1. Infinity: A Bridger's Story - Overall Impressions


First off - I wouldn't have picked this if I had known it was a novella and not a novel. I was finished with it before half the month was done.

The story has a lot of action - Passerine/Infinity is a MMA athlete and violence is her game. it starts out with a fight, goes through her recruitment with Scottie, her training as a bridger for the SafeTrek company, and her first bridging, which is a near disaster.

What did you think overall? What do you feel about this story?


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    So, I didn’t mind the length. It was pretty short, and I thought the main mission was the warm-up to a real mission until I got to the end. Whatever. Clearly there’s more to explore here if one want to continue reading.

    As for liking it, this book as some strong counts against it.

    For one, the whole business case of discovering a way to bridge worlds, then training professionals, only to have 50% of them die each mission, and for that to be funded by ‘scientists’ who are clearly rolling in no-questions-asked grant money and who are happy to spend 36 hours without so much as a pencil, making ‘observational research’ that could never be published is Completely Ridiculous (tm)!

    Also, the idea that things not of the body can’t go to these other worlds is very obviously just a dumb plot device. How would the physics differentiate what is and isn’t part of the body? You red blood cells and your mitochondria and the air in your lungs can go, but your stomach contents can’t? Give me a break!

    And the second count against it is, it’s really cliched! I mean really, a misunderstood woman who can only show her worth by beating men at their own game? And that game is MMA fighting? At least it was shy on football metaphors.

    So, on the surface this book ought to be a loser. And yet I really rather enjoyed it. I thought the writing was straightforward and fun. It’s pure adventure writing. It’s not pretending to be anything else, and it’s pretty good at what it does. If they have audio versions, I’m willing to go at least one more book into the series. I thought it was a 3.5 out of 5.
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    I was taken aback by the length, mainly because I never saw a physical book so my only clue was the percentage progress marker! But given that it was (if I recall correctly) written retrospectively to provide a start point for other already-written books, then that kind of makes sense.

    Like @Apocryphal I wasn't at all convinced by the arbitrary rules about what went and what didn't - there seemed to be an underlying authorial assumption that "living parts" of the body went but "dead parts" didn't... but hair and nails are very much alive (and continued growing on mummified Pharaohs in the sarcophagus). So then I wondered if it was a kind of teenagery way to get some nudity into the book, but nothing was ever made of this except for a bit of mild embarrassment on Day 1. My final guess was that he'd simply asserted that that was the case in books written earlier but set later, and had to provide some kid of rationale.

    Funding for scientists must work very differently in that world! Here you have to provide all kinds of justification for your research, and a kind of "I need a million dollars or so but I can't tell you where it's going or what it's for" approach is unlikely to get you very far.

    I have another thought about the particular variant of many worlds but I'll hold on to that in case there's a better location for that.

    But... as a fun racy way to read some far-out ideas, it kind of worked! I was never at any kind of risk of giving up on it and as made curious about the others in the series

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    It was awful. Just rubbish. It wasn't offensive, and it rattled along at a decent pace, but there was nothing there. (My wife likes reading trash just before going to sleep. She started one of the main-series books and abandoned it part-way through due to boredom.)

    But! In an attempt to bring something positive from the book, a question. Is the rise of self-publishing, and especially the shovelware of Kindle Unlimited, leading to a resurgence of pulp?

    After all, there's no a market for simple, easy-to-read stories that entertain without making great demands. Simple plots, clear heroes and villains, an easy gimmick, and relatively straightforward to churn out a series. The rise of cheap books in the 20s-40s led to that style of fiction, and are we seeing something similar now?

  • 0
    Here's an article on flooding kindle with books written or cowritten by ChatGPT - not quite the same as the case you mentioned, but not all that different... https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/ai-author-books-amazon-chatgpt-b2287111.html
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    I liked the book, but thought everything but the writing was underdone. It had the depth of a potato chip, but if you're looking for potato chips, they work as advertised. It was mostly vaguely disappointing, with no surprises.

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    Out of curiosity, why did you pick this from all the wide world of possibilities? Did someone recommend it, or were you researching a concept, or just like the sound of it?
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    @Apocryphal said:
    Out of curiosity, why did you pick this from all the wide world of possibilities? Did someone recommend it, or were you researching a concept, or just like the sound of it?

    I thought it sounded interesting is all, and in the back of my mind were the Laumer books.

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