Then Lyle was recruited for private industry by the mysterious industrialist Geoffrey Iphwin – and everything stopped making sense.
His mild mannered fiancée turns out to be a guntoting weapons expert who grew up in a world in which America surrendered to the USSR in the 1970s. And several of their friends turn out to have grown up in more different worlds still. Worse, they gradually realise that not one of them has ever talked to anyone inside the continental United States.
In fact, just thinking about the United States is hard.
It’s as if someone is trying to stop them.
Something, in fact, seems to be trying to kill each of them. And Geoffrey Iphwin is trying to pull them together – for a quest into what’s actually going on.’
Blurb from the 2001 Gollancz paperback edition
Lyle Peripart, an academic specialising in an obscure branch of logic which he terms ‘abductive reasoning’ – his research aims to explore how human thought determines alternate choices essentially, how one quickly arrives a t a shortlist of alternatives without obviously going through an infinite list of possibilities.
He is offered a job by the mysterious Geoffrey Iphwin, Head of Contech, but before his interview receives a note warning him that Iphwin is more dangerous than he seems.
We are in a future, we soon realise, where most of the world, including the US, is controlled by Nazi Reichs. The descendants of exiled Americans keep their old country alive outside the Reichs, in Lyle's case in New Zealand or Enzy.
This future, however, has not stemmed from our past, but from another universe which diverged some time during the Second World War, or even earlier.
It now appears that people are slipping between alternate universes. Anomalies begin to appear. people recall irreconcilable versions of historical events. Most tellingly, when Lyle and his wife Helen are out having dinner, a Nazi hitwoman attempts to shoot Lyle, but is gunned down by Helen who suddenly not only believes herself to be a Secret Agent, but is also carrying a small arsenal in her evening dress.. Added to all this is the peculiar fact, which no one seems to be able to think about, that America has disappeared.
Iphwin, who turns out to be an AI embodied in flesh, has recruited Lyle, his wife and several others to travel to America to discover what has happened to it.
It’s a clever and fastpaced novel, laced with Barnes’ dry wit and ironic observations, containing interesting scenes and set pieces. The obsequious talking ships and cabs for instance are reminiscent of Dick’s talking taxis and household appliances.
Barnes has also thought out some of the other consequences of meeting people from alternate time lines. Helen, now the muscular and efficient Secret Agent, rather than historian, turns out to be a sadomasochist dominatrix who subjects Lyle to a sexual experience she presumes he is enjoying (as Lyle’s alternative self did). Another colleague remembers not only being to Lyle but that his father and pregnant mother did not die in a car crash and that his previously unborn brother grew up to be gay. It is encouraging that Barnes mentions or includes gay characters in his novels as a matter of course, something that is still lacking in US SF as a whole.
It suffers as a novel in that it can’t quite decide what tone to take. It begins in a comically surreal fashion and becomes more serious in the second half. It also explores the nature of identity in an original way, suggesting that chance, our choices and our environment has much to do with what makes us the people we are, rather than merely genetics.
It’s not as Americocentric as some other recent novels, since much of the action takes place outside the US. It does assume however (perhaps quite rightly) that the descendants of US expats would retain such a loyalty to their homeland that they would maintain that culture for generations without having it polluted by ‘those other cultures’
It’s not one of Barnes’ best novels, but certainly shows his flair for inventiveness and characterisation. Lyle Peripart is an average astronomer, an American expat living in New Zealand and making a pretty good go of it, in a world where the Nazis won WW2 and Twelve Reichs divide the globe. He's got a steady relationship, a nice house, and a talking suborbital rocketship. When he accepts a new job with a mysterious industrial tycoon his life gets seriously weird. He starts running into a Gestapo agent, his fiance is a gunslinging international assassin rather than a history professor, and there are gaps in what Lyle can say and think: worlds and phrases that trigger headaches and amnesia. The biggest problem: no two people agree on what history looks like, and no one has every actually communicated with America. An entire country has been missing for decades, memory is a lie, and something is very fishy.
What follows is a thrilling quest into the empty heart of America, the weirdness of Many Worlds Quantum Mechanics, and what it means to really Pursue Happiness above all else. Finity is a strange strange book, a breezy picaresque tied to quantum speculation and a brutal death march, but it's quite cool and an under appreciated gem. apparently there are two versions of this book one where the Soviets take over the world in the 1970s and one where the Nazis won WWII. Naturally being on the left the version I happened to pick up in a supermarket would be the one with the Nazis as the bad guys. Kind of clever for the author to two alternate books on alternate realities with the same title. I enjoyed the book and will give nothing further away. Xfinity Internet, Streaming, Mobile, And Home Security Get Our Voice Remote, TV On The Xfinity Stream App, And Early Access To Peacock, The New Streaming Service From NBCUniversal No Extra Cost, No Strings Attached Finity Content For Thought Leaders Automatically Identify Buying Signals, Key Events, And Other Important Actions Embedded Within Articlestypes Of Entities We Recognize Not Only People, Companies And Places, But Also NGOs, Bacteria, Car Brands, Sport Teams, Diseases, Etc Sign In To Xfinity Get The Most Out Of Xfinity From Comcast By Signing In To Your Account Enjoy And Manage TV, High Speed Internet, Phone, And Home Security Services That Work Seamlessly Together Anytime, Anywhere, On Any Device Sign In To Xfinity Finity Population Health Intelligence Finity Health Intelligence Hi For Medicaid And Medicare Is An Integrated Population Health Management Solution It Includes Comprehensive Member Engagement And Support, Personalized LifeTracks, And Member Incentives Finiti Jeunesse Global FINITI Contains A Unique Blend Of Ingredients And Is Jeunesse S Most Advanced Supplement To Date A Proprietary Blend, FINITI Contains A Unique Combination Of Capfinity CapFinity Expert Du Bien Tre Animal Les Recettes Du BIO Au Services Des Animaux Cap Finity S Engage Pour La Protection Des Abeilles Cap Finity Lute Contre Les Pesticides Votre Laboratoire Pour Le Bien Tre De Vos Compagnons Affinity Logiciel Professionnel De Cration Avec Une Fluidit Et Une Efficacit Sans Quivalent En Matire De Retouche Photo, De Conception Graphique Et De PAO, Les Applications Affinity Repoussent Les Limites De Ce Que La Technologie Crative Peut Apporter E Infinity Camera Store Europe Sitemm FDi III VXD Lens For Sony E Mount A EUR , Canon Gfinity Esports The Latest Gaming News, Features, Welcome To The Home Of Esports The Fastest Growing Community In Competitive Gaming Covering News, Features And Tournaments Comcast Customer Service Xfinity Technical Support Comcast Customer Service Is Here To Provide Help And Support For Your Xfinity Internet, TV, Voice, Home And Other Services I found this book to be rather intriguing up front (an alternate history were Hitler won World War II in which the United States has begun to vanish from humanity’s collective memory!) but was ultimately disappointed by the novel’s conclusions. While the novel’s set up grabbed me it’s execution left me wanting much more. It was a little confusing the first 100 pages in, but once I grasped the science behind it all, I was happy to keep reading. I've read and enjoyed Barnes before, but I don't think I've enjoyed any of his works this much. He used wellgrounded analogies which made the science work for me.
Very good characters faced with very challenging prospects. A very good book. Interesting ideas, but all of the explanations and conclusions were very unsatisfying. Rescued this book from a library book sale; it now has a forever home on my scifi book case. I’ve read others by Barnes, so I was curious to see his version of the Happy Ending! The beginning was rather short, perhaps to show how quick it all happened. It was difficult to like Lyle in the beginning. However, the premise of the story was interesting ; why does no one have any current memories of America? Take one rich, crazy genius, gather a few random people with random skills, mix well with quantum physics & begin the quest! Barnes throws a few quirks in the mix; rapid personality changes, memory loss, and those annoying phantom phone rings with no one on the other end. My biggest complaint is the same one I have with one season tv shows; just as I’m really invested into the story & wondering which direction it’s going to take...boom...The End. Entertaining high concept Gonzo romp, that falls off a cliff towards the end. Alternate title could be Deadline, after the looming publisher threat that must have pushed Barnes to rap everything up in three pages of exposition and wish fulfillment. Added to the hilarity for me, but I could see this concussion disguised as a conclusion pushing readers to throw this book at the wall.