When a dimension-hopping spacecraft ventures beyond the boundaries of the universe, literally ending up nowhere, strange and disturbing events play havoc with it.
Carr (Messages, 2013, etc.) has a real talent for constructing living, breathing characters: Cermeno, a Queeg-like captain with a questionable past who, through nepotism, has bumped De Vegas, a more competent officer, to second-in-command; Jervis, a womanizing reporter; Teal, a drunken priest; and Nunn, a disfigured loner. Add to this a pedophile and a crew with a surfeit of jealousies, gripes, and motives; toss them all aboard untested space-faring technology heading off into the unknown and….What could go wrong? After a tantalizing, action-filled prologue, Carr takes time to establish these volatile characters. He cleverly uses a mission press conference to quickly introduce the cast before sending them on their way. The craft, aptly named the Santa Maria, makes use of a new technology harnessing the science behind supernatural phenomenon such as a poltergeist, which are caused by dimensional glitches. It works flawlessly on the way. Once the ship leaves the universe for a perfect vacuum, however, all hell breaks loose. In a quantum nothingness where anything can happen, everything does, from personal demons come to life to interdimensional kidnappings. As systems fail, the crew dwindles, and survivors must overcome one impossibility after another. Part sci-fi, part psychological drama, part zombie apocalypse, the thrillfest starts early and continues till the end. The author slowly showcases his cast, lighting them from different angles. Nunn is first given her own extended scene interacting with her cat and Wilson, the computer she designed. But Carr can also sum up a character like Cermeno in a few brush strokes: “his slightly self-deprecating humor—a tactic with which he was not totally comfortable but that his consultants assured him would be good for his image.”
This is a rollicking adventure with religious, philosophical, and technological overtones; for science fiction die-hards.