|Author||John Hulme and Michael Wexler|
The Seems is a children's novel series by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. The series follows the character of Becker Drane, age 12, a "Fixer" in a fictional world called "The Seems"; in the series, The Seems world is responsible for the protection of the reader's "reality" (that is, planet Earth). The series currently includes The Glitch in Sleep, published in 2007, The Split Second, published in 2008, and The Lost Train of Thought, published in 2009. A fourth book, called A Better Place, has been confirmed, but no release date has been announced yet.
The series follows Becker Drane, a Fixer for a world called The Seems, which provides our world with resources such as Sleep, Time and Energy.
In the first book, Becker Drane must find and capture a Glitch wreaking havoc in the Department of Sleep. Glitches are creatures with three arms that are able to move very quickly, creating problems wherever they go. With the help of Briefer Simly Frye and Fixer Casey Lake, the three try to Fix this Glitch. After many challenges, Becker manages to find and capture the Glitch.
In the second book, The Tide, using 50 trays of Frozen Moments, has managed to construct a Time Bomb which could cause unimaginable damage to both The World and The Seems. The Fixers are not able prevent the explosion, and Essence is spilled into the World. Becker Drane, Fixer #37, is sent in to recover the bomb, which could still be hazardous. Tom Jackal, Fixer #7, who was thought to be dead, Fixes the bomb but dies in the process. Becker also breaks the Golden Rule, which forbids anyone with access to a Case File for a person in The World to have contact with that person.
In the third book, Becker is found guilty of breaking the Golden Rule by meeting with Jennifer Kaley at the end of The Split Second. Because of this, he is suspended from duty for a year, and his memories of Jennifer are "unremembered". Jennifer is also unremembered of everything about The Seems. However, before they are both unremembered, a train of Thought goes missing and Becker is called in with three other Fixers to find it. The train is found, and Becker must drive it back. However, all the extra Thought that The Seems had was spent already. To get The World the Thought it needs, Becker drives through to the Inbetweener. He succeeds in getting the Thought back, but he crashes into the dangerously low entrance and may not have survived. Jennifer receives a job in The Seems, but at Becker's request, she is still unremembered about Becker and The Seems.
A fourth book, titled A Better Place, has been confirmed on the official website for the series. "Chapter Zero" of the book was made available to read in May 2012, but as of July 2015, no release date or cover have been revealed. However, as of May 2015, the authors have continued to indicate that they are working on getting it released eventually.
In the first book, "suffering and its purpose in the world" serves as one of the themes. A review of the first installment has noted the meaningful purpose of the Bed Bugs, despite many of the older child characters' refusal to purchase them. It has been suggested that the Bed Bug characters show that suffering is a necessary aspect of existence, with Nightmares used as an analogy in the novel; authors Hulme and Wexler portray dreams that require the occurrence of scary elements before the pleasant content takes place.
In an article in the Children's Book Examiner, Diane Bloom wrote: "The Seemsians, especially our protagonist Becker Drane, have strong ethics, remain true to their goals and do the right thing, and they understand and buy into doing your part for society and following the rules that accompany life."
The series has been well reviewed. Publishers Weekly said that "the authors use the conceit to the fullest, creating a complex and intricate world with a sometimes daunting array of gadgets, bureaucracy, vocabulary and capitalization (a glossary is included—and welcome)" yet at the same time "these details don't become overwhelming, fortunately, thanks to the book's consistently lighthearted tone". A review by Booklist praised the audiobook version and described the series as very imaginative.
Newsday commented that the book can be read just for fun or can also be "mulled over for its implied questions about big philosophical issues". In a review in School Library Journal, the first book was called "a rollicking tale"; the review praised the characters while comparing it to Garth Nix's "The Keys to the Kingdom" series.
The second book also received many positive reviews. Another review from School Library Journal praised the audiobook version but commented that background information would be needed for new readers.
The first book, The Glitch in Sleep, was nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and a Vermont children's choice award. It was also chosen as one of Amazon's Best Books of the Year (2007) for "Middle Readers" (older children) along with nine other books. It was also named an Autumn Book Sense Children's pick in 2007.
The second book ranked fifth on a list of the 20 best books for middle schoolers in 2008 by reviewer Diane Bloom.
On August 20, 2014, John Hulme and Michael Wexler used the official Facebook page for The Seems to announce a partnership with Six Point Harness, in which an animated half-hour TV series would be produced. However, there was no further news, and the post was deleted from the page at some point after April 12, 2015. As of January 2016, the status of the TV series remains unclear.
Film rights to the first book have been acquired by Twentieth Century Fox, but no release has been yet planned. The film will be directed by Shawn Levy, who directed Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Levy first decided to make a film when he read the book and loved it. He later met up with John Hulme and Michael Wexler during one of their book tours to show them what the film would look like. This story was also on the cover of the magazine Variety. Shawn Levy said:
"This is such a visually original and fresh world, where memory, weather, sleep and things like that are created. I've been working with Fox to find the next major all-audience franchise, and we feel that if we nail the screenplay, this has the potential to fit that bill, with the same humor, family friendliness, and lack of condescension."
- "A Better Place Book IV of "The Seems"" (PDF). Bloomsbury USA. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- "The Seems – Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "The Glitch in Sleep Barnes and Noble". Retrieved July 10, 2010.
- Bloom, Diane (December 23, 2008). "20 best books of 2008 for middle school readers". Children's Book Examiner. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- The Glitch in Sleep Publishers Weekly. 2007 Retrieved October 6, 2010
- The Glitch in Sleep Booklist. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- "New York Newsday, 11/16 Review". November 16, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- Norton, Eric (November 1, 2007). "Hulme, John & Michael Wexler. The Glitch in Sleep. (Brief article) (Children's review) (Book review)". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- Ching, Edith (April 1, 2009). "The Split Second: The Seems, Book 2.(Brief article)(Audiobook review)(Children's review)". AccessMyLibrary. School Library Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
- Peters, John (October 15, 2008). "The Split Second.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Book review)". AccessMyLibrary. Booklist. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
- "Syndetic Solutions – [Book Review for 1599901307". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
- Winooski Memorial Library – Tuesday, April 01, 2008 – DCF Award Nominees Announced!
- Amazon's Best Books of 2007 Retrieved October 6, 2010
- http://web.archive.org/web/20070921111611/http://news.bookweb.org/booksense/5468.html Autumn Book Sense Pick Retrieved 06-15-10
- "The Seems – THE SEEMS (via mouthpieces John Hulme and...". Facebook. August 20, 2014.
- Fleming, Michael (Apr 16, 2007). "Fox nabs rights to 'Seems'. Levy to direct, produce film". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-29.
- The New York Times – The Seems (2009)
- "Seems Behind the Scenes". Retrieved June 25, 2010.
- Official website
- The Seems series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database – select a title to see its linked publication history and general information; select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents