RogerBW's Blog

Superposition, David Walton 26 October 2015

2015 science fiction. Jacob Kelley's old friend shows up at his house, babbling about artificial intelligences in the quantum computer that is the universe. Later, the old friend is found dead – having apparently been murdered the night before he turned up – and Kelley is put on trial for his murder.

This might have been an interesting book but I despised the protagonist-narrator so hugely in the opening chapter that it never really had a chance with me. He's left his job at the New Jersey Supercollider to teach high-school physics, and is self-righteous about it; he thinks his old friend is being sneeringly superior to him, and he's self-righteous about it; he randomly decides that said old friend is looking lustfully at his 16-year-old daughter, and he's self-righteous about that. Also he loses his temper for all of the above reasons, or no reason at all. Even when the old friend is telling him repeatedly how amazing and wonderful and brilliant and best physicist in the world he is. Why the hell do I want to read a book about this person?

After that introduction it's basically a courtroom drama surrounding a very lightweight mystery, interspersed with lectures on physics. I think it's trying to be the quantum-theory equivalent of Redshift Rendezvous, bringing strange phenomena into a human scale to point up their oddities, but for me it never quite gelled. Perhaps if I hadn't hated the principal character so much it would have worked better. Or if Schrödinger's cat were a new and strange idea to me, because that's what this book relies on for its sensawunda.

Oh, and it's only part one of two.

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See also:
Redshift Rendezvous, John E. Stith

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