Polymath Hendrix (Better Angels, 1999, etc.) posits a polymorphous future for protean readers whose imaginations can pass through any plotline. His phenomenally complex novel opens with the same event occurring in parallel universes in California. In Universe A Prime, Charlie and Grace Drinan die in a drunken car accident and so do not give birth to John Drinan. In Universe A, Charlie and Grace survive, their son is born, and John becomes a spaceman orbiting the Earth in a habitat. It falls through a hole in the sky and enters Universe A Prime, where John did not previously exist and has no family or credit account. Meanwhile, in London, scientist Tomoko Lingham, who has a soft spot for homeless subway crazies, devises a protein that will keep the mentally unbalanced lastingly sane without future medication. Alas, this brings on a ghastly pandemic that wipes out about nine billion people. Left alive are twenty-four million unaltered humans, thirty-six million shape-changing Werfolk, and a few hundred ocean-dwelling mermaids and mermen. Their wars lead to a sea change in human values that points to the Great Death perhaps being transcendentally inspired.
Not for the cerebrally timid but overflowing with gorgeous polyphony.