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December 14, 2022

A Fractured Infinity by Nathan Tavares ~ a Review

by MK French

Filmmaker Hayes Figueiredo is editing a documentary when physicist Yusuf Hassan shows up. In a future of climate change and the fracture of the United States into smaller countries, Yusuf says Hayes is the key to understanding the Envisioner, a device that can predict the future. At a secret research facility, Hayes discovers that an alternate-universe version of himself designed the Envisioner and sent it to their universe. That version is also married to his universe's version of Yusuf. Hayes is drawn to Yusuf, not just because of this, but soon finds that the two are linked. Unfortunately, their lives together in the other universe ends badly. Hayes is determined to save Yusuf and the many universes whose survival seems to hinge on Yusuf dying.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of science fiction novel A Fractured Infinity by Nathan Tavares
December 2022; Titan Books; 978-1803360386
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); science fiction

Hayes is an ordinary guy caught in an extraordinary situation, visually inclined, and almost constantly thinking of angles in a film kind of way. He doesn't have the scientific know-how of the rest of the investigative team in this universe, but his presence seems to help the Envisioner configuration work better. Over time, we find out that the Envisioner works on probabilities; Yusuf discusses string theory and the nature of particles acting as waves or solid objects. Once the world finds out and there are threats, Hayes must step up his game to understand his role with the object. Of course, he'd try to save Yusuf, which only accelerates the nature of the disasters and increases the threats he must deal with. It forces him to learn, take action, and choose, not just observe behind a camera anymore. It still feels reactionary, but Hayes isn't normally a take-charge guy. Neither is Yusuf. 

The second half of the novel has the universe hopping, fighting, and tension level ratcheting up with each jump. At first, Hayes just wants Yusuf alive and the deaths of billions was an accident that he couldn't possibly foresee. As they run away, however, it becomes a choice. He calls himself selfish and fully admits to his shortcomings. He isn't a selfless man who would sacrifice everything in a heartbeat. He's somewhere in the middle, like most of us, in over his head and trying to do his best as he figures out what that is.

I really enjoyed seeing glimpses of other universes, if the different lives the other Yusuf and Hayes had. We see what they're like at extremes, and how pressure tests them and their relationship. This is how most people figure out their ethics, and Hayes is no different. The very nature of a sci-fi story means that the situations pressure-testing him are extreme and not likely ones we'll face ourselves. But it's also similar enough for us to recognize that there are some lines we should never cross, and there is always a cost somewhere for the choices we make. Hopefully, we make the right ones.

Buy A Fractured Infinity at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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