The Infinite Future is a mindbending novel that melds two page-turning tales in one. In the first, we meet three broken people, joined by an obsession with a
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3.208 stars – to be released 01/16/18
i wouldn’t say i was especially engaged, but i also couldn’t stop turning the pages. this is how danny laszlo described his experience after reading the extremely elusive, finally found the infinite future (the fictitious science fiction novel for which this actual book, the infinite future , is about). this was more or less my sentiment with the total experience of both the actual novel and holy grail of an assumed magnum opus.
within its near 400 pages,
When a semiotic meta-novel-within-novel begins with two Mormons on mission in Brazil, you know a unique reading experience is all but guaranteed. But when the telling of the tale brings to mind Paul LaFarge’s The Night Ocean or The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, well, the fun just got multiplied. Wirkus doesn’t want to provide an underlying sense of terror as LaFarge did with his backstory of H.P. Lovecraft – instead, The Infinite Future is a joyful tour de force about a quest for an elusive scienc
Sure, Wirkus has a few serious points to make along the way, regarding reform within the Mormon Church, and the tendency of humans to blindly follow leaders, but the lectures rarely get in the way of effective tale-spinning. In the same way that LaFarge works in decades of post-Lovecraft fandom in his novel, Wirkus builds a 60-year legend around Eduard Salgado-Mackenzie that carries us from 1950s pre-coup Brazil, up through the present era. And the legends involve everyone from dadaist and impressionist art movements to the CIA. Nice environment for such a slippery identity in the science-fiction scene.
If there’s an Achilles Heel that takes this novel down to a weak four stars, it’s that the legend of the unpublished novel (reprinted in part as the last one-third of this book), as well as the legend of space hero Irena Sertourian herself, somehow fail to live up to billing. In some sense, this should be no surprise – the perpetrators of literary fraud who are the late-arriving protagonists in this book warn that the efforts to create a religious aura around Sertourian always fell flat. But does this mean that Wirkus is trying to gently parody L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, Dick and his bizarre exegesis, or the Mormon Church itself? That’s not really clear, but The Infinite Future book-within-book doesn’t give us a good sense of why Sertourian should be sanctified, why Salgado-Mackenzie gained such a rabid fan-base, or whether we’re just stuck with a Douglas Adams-style search for the meaning of life.
But what the heck. The vague conclusion, and the many ways it could be interpreted, does not make the book a misfire. The Infinite Future remains a good source of fun, even if the ridiculous outweighs the profound.