Finity

John Barnes, Author
John Barnes, Author Nelsonword Publishing Group $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-86118-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-8125-7145-5
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-21539-8
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Have you ever had a clear memory of an event that was directly at odds with what someone else remembers? Have you and your spouse ever argued over where you first met or when you first kissed? In this latest novel by the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated author of Earth Made of Glass and Mother of Storms, conflicting memories abound, because here there are millions, perhaps billions of alternate universes, each only slightly different from those that lie closest to it. Throughout history, it seems, people have tended to slip back and forth between adjacent universes. Now, however, the slippage is drastically increasing. A young woman calls home and, halfway through the call, discovers that her mother no longer knows her. When she leaves the phone booth, the entire history of the world has changed radically. An astronomer on a job interview spends the day with a mysterious billionaire before meeting his historian girlfriend for dinner, only to find that she believes that she's spent much of the day with him. At the restaurant someone attempts to murder the astronomer, but his girlfriend, suddenly transformed into a gun-toting secret agent, shoots the attacker. At least that's how he remembers it, but the body on the floor isn't the person he saw shot. Barnes has great fun fooling around with a variety of unexpected alternate universes in this clever scientific adventure novel. Occasionally the momentum slows as various characters explain the physics behind what's going on, but in general this is a well-paced book, full of nicely drawn characters and a number of tantalizing mysteries that should greatly appeal to fans of alternate historical fiction. (Mar.)
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