cover image The Circumference of the World

The Circumference of the World

Lavie Tidhar. Tachyon, $17.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61696-362-0

World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar (Neom) wows with a mind-bending existential adventure that seeks to answer the age-old question of why humanity exists. In 2001 London, four characters converge around the lost science fiction book Lode Stars, written decades earlier by Eugene Charles Hartley. It’s rumored that Hartley, who also founded the sketchy Church of God’s All-Seeing Eyes, discovered the “true nature of reality” and encoded it into the novel, which follows heroine Delia as she searches for her father. The novel also posits that humans are reconstructed memories swirling inside black holes, which are the eyes of God, and that alien “eaters” feed on these reconstituted humans. Only possession of Lode Stars itself can ward off this danger. Albino mathematician Delia Welegtabit, who happens to have the same name as Lode Star’s heroine, is drawn into the hunt for the book by her husband, obsessive mathematician Levi. When Levi disappears, Delia turns to Daniel Chase, a rare book collector, to investigate—but then Daniel is himself kidnapped by mobster Oskar Lens, who believes in the book’s power and wants it to protect him from the eaters. Toggling between perspectives and the ethereal text of Lode Stars, Tidhar’s slippery metafictional tale lyrically entangles scientific fact, mysticism, and mental illness. This is a knockout. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Literary. (Sept.)