I do not read sci-fi that much. But yes, the writing is quite accessible. I wish I could have a deeper connection with the characters. It's a different read nevertheless. Thank you, author and the publisher, for the advance reading copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cosy_pages

    *Firstly I would like to thank Natgalley for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.* I would like to start by saying that Any World Will do had such an interesting concept. It’s about an alien who comes to earth in search of human ambassadors to take back to his home planet. I don’t read that much sci-fi but I was so interested in the synopsis and I thought the book had so much promise. The world building of the alien planet ‘Our World’ was so fun and I could imagine everything so clear *Firstly I would like to thank Natgalley for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.* I would like to start by saying that Any World Will do had such an interesting concept. It’s about an alien who comes to earth in search of human ambassadors to take back to his home planet. I don’t read that much sci-fi but I was so interested in the synopsis and I thought the book had so much promise. The world building of the alien planet ‘Our World’ was so fun and I could imagine everything so clearly; the islands, the technology, the alien species. It was explained that the two species-human and Yishi- are very similar but I liked watched Miles and Anna discover their customs, food, the way their family systems work, it was all things I hadn’t seen in sci-fi before. The issue for me is the alien species (Yishi) were an intersex bird/human species and whilst this concept is really unique it didn’t really go anywhere. This could’ve been an opportunity to discuss gender and I appreciate that the author did try, but it seemed to me that all of this was more for ‘shock factor’ rather than to have any thought-provoking moments for the reader. The thing that really annoyed me was that since the Yishi are not male or female, this could’ve been a chance to make a great point about using gender neutral pronouns but instead there is a long-winded explanation as to why they all use male pronouns and he/him are just used throughout which was actually a little confusing. In terms of the characters I did really like Vikram’s character. He had little nuances that made him funny, quite relatable (for an alien) and really likeable. Anna on the other hand was clearly intelligent and caring but for most of the book all we really knew about her was that she dated a lot of men. There was a little attempt to show her heritage and background but it just didn’t seem to go anywhere. Then there was Miles... sadly I found him very bland, he just seemed quite grumpy and confused for most of the book and only really makes a contribution in the last couple of chapters. After saying that, I would still recommend giving this a go. I really did enjoy the set-up in Barcelona, the world building on ‘Our World’, the political war set on the alien planet and the general plot was quite fun and interesting. I’d say that overall, I enjoyed this book and I do see parts of it where it could’ve been really great. I just wish certain parts had been executed differently.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Em

    I stumbled across this book recently, and bought it randomly just because the description sounded so original. It has to be the absolute greatest blind purchase I have ever made. I ended up devouring this book in one sitting on a Saturday, while occasionally shouting across the house to my husband, "hey you gotta read this guy--he's great!" The craftsmanship is superb, the story is definitely as original as I imagined it could be, and the wit is priceless! I enjoyed every page. I am an avid, add I stumbled across this book recently, and bought it randomly just because the description sounded so original. It has to be the absolute greatest blind purchase I have ever made. I ended up devouring this book in one sitting on a Saturday, while occasionally shouting across the house to my husband, "hey you gotta read this guy--he's great!" The craftsmanship is superb, the story is definitely as original as I imagined it could be, and the wit is priceless! I enjoyed every page. I am an avid, addicted reader--on average, I read three books a week, often more. As a result, many plot lines & styles can feel predictable to me. What a tremendous joy it is to find something new--not only new & surprising--but beautifully sculpted by an author who clear belabors language & form and cares about perfecting both. This is not your average YA read--this is literature. One element that I found most brilliant about this book is its tone. It's genius. Lubertozzi vacillates between gravely serious commentary on the state of planet wide destruction to faster paced urgency to lighter, relaxed, even humorous passages. It mirrors exactly the American attitudes toward our own environmental & social destruction--we (well...most of us) well know that the environment is already in crisis and the time to act was 50 years ago, so we should darn well be working overtime to mitigate the disastrous impact people have on our planet...but there's a great football game on, and like one of the opening scenes in AOPWD, people stand around drinking cheap beer. If I were still in graduate school, I would have written a conference paper just on this book's tone alone--it's absolutely perfect and it suggests a clear commentary on human nature, Another aspect I loved is the world building of the alien planet, Tonshu. The details are captivating--the descriptions are spectacular, as is the language. The imagery is perfectly balanced--never purple. I didn't want these bits to end. Naturally there's intermingled commentary on our own world to be gleaned from examining the local color of Lubertozzi's alien world, but I also believe it's limiting and an insult to the imagination to hold a work of science fiction up to all of the current social & political standards of our world today, and judge it exclusively thus by imposing our own morality. The parallels Lubertozzi draws are certainly thought provoking, but I appreciated--so very much--that Tonshu's circumstances are unique to that planet. To clarify, I always find it a bit too easy when author's use other worlds to make comments about our world and the other world they use just happens to line up perfectly. That is not the case here--Lubertozzi does not fall into that trap. This is part of what I loved about Tonshu--it is a unique setting onto itself--not just a convenient mirror of Earth with a few neat tweaks & changes. Tonshu is believable--the whole time I was there, the experience felt authentic. Finally, I also appreciated the fact that this is a book that ultimately defies deconstruction. On the surface, Any Other Planet Will Do is essentially a sci-fi novel with a coming of age subplot. But upon further consideration, this book could just as easily be read as a thriller, as an action/adventure novel heavy on the chase scenes. It even has a romance element, however comical...and oh yes, it's loaded with wit & irony. I love genre bending, and AOPWD certainly does just that. Overall, I have already decided to order copies for my sister and two of my friends for the holidays. I plan to reread it in a few weeks after I have let it sink in more. Like a really great Doctor Who episode (RTD era) or a poem by Robert Pinksy, this is the sort of book that deserves more than one reading because there are bound to be things I missed the first time, and the writing is so tight and polished that I know the layered meanings are bountiful and intentional. This book is incredibly satisfying. I don't know what else this author has written, but I'm going to find out. And I hope he writes more!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda Fore Wavers

    First I want to say thanks for I won this book in good reads giveaway. Second it took me a while to read this book. I am not a big “science fiction” fan. But I had a teacher that told me “ if you start a book always finish it because the author is trying to tell you something”. I have stuck with this logic and I finished every book I start. The beginning of the book I was hooked on the story, the details of the towns, countries and people were lovely. The story of finding ones self and our purpose First I want to say thanks for I won this book in good reads giveaway. Second it took me a while to read this book. I am not a big “science fiction” fan. But I had a teacher that told me “ if you start a book always finish it because the author is trying to tell you something”. I have stuck with this logic and I finished every book I start. The beginning of the book I was hooked on the story, the details of the towns, countries and people were lovely. The story of finding ones self and our purpose In life, “where do we go from here” and the discovery of new friends and falling in love ….. nice. Then the “ other world” enters the story line. As with science fiction the author Alex Lunertozzi … takes us on a journey to another world. The lifeforms on “our world” were pleasant and not scary nightmare lifeforms. The meeting and getting to know them was enjoyable. Learning a new language, the life and goals of these lifeforms was different from anything I have read before. But I did finish this novel and glad I pushed to the last page all in all ….. a somewhat pleasant novel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathei

    Really well written. Haven’t finished reading yet but it’s interesting so far - I’m on page 50. I always wanted to backpack through Europe when I was younger but never managed to make it happen. “Any Other World Will Do “ captures the essence of youthful exuberance as some students end up in a cheap hotel in Spain during the 1980s. The setting is explored in detail and the author painted a clear picture of what it would have been like to take my backpack and just wander wherever the next train mi Really well written. Haven’t finished reading yet but it’s interesting so far - I’m on page 50. I always wanted to backpack through Europe when I was younger but never managed to make it happen. “Any Other World Will Do “ captures the essence of youthful exuberance as some students end up in a cheap hotel in Spain during the 1980s. The setting is explored in detail and the author painted a clear picture of what it would have been like to take my backpack and just wander wherever the next train might take me. I’ve reached page 138 and the science fiction portion has begun. Most of the sci-fi books I read lately are about dystopian futures on Earth it’s nice to read a story about aliens again. Alex Lubertozzi’s aliens are introduced not as evil creatures here to conquer earth but as “people” from another planet seeking to collect samples to help them grow more diverse crops because they have ruined their own planet by ignoring climate change. So far I’m really enjoying this. I won’t spoil the story by giving away much more. The author creates an entire world of creatures who don’t look like us but in reality are quite similar. The major difference is that they’re much closer to destroying their planet than humanity has come.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    The story begins quite conventionally, with an Indian author, Vikram Bhat, meeting an eighteen year old British boy on a train from Paris to Barcelona. They strike up an immediate friendship and end up meeting at a hotel in Barcelona where Bhat has taken up residence. The boy also becomes smitten with Anna, a young bartender at the hotel. The novel then begins to take some unexpected left turns, as Vikram, a man of unlimited secrets and powers, recruits the boy and Anna. This mission could take The story begins quite conventionally, with an Indian author, Vikram Bhat, meeting an eighteen year old British boy on a train from Paris to Barcelona. They strike up an immediate friendship and end up meeting at a hotel in Barcelona where Bhat has taken up residence. The boy also becomes smitten with Anna, a young bartender at the hotel. The novel then begins to take some unexpected left turns, as Vikram, a man of unlimited secrets and powers, recruits the boy and Anna. This mission could take the pair a thousand light years from home. I am not reading much fantasy or science fiction these days but I have to admit, that I was immediately drawn into this book and it became a delightful journey of magic and discovery.

  7. 5 out of 5

    LilliSt

    I have received a digital ARC via Netgalley in return for my honest opinion. Thank you! 3 stars - Interesting premise, flawed execution Vikram is not what he seems to be, an Indian anthropologist living in Barcelona above the Hotel Kashmir and not doing all that much. Actually, Vikram is from another Planet and looking for two humans to take along for a trip back home. His people have managed to destroy their own planet as well as another habitable planet in their solar system and are now struggli I have received a digital ARC via Netgalley in return for my honest opinion. Thank you! 3 stars - Interesting premise, flawed execution Vikram is not what he seems to be, an Indian anthropologist living in Barcelona above the Hotel Kashmir and not doing all that much. Actually, Vikram is from another Planet and looking for two humans to take along for a trip back home. His people have managed to destroy their own planet as well as another habitable planet in their solar system and are now struggling along on a few scattered islands on a planet wrecked by natural desasters, political struggles and not much of a plan how to fix all this. He decides to take along Anna, his flatmate of some years, a young Surinamese who has seen quite a bit of the world already, and Miles, still almost a child, who has come travelling from Chicago to run away from things for a while. Together they will have quite a few adventures and maybe there will be a ray of hope for Vikram's home in the end. So, sounds like a great premise, right? And it is and the actual telling of the story is all right, for sure. There were just a couple of issues that made me enjoy this one less than I could have. I'll just list them in bullet points: - The sex: seriously, there is so much sex and sex-adjacent stuff mentioned in here that is 100% irrelevant. We hear repeatedly about Anna and Miles having the hots for each other but this info is just kind of there, it doesn't contribute anything to the character development or the plot. Other characters also have lots of sex. Then there is the exhausting descripton of the pornography in Danevesu - which could be social commentary, but it is not done smartly enough for that. Again, it's just there and weird. Oh, and did I mention that wormholes are called "arseholes"? - The aliens are basically humans who look a little like birds as well. But they have boobs and "shapely" hips and also a penis (they are hermaphrodites). Again, this could have been used for commentary on the social implications of sex and gender (and the author does try to go there), but it doesn't succeed, so mostly there is just lots of talk about boobs and hips and large penises. - The very high level of anthropomorphism generally was a huge negative for me: the aliens are shaped like humans and they even have DNA and everything. Their mannerisms, communication patterns and social structures also are very much human. This one was a big immersion killer for me. - Anna: she is a great character - smart, capable and able to stand up for herself and others. She enjoys having sex (as we are reminded repeatedly, see above), but I really don't think that should mean such a character should just hook up with just about any guy coming her way. The way she is described you would think she would have better taste in men than jerks and nothingburgers. - That brings us to Miles: Miles is just ... not much of anything. He has nothing significant to contribute to the story but one good idea in the end. Other than that I cannot tell whatsover who this guy is. But he's horny a lot, so I guess that's something? Now, this is not to say that this is a bad book at all. It is perfectly fine, but I feel like the material had so much potential to be more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    Ok, can I ask? When you've created a species of intersex avian aliens who are fully hermaphroditic, why then come up with a convoluted and very specious explanation for why they all refer to themselves using masculine pronouns when they speak English? Why not just use "they"? I'm finding this a pretty fun book, except for this inexplicable refusal to acknowledge the nonbinary pronoun. Ok, can I ask? When you've created a species of intersex avian aliens who are fully hermaphroditic, why then come up with a convoluted and very specious explanation for why they all refer to themselves using masculine pronouns when they speak English? Why not just use "they"? I'm finding this a pretty fun book, except for this inexplicable refusal to acknowledge the nonbinary pronoun.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Abery

    I liked this read even though I dont usually read scifi. it was a little slow sometimes and the characters could've been more interesting, but the plot and idea kept me hooked enough to overall enjoy the read. the cover is what drew me in, I wont lie, but Lubertozzi writes well even if some parts of the book as a whole left me wanting. would still recommend, especially if you like scifi. I liked this read even though I dont usually read scifi. it was a little slow sometimes and the characters could've been more interesting, but the plot and idea kept me hooked enough to overall enjoy the read. the cover is what drew me in, I wont lie, but Lubertozzi writes well even if some parts of the book as a whole left me wanting. would still recommend, especially if you like scifi.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joseph N. Welch

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aj

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helen Martch

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ada

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ish

  18. 5 out of 5

    Midu Hadi

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex Helm

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tess

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bayan Sh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori Bennett

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert Fontenot

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Phung

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bailey S.

  31. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  32. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  33. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  34. 5 out of 5

    Janine

  35. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  36. 5 out of 5

    Bri

  37. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Adams

  38. 5 out of 5

    Emily Martin

  39. 5 out of 5

    Astrid Galactic

  40. 5 out of 5

    saharah

  41. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  42. 4 out of 5

    Lo

  43. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

  44. 5 out of 5

    becca

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