Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for InterWorld



1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Eos, ©2007.
Physical Description:
239 pages ; 22 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
At nearly fifteen years of age, Joey Harker learns that he is a Walker, able to travel between dimensions, and soon joins a team of different versions of himself, each from another dimension, to fight the evil forces striving to conquer all the worlds.
Reading Level:
13 and up.
Added Author:


Call Number

On Order



When Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman and Emmy Award winner Michael Reaves teamed up, they created the bestselling YA novel InterWorld.

InterWorld tells the story of Joey Harker, a very average kid who discovers that his world is only one of a trillion alternate earths. Some of these earths are ruled by magic. Some are ruled by science. All are at war.

Joey teams up with alternate versions of himself from an array of these worlds. Together, the army of Joeys must battle evil magicians Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo to keep the balance of power between all the earths stable. Teens--and tweens and adults--who obsessively read the His Dark Materials and Harry Potter series will be riveted by InterWorld and its sequel, The Silver Dream.

Author Notes

Neil Gaiman was born in Portchester, England on November 10, 1960. He worked as a journalist and freelance writer for a time, before deciding to try his hand at comic books. Some of his work has appeared in publications such as Time Out, The Sunday Times, Punch, and The Observer. His first comic endeavor was the graphic novel series The Sandman. The series has won every major industry award including nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, three Harvey Awards, and the 1991 World Fantasy Award for best short story, making it the first comic ever to win a literary award.

He writes both children and adult books. His adult books include The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which won a British National Book Awards, and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel for 2014; Stardust, which won the Mythopoeic Award as best novel for adults in 1999; American Gods, which won the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, SFX, and Locus awards; Anansi Boys; Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances; and The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction, which is a New York Times Bestseller. His children's books include The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish; Coraline, which won the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla, the BSFA, the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Bram Stoker awards; The Wolves in the Walls; Odd and the Frost Giants; The Graveyard Book, which won the Newbery Award in 2009 and The Sandman: Overture which won the 2016 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-At 16, Joey Harker has just realized that he can literally walk into alternate realities. He quickly discovers that versions of himself from other worlds can also live on a secret base known as InterWorld. From here, an army of Joeys, of all different ages and characteristics, battle two evil groups bent on ruling all the earths in the Altiverse. The HEX uses magic, the Binary relies on science, while the Joeys fight to maintain the naturally occurring balance of these forces. These dueling factions make for a unique representation of good and evil, and the book's setting is equally imaginative. The "In-Between," a colorful, chaotic realm where Picassoesque objects morph in and out of existence, is described with vivid graphic imagery. The explanations of the In-Between and other dimensions gradually make sense to readers, as they do to Joey, who is at first realistically skeptical. Packed with harrowing chase scenes through these fascinating realms, the plot moves quickly from the initial explanations to Joey's training on InterWorld, to his climactic confrontation with Lord Dogknife, the grotesque leader of the HEX. With his sarcastic sense of humor and superhuman abilities, Joey is a hero whom teens, even reluctant readers, will cheer for.-Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

This parallel universe adventure would surely have been more exciting when its authors first conceived it in 1995; today it feels somewhat like a gee-whiz amalgam of The Matrix, comic book multiverses and Ender's Game. High-schooler Joey Harker has a terrible sense of direction; during a field trip he gets lost and ends up in a world where the McDonald's arches are green plaid, his mother doesn't recognize him and everything has been altered to varying degrees. He is rescued by a mysterious man named Jay (who looks like an older version of Joey) and learns that he has "Walked" between two of millions of coexisting worlds, landing in one where he drowned a year earlier. Joey finds himself the target of two warring peoples-one technology-driven, the other possessing mystical abilities-who capture Walkers like himself to harness their power. The action takes Joey to an academy at InterWorld, where hundreds of other kids who resemble him (and who all have the initials J.H.) train to "defend and protect the Altiverse from those who would harm it or bend it to their will." Gaiman devotees, used to headier stuff, may be disappointed. Ages 10-up. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Middle School, High School) When Joey Harker takes a wrong turn and steps outside his reality, he learns that his world exists within the Altiverse, a near-infinity of Earths existing in parallel dimensions and governed by systems of magic or science, depending on their relative dimensional location. Only Joey and his equivalents can walk between worlds; as such, they are the force maintaining balance between HEX and the Binary, two imperialistic superpowers (one magical, one technological) seeking to control the Altiverse. Unfortunately, the Joeys are also both empires' sole source of fuel for interdimensional travel. Thus begins an adventure certain to appeal to Percy Jackson fans. Filled with bizarre imagery, innovative world-building, and breathless action, InterWorld is equal parts survival escapade and David-and-Goliath epic. The authors' efficient, understated characterizations create a distinct array of personalities that, being born from a single type, reflect back from each character to illuminate his or her home world. Humor occasionally surfaces, as when Joey, told to stop staring at the ""two things"" that make a female counterpart so different from him, explains, ""It's just, where I come from, nobody has wings""; the pathos of Joey's immutable homesickness is another defining undercurrent in this fiercely creative sci-fi page-turner. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

A lad discovers that he can walk between alternate Earths and is swept up in a war between them in this fast-paced, compulsively readable tale. Joey gets lost in his own house, but when he steps into a patch of fog and finds himself in a world where he died, a trillion Earths lie open to him arranged in a vast arc, with an empire of science-based planes at one end and a realm where magic rules at the other. Recruited into an army of anything-but-identical Joeys gathered from many of these worlds and charged with maintaining the balance of power, Joey picks up companions both human and non as he travels the multidimensional In Between that links the sprawling Altiverse. In this first of what could and should be many episodes, Joey finishes his basic training by doing battle with melodramatically evil magic workers Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo. Vivid, well-imagined settings and characters compensate for weak links in the internal logic of this rousing sf/fantasy hybrid.--Peters, John Copyright 2007 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

AS someone whose subway rides tend to resemble scenes from an "Evil Dead" movie, in which I am Bruce Campbell dodging zombies who have had all traces of their humanity sucked out of them by a sinister book - not the "Necronomicon," but "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" - I sometimes wonder how any self-respecting author of speculative fiction can find fulfillment in writing novels for young readers. I suppose J. K. Rowling could give me 1.12 billion reasons in favor of it: get your formula just right and you can enjoy worldwide sales, film and television options, vibrating-toy-broom licensing fees, Chinese-language bootlegs of your work, a kind of limited immortality (L. Frank Baum who?) and - finally - genuine grown-up readers. But where's the artistic satisfaction? Where's the dignity? In an interview about his novel UN LUN DUN (Del Rey/Ballantine, cloth, $17.95; paper, $9), China Miéville provides a far more persuasive answer to my question: in the books he writes for adults, Miéville says, "I couldn't use a character with a bottle of ink for a head." If you already know this 35-year-old Londoner for Gothic novels like "King Rat" or short stories like "Familiar" (in which a spell-caster conjures a protean, sluglike companion from his own body tissues and fluids), then you understand he's not the most logical candidate to be given unfettered access to the impressionable minds of children. And if you know Miéville for his rousing socialist critique of J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" (he has referred to Tolkien's "profoundly backward-looking reaction, based on a rural idyll that never existed"), it won't surprise you that "Un Lun Dun," a buried treasure from 2007 that recently arrived in paperback, is one of the most imaginative young adult novels of the post-Potter era. His "UnLondon," discovered in the book by two schoolgirl heroines named Zanna and Deeba, is a tempting, carefully plotted rebellion against the cotton-candy elsewheres offered up by most children's novels. It is not a mirror image of Miéville's hometown, but rather the sort of rotoscoped reverie the Square Mile imagines itself to be when it's daydreaming: assembled from bits of detritus that Londoners have discarded or deemed obsolete, UnLondon by day is watched over by a hollowed-out UnSun and in the evening enjoys fireworks displays that have bled through the sky on its counterpart's Guy Fawkes Night. It is populated not only by living umbrellas and milk cartons, nasty carnivorous giraffes and the aforementioned chap with the ink-bottle noggin, but also by a fellow whose cranium consists of a bird cage - with a bird still living inside it. Beyond its abundant charms, "Un Lun Dun" never misses an opportunity to undermine the tiresome plot devices and tedious moralizing of traditional fantasy. When its disheveled characters are sent on exactingly prescribed quests, you can be sure these heroes will cut corners or otherwise fail to fulfill their missions; when prophecies are invoked, they generally don't come true; and any character complacent enough to believe he or she is some sort of Chosen One is all but guaranteed not to save the day. Like his fellow Britons Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl, Miéville has no illusions about what utter bastards children can be, and his novel encourages them to be reckless, mistrustful and secretive; it also finds time to teach them lessons about caring for the environment and being suspicious of officials who raise the specter of terrorism for their own political gain. Most of all, "Un Lun Dun" is the work of an author fascinated by language, and one who rewards any reader who cares about it half as much as Miéville does. His enthusiasm is unmistakable when he writes evocatively of "the manic wet rustle of the predatory rubbish" or drops an obscure if instantly comprehensible word like "rumbustious" to depict the unruly wind of a routine London storm. When Miéville hangs a crucial story element on an alternate definition of the word "phlegm," he does so not only to educate his audience about its forgotten second meaning, but also to acknowledge that kids love the word "phlegm." And when he cannot find le mot juste to describe one of his fantastic inventions, he unhesitatingly makes it up himself: a vehicle that looks like an upsidedown car is represented in the text by die word "car" printed upside down. But Miéville is also careful to show that language can be used to obscure and mislead, and that those who do not care enough to master it inevitably end up in someone else's thrall. About the only criticism of "Un Lun Dun" I can offer is that I wish its ending were as daring and heretical as the rest of the novel, instead of an obvious setup for a sequel. But by the time Miéville had introduced me to a character called Mr. Speaker, whose every word emerges from his mouth as a living creature called an Utterling, I was too captivated to complain. In novels like "Coraline" and anthologies like "M Is for Magic," Neil Gaiman has made his own occasional visits to Y.A. territory. But another effort, INTERWORLD (Eos/HarperCollins, $16.99), written in collaboration with Michael Reaves, a prolific author of science fiction screenplays and novels, is still something of a departure. Though it falls into the same broad category as "Un Lun Dun," "InterWorld" seeks a decidedly different young reader - the sort who keeps copies of Heavy Metal (among other publications) hidden beneath his mattress, and who would probably prefer not to be called a young adult anymore. The novel's teenage protagonist, Joey Harker, finds himself at that same awkward, transitory stage, and one day while completing a school project, he discovers - as so many of us wished at that age - that he possesses transcendental powers: he can travel among all the possible alternate versions of Earth that reality contains, which is a great excuse to give your parents when they wonder where you've been all night. Several of his alternate selves have already learned how to make use of this same skill, and soon Joey finds himself leading a team that includes the winged Jo, the superstrong Josef and the half-computer J/O. To its credit, "InterWorld" isn't sugarcoated for its readership; it wastes no time in putting its young heroes in mortal peril and pitting them against at least one brutal adversary who threatens to floss with their innards. But its prose is often only functional, and it has a slight problem of verisimilitude: are there really any high-school-age iconoclasts out there who have heard of synesthesia, Benoit Mandelbrot and the Midgard serpent, but not of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen? What "InterWorld" gets exactly right, however, is an idea it shares with "Un Lun Dun": the all-too-real childhood fear that if we're away from comfortable surroundings for too long, our families and loved ones might eventually forget who we are, and that someday we might never be able to return. What each of these novels recognizes is that its purpose is not to dispel this fear for its readers, but rather to provide them with irresistible incentive to take those tentative first steps into unpredictable worlds beyond.