This book belongs to Science Fiction genre with a fairy tale kind of touch to it. The title itself suggests an anomaly in the passage of time that eventually carries us to another world.
Plot and Characters: The plot is essentially a formulaic one involving the battle between good and evil. Apart from this grand scheme of things, the quest also involves a homely relevant motive of the central character Meg aka Margaret Murry. She wants to find and save her father who has disappeared for many years. Overall, the flow of the plot is good, but it does get bogged down a little at times, especially when some of the conversations seem to be stretched too long. The characters of the kids – Meg, Charles and Calvin – look realistic and understandable, although there are a lot of swings in behavior. But we can pass it on the premise that such a thing happens to kids a lot. The supernatural characters too have their own peculiar traits that add a pinch of humor in the story.
The Science in it: As Arthur C. Clarke has said that any sufficiently advanced technology is nothing less than magic, the book treats all the magical things from a scientific point of view. The interplanetary travel, through ‘wrinkle’ or ‘tesser’ as they say it, sounds quite similar to traveling through a wormhole, blackhole or warp drive. The Black Thing in the book pretty much resembles the black hole, although it is seen as a dark cloudy thing, and not spherical, it certainly consumed stars. The relativity of time, the Time being the fourth dimension, and the rearrangement of atoms to form condensed masses are some of the concepts dealt with accurately in the book.
Symbols: The Tesseract: It seems to be holding a lot of keys here. The same appears to serve as the thing to look up to as the gateway to achieve the impossible. And quite obviously, the same ambitious object also brings troubles with all the opportunities. The Characters of Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which: They stand as the paradigm of elemental divine forces that side with us when we embark upon any adventurous quest for a good cause. The fact that they are not given any definite names just strengthens the belief that they are not merely characters in the story, but powerful forces that anyone can feel to be on their side if they show faith. IT: Here’s a little bit of satire along with science fiction and fairy tale. This large brain of the planet Camazotz reminds us of the oppressive rulers who do not tolerate free-thinking and free-will of the people in the society, and must be defeated.
In a nutshell, this book has several elements to offer. Fantasy, Science Fiction, Satire, Fairy Tale, Adventure, and a little bit of Family Drama. The author mixes it all up in a perfect blend, and delivers it in a sufficiently intriguing manner. Only that I would have loved it even more if there was a greater drama to match up with the lofty concepts it uses.