Wilson revises his 1992 novel, but Planet Earth remains on the cusp of extinction.
The sun rises late on May 17. Not very late, only five minutes—at 5:26 instead of 5:21—and it’s still the sun, for heaven’s sake. Another sign of bleak things to come is the 200-foot hole that suddenly appears in Manhattan’s Central Park. Wise old Glaeken, who knows a portent when he sees one, nails the M.O. immediately. These disturbances are the work of evil megalomaniac Rasalom, who’s flexing his murder muscles as he prepares to launch the Change, the process that will consign Earth to history. That is, if there is a history. To a shellshocked friend, clinging to the idea of bedrock fundamentals, Glaeken explains that the Change is irrevocably the Change: “We’ll have to learn to forget about physical laws—or any laws, for that matter.” If there’s any way of forestalling the Change, an overmatched Glaeken acknowledges that it’s beyond his ken. Slim as the chances for success are, however, the attempt must be made. So Glaeken assembles a small but dedicated coterie, a sort of special forces unit in which Repairman Jack (The Dark at the End, 2011, etc.) plays a more glittering role than he did in the 1992 version, and sends teams off in quest of certain oddments that can be alchemized into an Excaliburlike sword, the only weapon that might level the fighting field. But against the monstrous Rasalom, who is to wield it? Prepare to be fooled.
Readers who can march to an apocalyptic drummer will find much to enjoy.