Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey: The Pandominion: a political and trading alliance of a million worlds – except that they’re just the one world, Earth, in many different realities. And when an AI threat arises that could destroy everything the Pandominion has built, they’ll eradicate it by whatever means necessary, no matter the cost to human life.
Scientist Hadiz Tambuwal is looking for a solution to her own Earth’s environmental collapse when she stumbles across the secret of inter-dimensional travel. It could save everyone on her dying planet, but now she’s walked into the middle of a war on a scale she never dreamed of.
And she needs to choose a side before it kills her.
M.R. Carey’s Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) Review
Let’s get this straight. I don’t read much Sci-Fi, and I definitely don’t read Space Oddyseys. I broke up with that genre years ago because, to be frank, it gave me a migraine. However, when M.R. released the first book in a duology that covers both genres? Well, he is an automatic read for me, so I dove into Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) wearily. Once again, M.R. Carey proved that my trust in him is well placed.
The multiple worlds (Multi-verses) are built with unique features, and central and peripheral characters are laid out with precision and detail. At the same time, the plot is complex and rich, with multiple points of view that run from mysterious to those that drive the plot. Altogether, this turns Infinity Gate into a philosophical dive into the future of AI and the baseline idea of what humanity is and who/what can possess it.
M.R. Carey’s Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) Characters
A plethora of characters is introduced, along with their world, throughout the first 1/2 of the book (appx). These characters aren’t connected in any way at first. Throughout the rest of Infinity Gate, M.R. Carey brings different characters together. Along with many reveals, these connections are illuminating.
Within these characters and the world they inhabit lie different races. One of the positive offerings of their governing body (The Pandominion) is progress past inequality (one distinction Carey makes is the utilization of “et” as a pronoun). Each character is given their due spotlight to kick off the book until they begin to weave together. Then the Infinity Gate is genuinely a plot-driven book. M.R. Carey handles the shift from a character to a plot-driven story deftly. There isn’t any jarring or confusion to impact the reader’s enjoyment.
With that in mind, let’s delve into the anonymous/unknown point of view that starts and then jumps in throughout the book (without spoiling anything). This unspecified point of view initially shows up with quite the declaration- see below (this is the first couple pages of the book- no spoilers).
Throughout the book, this unknown point of view keeps a balance of benevolent intent, but you get the feeling the actions taken are anything but evil.
Can machines think? I think they can. Are machines capable of feeling? I feel as though a case could be made. Am I a self? Fuck around and find out
M.R. Carey’s Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) Plot
The one thing that unites these characters and worlds is the “benefits” of a central government: The Pandominion. More and more layers are pulled back on these universes to show that everything isn’t such a utopia. A lack of inequality among many human and non-human races (we are introduced to avian, reptile, and feline races, among others) demonstrates how inessential the human race can be. This also includes the progression of AI. It is just as prevalent as any other race, which raises essential questions.
The philosophy behind Infinity Gate includes what/who can encompass humanity, why conflict eventually occurs, and the benefits vs. negatives of a larger central government. Indeed, this government’s army is well-detailed. Their thoughts, addictions, and how they are made are all recounted for maximum impact. However, like the multiple points of view and characters introduced, none of this ever weighs down the plot or pacing.
This army development is crucial to the development of the plot because the negatives of The Pandominion are clearly displayed. This display of force highlights the tight grip on life across the universes. While also showing the brutal ways in which The Pandominion enforces these rules.
Much is done in introducing pivotal pieces of the puzzle as in most book ones in a series/duology. This leaves a lot, but not all, conflict off the page. However, conflict occurs when two different groups collide, leading to a brilliant, real-life thought.
… it meant that both sides had made exactly the same mistake. They looked at something radically different from themselves and saw it as something else.
M.R. Carey’s Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) Final Thoughts
M.R. Carey easily justifies the length of Infinity Gate with a fast pace and intrigue throughout both the character and plot-driven pieces. Once characters start interweaving, the intensity is ratcheted up to a sixth gear that most authors can’t handle without confusion or slowing down. The ending is wicked and left me gasping for more. Unfortunately, unlike the Rampart Trilogy, we will have to wait a year for book #2.