A sci-fi novel explores one oddly missed connection.
The Angeli called Nigel is attempting to help a man named Tom Nichols when he abruptly takes Tom out of existence. Before this cataclysmic event, Tom was having lunch with his girlfriend, Jane, and was about to reveal how much he cared for her. Tom was waiting for a sign from the universe to tell Jane his feelings when Nigel, who had been sent to monitor the two, made their lunch table jump and inadvertently caused Tom to vanish. After that incident, Jane fails to remember poor Tom at all. The mishap has the effect of complicating the space-time continuum or, as it is referred to in the story, “All That Is.” As the narrative explains, “Tom and Jane must unite for the sake of All That Is.” Further muddling the situation is the fact that Jane—who is soon taken out of existence as well—and Tom find themselves in a bizarre world populated by Imps, Angeliti (Nigel’s cohorts), Etheriati, and similar creatures, who are essentially humanlike though they are clearly nonhuman. The Cherubithim, for instance, appear as babies the size of men, have tongue-in-cheek names like Dyper Ash, and live for thousands of years. But will the efforts of such figures ever be enough to get Tom and Jane back together again? This strange question is answered through a bizarre romp in a world where it seems just about anything can happen. From flaming food to a talking walking stick, Langdell’s (Virtual Reality Beyond Imagination, 1995, etc.) series opener incorporates a great deal of dreamlike qualities spiked with Douglas Adams–esque humor. There is a book called Cosmic Law that states, among other things, that “the phrase ‘won’t regret it’ actually means ‘will regret it’ 87.36 % of the time.” While it’s not The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Langdell’s novel delivers a playful and unpredictable ride. Take, for instance, the addition of a man named Bill, who had “somehow got across the Veil on his own.” Though readers may feel lost at times among all the eerie and complex episodes, how the story will conclude is very much up in the air until the end.
A delightfully whimsical but somewhat convoluted tale that features otherworldly beings.