The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus – Daniel Boone Regional Library

The Gentleman Recommends: Tim Wirkus

I like my reading material like I like my nachos: with several delicious layers. “The Infinite Future” meets this criteria. In Tim Wirkus’s novel a character named Tim Wirkus runs into an old college classmate. Intriguing! What has the classmate been up to? How is it going? Do they remember the eccentric professor? There is so much to discuss when you see an acquaintance for the first time in years, but rather than mine their lives for stimulating conversation, the classmate urges Wirkus to run a manuscript by his agent. Wirkus has to spend time in an airport, so with his other reading material, laptop, tablet, phone, and e-reader lost or damaged (I assume), Wirkus settles on reading the unsolicited manuscript.

"The Infinite Future" book coverThe manuscript begins with a translator’s note by Danny Laszlo (Wirkus’s former classmate). It’s the story of how Danny came to acquire the manuscript he translates. Danny goes to Brazil on a grant from an organization that wants him to write about Mormon missionary work there. Instead, with significant prodding from an obsessed librarian, he joins a hunt for a missing manuscript from an obscure science fiction author. Danny scatters summaries of the obscure author’s work throughout his translator’s note, and these are treats for anyone who has or would enjoy the work of Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout. The librarian shows Danny a book proposal for a missing manuscript called “The Infinite Future.” The proposal sells it as a “prophetic text on par with the Holy Bible or I Ching.” Danny and the librarian buy the hype.

They team up with an excommunicated Mormon historian and eventually find some answers and a portion of a manuscript. The manuscript is written from the point of view of a space-nun. She’s awaiting death at the hands of a warship. While she waits for the warship to arrive and kill everyone at her convent, she decides to recount and examine stories about their religious icon, a former space captain. The space captain stories should be a lot of fun for anyone who likes “Star Trek” or stories about the challenges of maintaining one’s cool while you search for a doomsday device at the orders of your captor, etc.

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