Alpha Max: An Existential Romp through an Absurd Multiverse by Mark A. Rayner

Publication date: 2/11/2021

‘But it’s like this – every time we make a choice, that creates new universes.’

If you have read some of Mr Rayner’s earlier novels, then you will be acquainted with Maximilian Tundra. Well, one or two aspects of him anyway. But in this book, there’s so much more to Max. So, there he is, in his living room when the impossible happens: a physical duplicate of Max appears, wearing that most flattering of outfits, a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard. Imagine. Max knows that something bad is going to happen.

‘Is it possible we’re between realities?’

Max is, it appears, the only person who can prevent the end of the world. Not just on planet Earth: in the multiverse there are an infinite number of Earths. And they will all be destroyed if Max doesn’t save them. Gulp.

‘The clock ticks for all of us, whether we see time as a cycle or a river. Our lives will end. We know this intellectually.’

Perhaps the most important existential question is: how? Max does have assistance. Sort of. There are aliens and there are also (seemingly countless) versions of Max himself. Hmm.

‘Exactly. Consciousness and time are connected. You humans will never be able to let go of your egotistic idea that you exist.’

Once you get into it (and that tight-fitting silver lamé unitard is hard to unsee) this is a ridiculously funny story where a superhero emerges (sort of) as saviour. A unique blend of dark humour, satire, and science fiction. Think about it.

Thank you, Mr Rayner, for the laughs.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley, the author and Monkeyjoy Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith