(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Many Dimensions is one of Williams’ most accessible novels, but it is still challenging. The plot is relatively clear, as is the fact that each character receives the fate his or her nature merits. The book can be complex, even baffling, regarding the Stone’s mechanisms and underlying philosophy. Williams examines the workings of the Stone with the logical rigor of science fiction, from paradoxes of time travel to the social implications of instantaneous travel. Like the Space Trilogy of his friend C. S. Lewis, however, Williams’ work always roots this speculation in theological concerns.

Lord Arglay is writing a book titled Survey of Organic Law, and that is what the novel examines: divine law, incarnated within the Stone itself and all the universe, a combination of living potential and unyielding necessity that cannot be ignored or abused without consequences. Sir Giles sarcastically, but accurately, calls Arglay and Chloe “justice and innocence”; each protects the other and is protected by identification with something more important than the self. As in all of Williams’ novels, those who use power for their own ends are destroyed by it, while those who serve a greater good become their best selves. Many Dimensions ends sadly. Williams does not show Chloe’s post-corporeal reward, as he does for Lester Furnival in All Hallows’ Eve (1945), but the reader must, like Lord Arglay, at least conditionally...

(The entire section is 403 words.)