Infinite2 by Jeremy Robinson (book review)

It’s been a few years since I read ‘Infinite, the first book in the ‘Infinite’ series by Jeremy Robinson. The first few pages of ‘Infinite2took me right back there. William Chanokh seems to be right back there, too. Trapped in an infinite universe, living countless lives. Will isn’t sure what’s real and what’s not. Heck, I wasn’t even sure some of the time, which is the evil genius of this book.

Infinite2 book cover
Infinite2 by Jeremy Robinson (book review)

To catch you up, in ‘Infinite, Will is part of a mission to the distant planet, Kepler 452b. Earth is no longer viable and the Galahad and her crew are the last best hope for humanity. The crew is supposed to be in stasis, but there’s a lot of malfunctioning going on. Will spends ten years living a nightmare. His body is asleep; his mind is not.

I can do a sixteen-hour flight to Australia with just my thoughts for company. I can close my eyes and daydream for about half of it. I usually spend the rest of the time finding people to talk to. Yes, I am that person. The one lingering by the rear of the plane, stretching, bouncing on my toes, getting ready to trap weary travelers in conversation.

Ten years, though. If we had a Tom on the plane, I would be the crew member everyone voted to sacrifice first. Who’s Tom? The guy killing everyone on the Galahad. I guess he wasn’t into long flights with only his thoughts for company, neither. He actually has another agenda, but you’ll need to read the book to learn what it is. What I will tell you is that Will only escapes because he’s immortal.

Even more intrigued? Read ‘Infinite’, it’s a wild ride. I loved the constant stretch of reality and the inventiveness of Will. I was both excited and a little anxious about a sequel.

Before I get into what ‘Infinite2is about, let me just put this out there. It’s an amazing book. In the world of sequels, it measures up in two important ways: It’s not an unnecessary extension of the first story and it’s not the same story told again. There are definite similarities, though, which at the beginning serve well to remind the reader of what’s gone before.

The book starts with Will in the Great Escape, an infinite alternate reality created by himself and Gal, the sophisticated AI who becomes Will’s lover and partner in the first book. It’s not unexpected that we’d find him there. What doesn’t fit is the voice calling him back. At first, the Great Escape feels so real, the voice and clues that connect from reality to reality don’t fit. Eventually, Will becomes aware that his life is a series of stories where he has chosen a character to play and that reality exists somewhere outside these stories. Then he wakes or thinks he does. Then, he realises he’s trapped and that the AI he’s trapped with, his constant companion and lives-long love, Gal, is his jailor.

What happened? What went wrong?

The only way to find out is to wake up and so begins a series of what we could call nightmares as the Gal thrusts Will into ever more terrifying alternate realities where the only way out is death. Will might be immortal in both real life and his alternate lives, but dying that many times, over and over and over again, takes its toll. Add that the AI he loves is not herself and the Great Escape is now a great big trap.

When Will does finally wake, he’s not sure what’s real and what’s not and that’s partly due to the fact he’s lost a lot of himself along the way. A part of it could be the countless deaths but, to fully immerse himself, he locked most of his memories away. Now he needs to reclaim them, which won’t be as easy as plugging in and resetting the program. Virtual reality has become a trap and guess what? Real reality (I can’t believe I just typed that) is something of a trap, too.

  Infinite2 is another wild ride, but beneath the almost endless cycle of lives and realities, the stories Will, Gal, various iterations of Gal and the only other human crew member, Capria, run through is a deeper story asking the same question over and over: What is real?

This is a question I’ve asked myself. You probably have, too. Tell me you haven’t lain awake at night wondering whether it’s all a dream? Many of us have questioned the meaning of life and the purpose of reality. In any given lifespan, we often have the time to live multiple stories. To reinvent ourselves, over and over. Life is confusing. How do we keep it all straight?

We have to peel the layers back and examine the core of ourselves. That’s what Will has to do here. He has to not only remember who he is and what he wants, but he has to feel it. To want it, all over again.

One of the aspects of Jeremy Robinson’s books I always enjoy is the relationships he writes and the amount of emotion he layers into them, whether it’s friendship, romance or even something antagonistic. His characters are always well-rounded in that they think and feel. They act and react. They read like real people. Will feels even more so and the reason for that would be in the author’s note at the end of the book which, to me, was another highlight. As a writer, myself, I’m always interested in what inspires the stories of others and after reading about where ‘Infinite2came from, I was even better able to appreciate the blend of virtual and real.

  Infinite2 is an entertaining read. Deeply thoughtful, but not so esoteric as to be unreachable. It’s a story of adventure, survival, the question of reality and what it is to be human. I highly recommended it.

Kelly Jensen

March 2021

(pub: Breakneck Media, 2021. 380 page hardcover, paperback and ebook. Hardcover price: $28.99 (US) £23.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-94153-958-3. Paperback: $15.99 (US) £12.99 (UK). Ebook: $4.99 (US) £3.99 (UK).

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Kelly Jensen

Writer of love stories. Bibliophile. Gamer. Cat herder.

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