Book Review: Infinitum

INFINITUM cover_(Apr-30-2015)

Infinitum, G.M.B. Chomichuk, ChiZine, chizinepub.com, $21.99

Time travel stories are so bad at making sense that it is now tradition for time traveling characters to point out how little sense they’re making before cheerfully barreling ahead anyways.

Infinitum takes this kind of lampshading to the next level. Here, the chronological paradoxes made by Agent 9 over the course of his investigations into a time-traveling terrorist cell are not only pointed out by the detective himself; they are the key to the very mystery he sets out to solve in the first place. Thus the first half of the book has license to do interesting things with Agent 9’s ability to jump backwards in time without worrying about twisting any logic. After all, twisted logic becomes an interesting problem to solve here. When asked “How can the future create the past?”, our man simply states, “Paradox.” He’s working on it, okay?

But history repeats itself. While no story balls were explicitly dropped in the latter half, I couldn’t figure out why any given problem couldn’t be solved by yet more time travel, and so the book eventually suffers the fate of all time travel stories: perforated plot.

There are no real characters to carry the book when the story hits a snag. Agent 9 pours buckets of grim private eye monologue on nearly every page, but I couldn’t tell you a single personal detail about him. There’s simply too much exposition necessary to keep the reader up to speed that there wasn’t room left for more than archetypal characters.

But was it enjoyable? Definitely. The characters who populate this strange almost-1940s are robots and aliens from different planets and different time lines, but Chomichuk’s mixed media graphic style is the perfect glue to keep such a fractured world held together in a tight fistful of noir. (Christopher Lawson)

 

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