Bryan’s post-apocalyptic debut novel depicts the inhabitants of a world more than 60 years after an extraordinary disaster.
The Great Catastrophe killed off more than 7 billion people at once, leaving the survivors to rebuild global society. All are imbued with the bizarre, superhuman ability, known as “anperception,” which allows them to perceive unknown aspects of the universe, as well read the minds of others. Humanity is permanently changed, particularly by a new understanding of what death actually is: souls trapped forever between universes. They also find out that the dead have the ability to control the minds of the living. Raile Alton is an expert in “anology”: the study of anperception and tthe “anuniverse,” where the dead dwell. He spearheads a government effort to create technology to stop the dead and their influence, while other government officials try to prevent the living from dying at all. The key is bacteria: all life has a presence in both the universe and the anuniverse, but bacteria may be cultivated to help control the anuniversal aspect, using a powerful tool called a FlushBeam. Alton, along with a female scientist named Eethena, goes up against living revolutionaries and their dead allies in a struggle filled with danger and intrigue. But as Alton fights to preserve the post-Great Catastrophe social order, he finds himself beginning to doubt the things it stands for. Bryan’s sci-fi setting is meticulously planned out, which will offer readers a highly satisfying escape. The characters are reasonably multidimensional, although exploring their inner lives isn’t the main purpose of the story. Overall, the dialogue is serviceable, but occasionally somewhat unsophisticated, as in this exchange between two secondary characters: “Almost hit your face doesn’t get an apology.” “I doubt anything gets an apology with you.” However, the action is strong and fast-paced, the locations are colorful, and the ideas are intriguing enough to make readers want a sequel—after all, death is not the end.
An often engaging, well-developed sci-fi adventure.