Science Fiction 2022 | 359 pages
At first, I was excited to read a science fiction book! It is a genre I don’t read often. Film-maker Hayes Figueiredo is struggling to finish an important documentary about his best friend, an AI named Genesis, when handsome physicist Yusuf Hassan shows up and kidnaps Hayes, claiming Hayes is the key to understanding the Envisioner– a mysterious device that can move people through various universes. This is after the second American Civil War, and the country as we know it today has been divided into multiple countries ... a quite interesting context for this tale!
It turns out an alternate self of Hayes, a man always referred to by their last name, Figueiredo, is an angry, obsessive, brilliant man who creates the Envisioner and sends hundreds of these machines throughout the multiverses. The story is about Hayes and his lover, Yusuf, unlocking the secrets of the machine, and visiting multiple universes to attempt to save humanity and especially, Yusuf himself. I found it interesting, surprising, and disappointing that the multiple universes (mulitverses) where Figueiredo sends his machines are, in fact, only on Earth and Earth’s moon. Oh yes, and one pivotal one on an asteroid.
Tavares’ cast of characters includes queer couples, people of color, robots, robots rights advocates, and scientists. As a matter of fact, there are no male-female love relationships in this book; they are all male-male.
The story SOUNDS intriguing. The only thing I can say, humbly, and as only a reader who does not live inside Tavares’ head, is that I think Tavares is simply not a good writer. There is no tension; no real mystery; no page-turning “what is going to happen next” in reading this book. It is slow and deliberate with many scenes (like Hayes and Yusuf traveling to a different multiverses) repeated over and over. And though we see everything through Hayes’ eyes, I still l managed to find him a shallow character, with little substance and no soul. Sort of like an outline of a character; a flat cartoon.
Clearly, I don’t recommend this book. I struggled this morning to get it done so I could move on! Let us know if you read it and like it!!
I enjoy a good sci-fi read, but this is definitely not one. Thanks for plodding along so I don’t have to.
Older science fiction books that I loved are ENDER’S GAME, and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD by Orson Scott Card. (There are more books by this author but I haven’t read them).
These two moved me in profound ways. Because of their age the wiz-bang of more recent si-fi is not there. But there are moral dilemmas that resonated with me.