Contrary to popular belief, I'm fast coming round to the idea that Williams was a *philosophical* writer rather than a *religious* writer. And not only because he himself described his seven novels as "metaphysical thrillers".
Unlike "Descent into Hell" - which is quite frankly an overwrought gothic monstrosity - "Many Dimensions" is a 'typical' Williams story, with standard English prose (standard for the 1930s, that is), a straightforward plotline and plenty of pace. In fact you could put "Many Dimensions" up against later fiction of a similar tone - like Dennis Wheatley, for example (not very well-known now, but immensely popular in the 50s and 60s) - and be hard put to pick a winner.
So where does the philosophy come in?
Primarily in the form of a series of very basic, but also very important, questions that lie just below the surface of the story - and sometimes not even below the surface.
Questions like: "If you can restore all of the people in group A to health, but in the process throw at least an equal number of people in group B out of work - at a time when work isn't that easy to come by in the first place - which group should take priority?"
This question, and others closely related, run all through the story yet, due to Williams' writing skill, they do nothing to impede the plot unless the reader actively chooses to think them through.
The final answer Williams gives, I *think*, is that there is no *easy* answer. Only he frames his conclusion far more lucid and impactful manner than that last observation might suggest.
In short, this writing has the power to enthrall and satisfy a wide range of readers.
The only reason I don't give it five stars is because the literary style is typical of British writing in the 1930s, which I guess won't necessarily be to everyone's taste.
Having said which, I really do recommend the majority of Williams' novels as a taste worth acquiring.
Oh yes, why did I give this review the title "Does God Play Dice?"? When you read the book I think you'll know exactly why.