The infinite future

Tim Wirkus, 1983-

Book - 2018

"An exhilarating, original novel, set in Brazil, Idaho, and outer space, about an obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel author, and a Mormon historian who together go on the hunt for a mystical, life-changing book--and find it. The Infinite Future is a mindbending novel that melds two page-turning books in one. First, we meet three broken people, joined by an obsession with a forgotten Brazilian science-fiction author named Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie. There's Danny, a writer who's bee...n scammed by a shady literary award committee; Sergio, journalist turned sub-librarian in São Paulo; and Harriet, an excommunicated Mormon historian in Salt Lake City, who years ago conducted a correspondence with the reclusive Brazilian writer. The motley trio sets off to discover his identity, and whether his fabled masterpiece--never published--actually exists. Did his investigations into the true nature of the universe yield something so enormous that his mind was blown for good? In the second half, Wirkus gives us ... the lost masterpiece itself, the actual text of The Infinite Future, Salgado-MacKenzie's wonderfully weird magnum opus. The two halves connect in surprising and delightful ways to form a totally unique reading experience. Part academic satire, part science-fiction, and part book-lover's quest, this wholly original novel captures the heady way that stories inform and mirror our lives"--

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Subjects
Genres
Science fiction
Satirical literature
Satire
Published
New York : Penguin Press 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
390 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780735224322
0735224323
Main Author
Tim Wirkus, 1983- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Wirkus' (City of Brick and Shadow, 2014) latest novel is stupendously inventive and rewarding. In a narrative approach similar to that of Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000) or Michael Chabon's Moonglow (2016), it begins with a found text, a manuscript that has been handed to an aspiring writer, Danny Laszlo. In a long, detailed introduction, he explains how he received a writing grant and went to São Paulo, where he met a librarian, Sérgio Antunes, who introduced him to the work of an elusive science-fiction writer, Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie. In a Vonnegutesque shaggy-dog story, Laszlo joins forces with Antunes and a Mormon historian, Harriet Kimball, to search for Salgado-MacKenzie and his lost novel, The Infinite Future. The second half of Wirkus' tale is the lost novel itself, a sci-fi epic which echoes Battlestar Galactica and the fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin in equal measure. Wirkus' complex novel has a Russian-doll structure, with stories within stories, yet despite all the layers and the fact that it is, essentially, two novels set side by side, it is somehow never confusing or messy. Especially well suited for fans of Jonathan Lethem and Ron Currie, this work announces Wirkus as one of the most exciting novelists of his generation. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Wirkus's second novel (after City of Brick and Shadow) features an obscure science fiction writer whose stories chronicling the exploits of a space captain inspire an aspiring novelist, a Brazilian librarian, and a feminist historian to seek out the author. The action begins when Salt Lake City lawyer Danny Laszlo, one of Wirkus's former BYU classmates, gives Wirkus a two-part manuscript. The first part of that manuscript is Danny's account of how, while in São Paulo, he is introduced by librarian Sérgio Antunes to Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie's stories about 23rd-century spaceship Capt. Irena Sertôrian. Like Sérgio, Danny is soon enthralled by Salgado-MacKenzie's fiction. Joining forces with fellow enthusiast, historian Harriet Kimball, they track down the pseudonymous Salgado-MacKenzie at a remote Idaho hideaway. The second part of Danny's manuscript is part of Salgado-MacKenzie's unfinished last work, The Infinite Future, described in a book proposal as offering unparalleled majesty and insight. Themes of enlightenment and transgression, authority and dissent, and intellect and obsession pervade the many narratives within narratives. Wirkus can be inventive or derivative, a skilled storyteller who introduces more elements than he can connect, posing more questions than any earthly being could answer. (Jan.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel writer, and a Mormon historian embark on a search for a mystical, life-changing book about the true nature of the universe, and experience weird, out-of-this world paradigm shifts when they find it.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel writer and a Mormon historian embark on a search for a mystical, life-changing book about the true nature of the universe, and experience weird, out-of-this world paradigm shifts when they find it. By the award-winning author of City of Brick and Shadow.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"An exhilarating, original novel, set in Brazil, Idaho, and outer space, about an obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel author, and a Mormon historian who go on the hunt for a mystical, life-changing book--and find it. The Infinite Future is a mindbending novel that melds two page-turning books in one. First, we meet three broken people, joined by an obsession with a forgotten Brazilian science-fiction author named Eduard Salgado-MacKenzie. There's Danny, a writer who's been scammed by a shady literary award committee; Sergio, journalist turned sub-librarian in Säao Paulo; and Harriet, an excommunicated Mormon historian in Salt Lake City, who years ago conducted a correspondence with the reclusive Brazilian writer. The motley trio sets off to discover his identity, and whether his fabled masterpiece--never published--actually exists. Did his investigations into the true nature of the universe yield something so enormous that his mind was blown for good? In the second half, Wirkus gives us...the lost masterpiece itself, the actual text of The Infinite Future, Salgado-MacKenzie's wonderfully weird magnum opus. The two halves connect in surprising and delightful ways to form a totally unique reading experience. Part academic satire, part science-fiction, and part book-lover's quest, this wholly original novel captures the heady way that stories inform and mirror our lives"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An exhilarating, original novel, set in Brazil, Idaho, and outer space, about an obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel author, and a disgraced historian who go on the hunt for a mystical, life-changing book--and find it.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 forgotten Brazilian science-fiction author named Salgado-MacKenzie. There's Danny, a writer who's been scammed by a shady literary award committee; Sergio, journalist turned sub-librarian in São Paulo; and Harriet, an excommunicated Mormon historian in Salt Lake City, who years ago corresponded with the reclusive Brazilian writer. The motley trio sets off to discover his identity, and whether his fabled masterpiece--never published--actually exists. Did his inquiries into the true nature of the universe yield something so enormous that his mind was blown for good? In the second half, Wirkus gives us the lost masterpiece itself--the actual text of The Infinite Future, Salgado-MacKenzie's wonderfully weird magnum opus. The two stories merge in surprising and profound ways. Part science-fiction, part academic satire, and part book-lover's quest, this wholly original novel captures the heady way that stories inform and mirror our lives.