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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The end times might be the result of a catalyst by a New Yorker named Sam Cattan in the science fiction book Artefactum by J.E. Tobal. Bartender Sam and his tattoo artist girlfriend Una are a near-perfect match and the finding of a fertility figure among Una's things heightens their experiences as that very model is the key to a portal to different dimensions. Sam has an affair within an alternate reality and Una ends their relationship as a result. Emotionally destroyed, Sam starts to explore the almost limitless alternate realities he can jump through to facilitate a second chance with the woman he loves. While doing this, Sam's understanding of dimensional tourism expands and Tobal's science fiction romantic tragedy evolves into a recipe for Armaggedon.
Artefactum by J.E. Tobal adds a distinctly human element to this science fiction novel that usually gets lost in the tech side of books in the genre. I think the majority of the science fiction readership would agree that characters like Sam with true emotional depth are the exception rather than the rule, and it is for this reason that Artefactum has the potential to be the success that it deserves to be. Tobal's character development is rich and the nuanced way the author probes Weltanschauung is exceptional. Sam's justification for what he is up to and his looking for ways to fix a relationship he screwed up is completely disproportionate to the apocalypse his tampering with alternative realities can cause. Sam's morality is questionable at best but Tobal has the chops to still make Sam likable and that's why Artefactum works. Overall, this is a remarkably singular novel and worth the time investment times infinity. Very highly recommended.