Blog Tour: Infinity Gate, M.R. Carey

Book Review: Infinity Gate, The Pandominion Book 1, M.R. Carey

Infinity Gate, M.R. Carey

Science Fiction: Infinity Gate, The Pandominion Book 1, M.R. Carey


When my children were young, companies began producing interactive children’s books for the computer. Of course, the computer was not “telling” them the story. It was written by people, programmed by people, recorded by people, etc. Now, AI has become a huge story, with machine learning and optimized searching (and whiny, self-indulgent arguments with journalists) making headlines. It is in infancy, but the writing is on the wall: the machines are coming.


Infinity Gate is a brilliant novel told by an AI (with the help of author M.R. Carey). As the AI looks back at et’s origins, et credits three people in particular with awakening et: Hadiz Tambuwal, Essien Nkanika, and Topaz Tourmaline Five Hills. (As you may have already noticed, since neither male nor female pronouns are appropriate the AI has selected “et.”)


Each of these individuals contributed remarkably to the awakening of our narrator. Hadiz Tambuwal created the first “step” gate in her universe. A step allows someone, or something, to travel from one reality to another. Traveling through the multiverse becomes possible for people from our Earth. She, however, was hardly the first to invent the step gate. She was just the first from our reality. In other permutations of Earth, stepping had been around for centuries, long enough that an inter-universal empire called the Pandominion had taken control of thousands of Earths. Some of those were uninhabited, exploited shamelessly for resources by the member worlds of the empire. Many had sentient species that were not human. People descended from cats, from rabbits, from bears, from reptiles, and from many other species had evolved instead of the origins that led to homo sapiens. These species coexisted in relative harmony within the empire. When they didn’t, the Pandominion’s army stepped in and brought them back into line–or simply wiped them out completely. When there are millions of realities, what is the loss of one or two or ten-thousand?


Hadiz Tambuwal fled our Earth once world wars and pandemics and climate change destroyed most of civilization. She chose to settle on a similar timeline, one that had diverged recently so there were humans who spoke (almost) the same language and shared (almost) the same history. There she met Essien Nkanika, a rogue who became her lover–and tried to steal her technology. She also ran afoul of the Pandominion, who sent soldiers after her fearing she was working to infiltrate their empire on behalf of their enemies, the Ansurrection. The Ansurrection was a machine-based sentient “life,” which was essentially minding its own business in its own set of worlds until the Pandominion attacked. This set these two colossal empires on a path likely to end in mutual destruction.


“Paz” FiveHills was from a planet where the dominant species had descended from rabbits. Paz was a young girl who did not really mean to cause any trouble. Still, circumstances propelled her into the crux of multiversal forces and brought her together with Hadiz and Essien.


This is an ambitious and brilliant book, filled with amazing world-building, incredibly detailed characters, and a plot that brings together the most unlikely events in a way that seems both logical and almost inevitable. Carey explores deep questions about what it means to be alive, what it means to be intelligent, what it means to be a person. What makes this book so amazing, though, is that it does all of this in a story that I hated to see end.


Fortunately, a sequel is coming!


Our deepest thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting us on this blog tour (and our apologies for being tardy). The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

Infinity Gate, M.R. Carey

Book Review: Infinity Gate, The Pandominion Book 1, M.R. Carey

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