While Steve Collins was out to save the world in his own way in Maelstrom, in Escaping Infinty, Pete Childress is just minding his own business. He’s trying to get to Phoenix for a presentation without strangling his traveling companing, and best friend, Charlie for getting them good and lost again. Saving the world and all of humanity was the last thing on his mind when we are introduced to Pete.
But the prologue to Escaping Infinity should have warned you that this was going to be anything but a simple road trip for Pete. Yes, that is Earth that gets scorched to a cinder on the very first page of the book. And yes, this is a superversive story despite the grim opening.
Pete and Charlie encounter The Infinity, a hotel inexplicably out in the middle of nowhere that offers weary travelers everything they could possibly want or need. Charlie is immediately taken in by the place and charges off to pursue one of the hotel staff while enjoying its casino.
Pete just wants to get a good night’s sleep, get directions to Phoenix and get back on the road first thing in the morning. But he begins to notice something seems “wrong” about The Infinity, and that feeling of “wrongness” takes hold when Pete notices two important details about the hotel. First, it appears to have many more floors than appeared possible based on his exterior view of the hotel.
Second, when he heads back to the front desk to inquire with Liz, the desk clerk that checked them in, he finds that the entrance he’d just used not one hour before no longer exists. In fact, he can find no exit back to the outside world at all.
His explorations lead him to several encounters with other guests, people who not only appear out of place, but out of time itself. Romans, ancient Egyptians, a couple from pre-World War II Japan and another couple heading for Paris in the days following the end of that second World War. When Pete finally catches up with Charlie, his friend is as oblivious to the trap they have fallen into as all of the rest.
The mysterious Liz suggests Pete check out a certain door in the indoor garden then scurries away when the Hotel Manager draws near. When Pete locates the door and attempts to open it he is attacked and chased back to his room by a ferocious, and
quite gigantic beast that resembles a blue teddy bear on steroids, roid-rage and all.
Liz is waiting for him in his room after his narrow escape and Pete is unnerved to see his wounds quickly healing and his torn clothing repairing itself. Liz explains that these are all normal occurances within the walls of The Infinity. She also confirms that no one who has entered the hotel has ever walked back out.
After learning the circumstances that led Liz to become trapped in The Infinity, as well as exactly how long she has been trapped inside, Pete resolves to get them both back out. But to do so means he must leave Charlie behind and the gut-wrenching choice tears at Pete’s heart and soul as he vows not only to get out, but to find a way to return and free everyone trapped inside.
The couple’s attempt at freedom fails, just as it seems as if they had found the way out. The Manager calmly informs them that no such path exists and encourages them both to accept their fate. Beaten and exhausted, they both do and become as much a part of the hotel as everyone else inside.
Now, at this point you’re screaming “Hey, buddy, this is a subversive story! Evil wins! Charlatan! Fakir!!!!”
And it is at this point that I remind you that the one thing I am noted for in my storytelling is waving a bright, shiny object in my left hand to draw your attention away from what my right hand is doing. Or, as my friend, The Dome, says: “With you, Richard, everything is the MacGuffin!”
Because it is at this point when I swing my mighty Superversive battle-ax and lay an epic superversive smackdown on the story and the reader.
Suffice it to say, Pete figures out how to beat the trap that was The Infinity and finds the way out. And it is here where we find out the connection between The Infinity and the destruction of Earth, as well as the true role of the manager.
But that isn’t the end of the story. A Superversive tale has elements of religion in it. And Escaping Infinty has that. It doesn’t promote a single belief over any other – in fact, I’ve been granted honorary status in several religions by people who have read this book – but rather it incorporates a lot of biblical themes into the conclussion of the story.
And the conclussion is very Superversive. Evil does not prevail. Heroes find it within themselves to rise up when the moment calls for them and deliver. And the future of mankind, despite the terrible event that opened the story is positive and uplifting.
You can’t get anymore superversive than that. So, check out Escaping Infinity for yourself and let me know what you think.