Looking for a recent novel about a pair of aliens who fight amongst each other and trapped on Earth as a result.

They try to escape, by nudging humanity towards discovering specific tech, and are punished for this by a "jailer" who blocks off each attempt at escape by "disabling" the related technology (this is a very important part of the whole book, since it happens multiple times).

The story has multiple dimensions, time loops, timetravel, alternate histories, humans obtaining superpowers.

Some more things that I can remember:

  1. The protagonists are researchers working at a radio telescope
  2. Atleast one of the protagonists is Asian male (he's the one who finally fights and defeats the bad (worse?) alien)
  3. We're told this story from the POVs of several protagonists, across time and space.
  4. The opening chapter of the book details how the two aliens "fall" through the dimensions, fighting, breaking stuff, annoying other beings, and finally hitting the "bottom" of the dimensional "well" (that is, our four dimensions)
  5. Most of the action happens in the modern world (ie, electronics are common) and near-future, with a few POVs reaching far future.
  6. One such POV is of an "immortal" woman who cannot be killed, due to her impervious body/skin. She is "lost" in a freak teleportation accident, and found a few decades later embedded INSIDE a coal mine. Apparently she timetravelled millions of years to the distant past and got stuck in a bog. As a result of her immortality, she survived. When she's found, she's barely functional, and requires intense therapy before she can be normal. In this story, humans eventually devolve into a cult obsessed with throwing this woman into a black hole, and devote EVERYTHING to building a spaceship that can perform this task.

Thats about all I can remember.


1 Answer 1


This is Fine Structure by qntm, originally published (and still available) on his website.

From the summary there:

Fledgling physicist Ching-Yu Kuang has discovered a Rosetta Stone for all of physics, a treasure trove of advanced scientific breakthroughs beyond all imagination. Exotic energy, teleportation, FTL, parallel universes and near-infinitely more wonders are just within reach; a promise of paradise.

But every attempt to exploit this new science results in sabotage, chaos and destruction. And the laws of science themselves are changing with each experiment, locking out the new discoveries, directly altering the universe to make what should be possible impossible. While Ching watches, humanity's future is being stolen.

Because there's something wrong with his world. There's a fundamental flaw, a defect in its structure...

Note, your points are almost all accurate apart from the last one - she didn't time travel from the future, she...

used her immortality to live through hundreds of thousands of years from the present while a computer brute-forced the message encoding.

  • this is it! thank you! its one of my favorite works.
    – arslab
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 11:47

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