The Infinite Future

Tim Wirkus. Penguin Press, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2432-2
Wirkus’s second novel (after City of Brick and Shadow) features an obscure science fiction writer whose stories chronicling the exploits of a space captain inspire an aspiring novelist, a Brazilian librarian, and a feminist historian to seek out the author. The action begins when Salt Lake City lawyer Danny Laszlo, one of Wirkus’s former BYU classmates, gives Wirkus a two-part manuscript. The first part of that manuscript is Danny’s account of how, while in São Paulo, he is introduced by librarian Sérgio Antunes to Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie’s stories about 23rd-century spaceship Capt. Irena Sertôrian. Like Sérgio, Danny is soon enthralled by Salgado-MacKenzie’s fiction. Joining forces with fellow enthusiast, historian Harriet Kimball, they track down the pseudonymous Salgado-MacKenzie at a remote Idaho hideaway. The second part of Danny’s manuscript is part of Salgado-MacKenzie’s unfinished last work, The Infinite Future, described in a book proposal as offering unparalleled majesty and insight. Themes of enlightenment and transgression, authority and dissent, and intellect and obsession pervade the many narratives within narratives. Wirkus can be inventive or derivative, a skilled storyteller who introduces more elements than he can connect, posing more questions than any earthly being could answer. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 01/16/2018
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