Benny is assigned to retrieve valuable data from a spacecraft
abandoned in a nexus that intersects 417 different dimensions.
Entering the nexus, she finds Station Control, a communal
region that contains inconceivable wonders, mysteries, political
intrigues - and dangers...
Dave Stone novel - another weird and mind-altering dimensional
warp. As I pointed out in my review of his recent Doctor
Who book, The Slow Empire, Stone has already used
the device of dimensional instabilities in two previous Bernice
Summerfield novels, the New Adventures Oblivion and
Return to the Fractured Planet.
setting this time, Station Control, is a meeting place for
races from each of the various multiverses. Benny is frequently
baffled by the unimaginable variety of aliens that occupy
the station - Stone doesn't bother to describe the unimaginable,
as to do so would, of course, deny their unimaginability!
The Professor is also perplexed by the station's habit of
reshuffling its various zones, rather as the TARDIS interior
does in many of the Who novels, although the author
doesn't make this particular comparison.
term "multiverse" is used by Stone to describe the various
dimensions that the nexus connects. The author is as pedantic
as ever about the shortcomings of certain popular fictions,
pointing out that the parallel and pocket universes of many
a work of science fiction represent both sloppy writing and
a lack of understanding of the English language. He rightly
points out that there cannot be more than one universe because,
by definition, the universe is "all things that exist". Instead
of a multiverse comprising several universes, Stone defines
a multiverse as being one of several dimensional planes that
comprise the larger universe. Not for the first time, he also
knocks the TV and movie convention whereby characters are
rendered unconscious by a blow to the head, when in reality
such blows would be likely to lead to hospitalisation and/or
the more obvious regurgitations of old ideas (which the narrative
itself confesses to) is an ARVID, an artificial intelligence
of a kind previously featured in Return to the Fractured
Planet. One of the main characters, Sleed, shares the
name of the villain of that same novel, though this appears
to be the characters' only connection. Maybe the author just
likes the name Sleed.
book also marks the long-awaited return of a major character
from the New Adventures era, although the reunion is
not as emotional as I had been expecting.
Even at its short length of 186 pages, the novel still seems
padded out. The story is virtually over 20 pages before the
end, but Stone spins it out with some additional complications
and a couple of epilogues. Nevertheless, The Infernal Nexus
is a far from hellish experience.
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