cover image Doughnut


Tom Holt. Orbit (, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-31622-610-3

Holt's (Blonde Bombshell) unsatisfying science fantasy caper starts off entertaining, when genius physicist Theo Bernstein is unable to find work in his field after blowing up the VVLHC (Very Very Large Hadron Collider). Bernstein is left penniless by a private equity scam, forced to work and live in a slaughterhouse, dumped by his fourth wife, and handicapped by an invisible right hand. Things get even worse when he receives a unique inheritance from his mentor, Nobel Laureate Pieter von Goyen: $5000, an apple, and the multiverses inside a bottle, guarded by mathematical equations. Solving the equations sends Theo tumbling dangerously through parallel universes populated by telepathic green aliens, murderous Disney characters, and western gunslingers. With amusingly absurd set-pieces but inconsistent characterizations, this assemblage of increasingly slipshod humor and illogical plot twists fails to deliver and, true to title, is rather hollow. (Mar.)