In Man’s sci-fi yarn, a banker zigzags through time and space with lots of passion but little purpose.
James Pollack accidentally travels back in time to a Lebanese war and encounters the Russian scientist, Natasha, who gives him a medallion that enables him to time travel at will. Natasha has her own neat gadget: a “Black Madonna” doll that produces living holograms. In the future, the narrative reveals, there are populations of people who exist only as holograms. But the presence of “virtual people” depends on which dimension one’s visiting, and it’s hard to know which is which since the text doesn’t provide signposts for those landscapes. In fact, there are also “parallel universes,” including one where people have “the ability to think instantly about anything.” Man doesn’t say why this ability is notable, although it turns out that all the males in this version of Earth are holograms because males are no longer naturally born. And why is that? Natasha suspects “a new world order tried to control the population with modified genetics in crops.” In this universe, a lively sex scene involving James and Natasha results in a pregnancy, which provides a rare linear subplot. Otherwise, the purpose of all the interdimensional traveling remains as obscure as the book’s subtitle. The title, which means “Keeping God’s Secret,” is never fleshed out, either. The set-piece sojourns deliver some tension, but these flag with litanies of pseudo-scientific language that go unexplained. For example, communication across the universe is said to be facilitated by “Quantum weirdness,” and the government is developing “a new dilithium warp drive using Z-pinch technology.” An equally serious problem afflicting the text is a lack of proofreading, which results in a torrent of typos, misspellings, misplaced apostrophes and so forth.
Offers some interesting fragments about our dystopian future, but frequent mistakes make a nearly impenetrable narrative even more difficult to read.