In this debut sci-fi novel, a man investigates the interdimensional secrets of the evil corporation that employs him.
Other than his micromanaging boss, Quentin James enjoys working in the IT department of IBZ Energy, one of the world’s largest oil companies. But when he is asked to open an encrypted file for one of the company’s top executives, he sees that it contains photographs of IBZ security contractors murdering oil pipeline protesters. Hoping to blow the whistle on the company’s crimes, he and his friend Eissa go in search of the DimGate, which Quentin believes to be some sort of secret hard drive. But they end up being trapped in a mysterious locked room in the COO’s office: “In the center of the room was a door. It was flanked by a large gray box on each side, which sat perpendicular to the door. It looked like someone had taken two industrial breaker boxes and used them to hold up the door like giant bookends.” The DimGate turns out to be a portal to other dimensions, and after Quentin and Eissa are forced to use it to escape detection, they find themselves in an alternate version of 2015 where electricity hasn’t been discovered and the United States is at war with the Native American tribes that rule the territory west of the Mississippi. There, Quentin learns that IBZ is a subsidiary of the interdimensional DimCorp—and it’s been up to a lot worse than just “killing a few protesters.” In this series opener, Long describes the mechanics of the world with clarity and humor. His prose captures the wonder, fear, and excitement of his nerdy protagonist: “What a noble cause, and what an adventure it must have been,” thinks Quentin after learning about a small interdimensional resistance to DimCorp. “The last clear thought he had before drifting off to sleep, was that he, too, was on an adventure, and it was fantastic.” The portal-based world-hopping should appeal to the general sci-fi crowd, and the book’s themes—which take a critical view of the greed and power of international corporations—lend a deep relevance to Quentin’s quest.
A fast-paced portal adventure with some well-integrated social commentary.