Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting, Stimulating Read, 30 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Finity (Paperback)
I have only recently discovered John Barnes, but I can say that he is a very talented writer. I had had this book on my shelf for a good while now, and I am glad I finally picked it up to read it. I found this novel very entertaining and "gripping." Granted, the story is disjointed at points, but so is the world that Barnes has created here, one where people "jump" back and forth between dimensions or universes. Some of the characters are quite forgettable, but the narrator and Iphwin stand out from the crowd. Despite this, I would like to have seen more "fleshing out" of Iphwin in the novel; there were aspects about him that lingered in my mind until the end. I expected to get some insight on these traits, but the lines were left dangling somewhat. What I remember most about the narrator is his detailed explanations of and conjectures based on "abductive reasoning." Maybe I have managed to get away from hard science fiction long enough to be impressed by Barnes' elaboration of these ideas, but the fact of the matter is that I was impressed (in a similar way as I am impressed--though somewhat bored--by Jules Verne's prosaic "scientific" tangents). The ending of the story was indeed somewhat anticlimactic. With just a few pages to go, I kept wondering how the author was going to tie everything up into a neat little bow in so short a time. In point of fact, Barnes did the opposite of what I was looking for and resolved very little. In a way, though, it is nice for an author to resist the pressure to achieve balance and full illumination in his writing. All in all, I found this to be a very good novel; before I was halfway through it, in fact, I had already gone out to buy all of Barnes' books that I could find locally. I have read a couple of his other novels since reading Finity, but I found this book to be the most interesting and memorable of the group.
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