cover image Mirror World

Mirror World

Tad Williams. Eos, $23 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-06-105545-4

In 1999, enormous mirrors appear around the world, creating gates into the mysterious Mirrorworld. At first the mirror-portals are two-way, allowing explorers to return at will, but then the gates within Mirrorworld itself disappear, leaving the explorers trapped. Meanwhile, giant insectoid aliens called ""Bugs"" begin using the mirrors to invade Earth. Thirty-seven specially bio-enhanced UN soldiers are sent through the portals to find the source of the Bugs and stop the invasion--but Mirrorworld turns out to be a mere stepping stone in an unknowable chain of planets connected by the mysterious mirrors. With no way home, the ""biosoldiers"" and others must band together for safety, in this setting invented by Tad Williams (Otherworld) and here sharecropped through lengthy stories by, respectively, Kreighbaum (The Eyes of God), West (The Broken Crown) and Helfers. Kreighbaum's ""Mirror in Time"" is a jumbled tale of a biosoldier whose lack of closure over his mother's death years ago hinders his determination to prevent two fellow soldiers from causing havoc in Mirrorworld. In Helfers's ""Serpent in the Garden,"" a biosoldier must hunt down a fellow trooper whose enhancements have driven him insane. West's ""Childhood's End,"" the most thoughtful piece of this generally weak trio, depicts yet another biosoldier, one whose silence harbors a grim past. These stories provide only a lackluster introduction to Williams's setting, merely hinting at wonders and mostly ignoring the much larger population of mundane folk who struggle to survive in this universe without superhuman reflexes or special training. Full-color border art throughout, plus 50 pages with full-color illustrations. (July)