Robert A. Metzger

Ace Books / 389 pages / (March 2002)

ISBN: 0441008992

For those of us who haven’t quite mastered all the principles of quantum mechanics, particles physics, and other such demanding theoretical disciplines of science (that’s right; we were the ones who never did get our little liquid batteries to work in school) Picoverse is one ride where we’re just going to have to hold on and hope everything comes out okay. For you physicists out there, here is the roller coaster of your dreams. Regardless of your left- or right-brain orientations, keep the safety bar pulled down and your hands inside the car, because Picoverse takes off at well past light-speed.

Dr. Katie McGuire has enough worries on her mind. Something strange is going on with her beloved son Anthony, a prodigy but an increasingly dangerous and detached one. With little or no help from her ex-husband and colleague, Dr. Horst, she is attempting to break through to the boy before the change is irreversible. She should at least be able to trust Horst to delay the experiment on the fusion power breakthrough Sonomak after she detects potential catastrophes springing from the trial run. But, unlike Katie, Horst finds safety is less important than fame and power. The disaster resulting from the trial run is more overpowering than anything even Katie could have imagined.

The fallout from the experiment brings them disaster in a devious form. The ruthless and enigmatic Alexandra seems the answer to their funding prayers, but the aid she imposes may well bring about the end of this universe and all of the other universes that are soon to be revealed to the scientists. Alexandra has a hidden agenda for these picoverses, and like all her plans, the final consequence is suffering and extermination for every world she touches. Her scheming will drag Katie, Anthony, Horst, their new associate Jack Preston, and a cast of characters, both fictional and somewhat factual, from one end of the universe to the other. Not that they, or the reader, is quite certain which universe that is at any given time.

Metzger’s Picoverse races through a plot far more complex than the simple twist of knot pictured on the cover. With picoverses inside universes, intersecting picoverses, the physics alone is a full-time task to keep up with, or just try to keep a slim grasp on. With realities shifting from one -verse to the next, the motives and loyalties of the characters shift rapidly, leaving readers unable to completely trust anyone in the book until their intentions are proven. Plans nest within plans and things are seldom as they appear. Like Katie and the others the reader must simply stay alert and be ready for anything. Absolutely anything.

It’s not a sip hot cocoa and curl up by the fire book; it’s a get wired and get ready to have your brain tied in knots book. You’re either up for it, or you aren’t — you’ll find out.