Paths to Otherwhere
The setting is a grim 21st century in which military power
blocs grouped around China and Japan are on the verge of a major war to decide
who will control the immense resources of the former Soviet territories.
When the conflict comes the West will inevitably be drawn in, since whichever
side emerges as the new superpower will control two thirds of the world's population.
Its first priority then will be to settle old grievances, real and imagined,
with the one-time imperialist oppressor nations. As a consequence both
Europe and the U.S. have militarized into authoritarian police states in preparation
for a racial war of survival.
Amid all the restrictions and cultural decay, Hugh
Brenner and Theo Jantowitz are researchers at U.C. Berkeley involved in a branch
of recently established Multiverse (MV) physics that explains the impossibilities
of evolution as accumulated information originating from a vast range of parallel
realities, brought together by startling molecular-level properties of nervous
systems. Other technologies derived from the new physics have immense political
and military implications, however, and all work outside controlled government
environments is terminated. With no other option open for continuing MV-related
research, Hugh and Jantowitz are reluctantly recruited to a secret program under
military direction where all activity in the unraveling the strange new insights
into the fundamentals of quantum phenomena field is being concentrated.
Here they become part of a small maverick group within
the facility who begin working independently to pursue a vision they have glimpsed
of a universe staggeringly more vast than anything previously imagined.
They find themselves "occupying" counterparts of themselves who exist
in worlds where history has taken every course conceivable; worlds where the
wars of the 20th century were fought with curiously different outcomes . . .
And even a world where they never happened at all.