I snagged Infinity's Web from a used bookshop, to read something by one of the woman writers from the 70s whom I’d missed. Despite a concept that I generally like a lot, it was not too impressive. I could feel myself forgetting it even as it read it.

Anastasia Valerie Stein exists in multiple realities: Ann, an unhappy housewife and mom in (more or less) our world; Val, a lesbian teacher in a polluted dystopia; Stacey, a hippie in a threesome; and Tasha, a sorceress in a world in which Hitker conquered England and then crowned his nephew emperor. I kept wondering what happened to the Jews and other hated people in the last version, especially since as Ann is Jewish, Tasha probably is too, but if it’s ever mentioned, I blinked and missed it. Some of the women start becoming aware of each other, and then a magical Indian, Chandra Krishna Lal, suddenly appears and ushers Ann into a higher level of consciousness. The end!

The pleasure of this sort of story, at least for me, is in comparing the ways the various realities and women are the same and different, and seeing how they got to be that way. It’s a story which needs strong characterization, and preferably good worldbuilding, but both are sketchy. Lisa Tuttle’s novel Lost Futures is a much better version of an extremely similar story. If you click on the link, ignore the awful cover – despite appearances, it isn’t a horror story.


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