Cover image of "Infinity Gate," a novel about war in the multiverse

Wild theories about the multiverse abound among the physicists who think about such things. And of course science fiction writers have had a field day building stories based on as many of these theories as they can get their heads around. So far in this century alone, authors John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Matt Haig, Blake Crouch, and dozens of others have written novels set in the multiverse. Now here comes British author M. R. Carey with a fresh take on the subject. In the launch of a new series with the novel Infinity Gate, Carey imagines cheap and easy travel between worlds, giving rise to flourishing commerce and tourism—and to the prospect of war in the multiverse on a scale beyond our comprehension.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

An original take on the multiverse

In Carey’s imagination, the multiverse is not an infinite string of worlds that represent what-if scenarios based on variations in our individual choices. That’s only one aspect of the reality he portrays. In Infinity Gate, evolution on Earth has taken different paths. And homo sapiens is merely one of innumerable intelligent species that have risen to the top of the food chain on one world or another. You’ll meet sapient canids—walking, talking “selfs” of the dog family. Seven-foot-tall cat-people. Characters evolved from rabbits, mole rats, and so many others. And none of them are surprised when encountering the others. It’s just the way intelligent life has come to be expressed in the “ten-times-ten-thousand” worlds of the Pandominium.

Infinity Gate (Pandominion #1) by M. R. Carey (2023) 544 pages ★★★★★

An artist's conception of the parallel worlds of the multiverse, like the scene in this novel about war in the multiverse
Artist’s conception of the multiverse. Image: Forbes

Four central characters in this drama

Four characters play pivotal roles as war in the multiverse drifts ever closer. One is the all-seeing narrator we meet as the novel opens. “I was born in one of the biggest conflicts this universe has ever seen, the war between the vast empire called the Pandominium and the machine hegemony. . . I had been a thing but now I was a sentient, a self in the language of the Pandominium.” And the narrator, unnamed so far, became self-aware as a result of the “efforts of three individuals, three selves, and not one of them had any conscious intention to deliver me.”

Hadiz Tambuwal

“One of the three was a scientist, who came to be famous across a thousand thousand continua of reality but remained uncelebrated in the universe into which she was born.” Hadiz Tambuwal is a brilliant particle physicist in Lagos in what we call Nigeria. As the world around her, already dying from climate change, self-destructs in total war, she imagines saving billions of people with her startling, accidental discovery. For Hadiz has stumbled upon a gateway into other, more peaceful and resource-abundant worlds. As we will soon learn, “in the omniverse there was always plenty of everything to go around.”

Essien Nkanika

“The second of the three, Essien Nkanika, was a rogue . . . born in the gutters.” A teenager, he stumbles through Lagos attaching himself to anyone or anything that will earn him the money to survive for another day. But Nkanika is tall and handsome. Soon he finds that he can make a living as a prostitute—and that’s how he meets and becomes involved with Hadiz.

Topaz Tourmaline FiveHills

“And that third self? At the outset she was the least remarkable of all. She was Topaz Tourmaline FiveHills, a rabbit of the Pandominium, from the city of Canoplex-Under-Heaven in Ut.” Canoplex is that world’s name for the city we call Lagos. Paz, as her friends know her, is nineteen years old but suddenly finds herself caught up in events of inconceivably vast proportions.

Eventually, other characters will occupy center stage. A bureaucrat in the Pandominium. A corporal in the Cielo, Pandemonium’s billion-soldier army. And others still. But the four central characters will remain in our memory. And their lives will intersect as war in the multiverse breaks out. They will witness great changes in their lives, with much suffering. People around them will die—millions of them—as the Cielo grapples with the fearsome forces of the machine hegemony.

About the author

Photo of M. R. Carey, author of this novel about war in the multiverse
M. R. Carey. Image: Kirk’s

Mike Carey writes much of his work under the name M. R. Carey. He is best known for the comic books he has written for Marvel and DC Comics as well as for novels and films. He reportedly sold a million copies of his 2014 novel The Girl with All the Gifts, which was adapted to film two years later. Carey was born in Liverpool, England, in 1959, studied English at the University of Oxford, and taught for fifteen years before turning to writing comic books. In addition to a seemingly endless list of comic books and other works, he has written seventeen novels.

For related reading

I’ve reviewed a great nonfiction book about the multiverse: The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth by Michio Kaku (From the moon and Mars to the multiverse).

I’ve also reviewed two novels about the multiverse, one of them excellent, the other not so good:

For more good reading, check out:

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, on the Home Page.