- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (July 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805096191
- ISBN-13: 978-0805096194
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 105 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Flicker Men: A Novel Hardcover – July 21, 2015
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“A high-speed thriller. . . . The pages turn rapidly with well-orchestrated suspense.” ―The New York Times
“Kosmatka effectively harnesses his impressive imagination in the service of a mind-blowing plot in this outstanding SF [science fiction] thriller. . . . Ingenious plot twists, well-realized characters, and superior prose elevate this above similar books.” ―Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Brilliant . . . . This well-written and fast-paced scientific thriller builds into a beautiful and suspenseful crescendo until the climax in the final chapters. It will leave readers wondering about the possibilities of this world and others.” ―Library Journal, Starred Review
“Impressively ominous . . . . This novel is at its most memorable when it's at its smartest, leaving its flawed narrator to contend with the terrifying implications of all that he's set in motion.” ―Kirkus
“Kosmatka combines real science, fictional characters, and some clever (and plausible) speculation to create a first-rate thriller.” ―Booklist
“An original, smart physics thriller . . . . Kosmatka writes with great skill and . . . . sells his concepts so well that it's hard to pinpoint where the real science ends . . . . Kosmatka's prose is lean and creative. He handles action and sci-fi speculation with wit and a flair for drawing out suspense. . . . A fun, exciting read.” ―The Missourian
“Ted Kosmatka has combined solid scientific research with a highly inventive imagination to create a sci-fi thriller full of chase scenes, murder, kidnappings and mayhem . . . . Kosmatka ponders the religious and scientific implications of the results through Argus and the other well-formulated characters . . . . Comprehending this mind-bending process is well worth the effort . . . . Kosmatka has taken a complex scientific paradox and turned it into a rapid race against time.” ―Shelf Awareness
“The most interesting science thriller I've read this year. . . . The Flicker Men twists the weird implications of the [double-slit] experiment into a narrative that is both surprising and philosophically rich. . . . A five-star read. . . . A singular work of hard SF by one of the most inspired science fiction writers working today. ” ―Science Thrillers
“The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka is what the best SF should be; a story that compels the reader to grapple with the questions that drive the conflict, writing so good that you're fixed in place like a pithed frog, and characters that you care about from the opening sentence. . . . This book is nonstop terrific. . . . One of the best novels I've read in a long time. . . . The Flicker Men is as finely crafted as it is provocative. I'd recommend it for summer reading by the beach, or winter reading by the fire. Where you are won't matter once you get lost in its pages.” ―SF Revu
“A creepy masterpiece of a novel where absolutely nothing is what it seems. . . . A fast-paced thriller that also provides much food for thought. There's a lot of science in the book, but don't let it intimidate you. In fact, let it lead you to further research. It makes for fascinating reading. . . . It doesn't hurt that the author is really good at atmosphere and cranking the creep factor up to ten. . . . If you like cerebral thrillers that educate as well as thrill, Ted Kosmatka has you covered.” ―My Bookish Ways
“This book hurt my brain, which is actually a compliment to author Ted Kosmatka. The Flicker Men raises serious issues concerning science, theology, free will, fate, and basically, our understanding of the universe--leaving the reader a lot to think about long after the last page is turned. . . . Despite the emphasis on quantum mechanics, the storyline itself was so intriguing that I was able to enjoy the book even though I personally didn't understand all the aspects of the experiment . . . . The story walked a fine line between science and science-fiction, and should please fans of both.” ―Mystery Scene Magazine
“If Stephen Hawking and Stephen King wrote a novel together, you'd get The Flicker Men. Brilliant, disturbing, and beautifully told. Left me questioning the universe and our tiny little corner of it.” ―Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of the Wool series
“The Flicker Men isn't just a book you'll want to stay up until 3 a.m. reading-it's a book you'll want to stay up until 3 a.m. talking about, too. This super-fun, action-packed, sci-fi thriller tells a great story and packs in a ton of profound and fascinating ideas about the nature of reality, the origins of consciousness, and the meaning of life. Just make sure you read this book with a friend! You will absolutely want someone else to talk to about all its mind-blowing ideas.” ―Jane McGonigal, New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
“The Flicker Men sits you on a cliff of fact, looking into the abyss of fiction. Then Kosmatka sets off an earthquake and leaves you holding on for dear life. Expertly paced and brilliantly realized, this is a thriller I could not put down.
” ―Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Zero World
“Ted Kosmatka is both an excellent writer and a hell of a storyteller.” ―Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of The Quest
About the Author
Ted Kosmatka was born and raised in Chesterton, Indiana, and spent more than a decade working in various laboratories where he sometimes used electron microscopes. He is the author of Prophet of Bones and The Games, a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel and one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2012. His short fiction has been nominated for both the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards and has appeared in numerous Year's Best anthologies. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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After that third, the book takes a turn into a full-blown thriller, which I found much less engaging than the interplay of quantum mechanics, psychology and chemical dependency that marks the beginning. It's not a BAD thriller by any stretch, but the beginning of this book had primed me to have my mind blown, and I didn't feel the end delivered on that promise.
The thriller portion itself is also heavily influenced by quantum mechanics, and accompanying philosophical discursions. The paranoia that arises from not knowing what layer of reality the narrative occupies reminded me of the films Inception and Pi.
Kosmatka is a much, much better prose stylist than most writers of thrillers. And he's basically on a par with Neal Stephenson in terms of integrating geek concepts with thriller plotlines, while showing a broader range of emotional expression than Stephenson demonstrates. But I got the impression that once he finally let the bullets start to fly, he got impatient to finish, and nearly abandoned all the brooding, uncertain, brilliant character development that could have made this book that rarest of gems: a genuinely literary thriller.
I'm keeping my eye out for more of his titles, though. He's got tremendous, tremendous talent.
You science purists out there may choke apoplectically over some of the author's uses of the science in the novel but in the areas covered there is enough room for the story if you can acept that, "We don't really know as much about the quantum universe as we like to pretend" (and we really don't). The author spends a lot of time without wasting dialogue educating the reader through the character on the twists and turns of quantum mechanics.
It's great foundational book for reading other novels in this particular genre and style and is as entertaining in the suspense and action as it is in the science realm.
Eventually, though, your head starts to throb, and you just kinda give up trying to grasp all of the Science subtleties, and you just start to take Kosmatka’s word for it - strange, strange stuff happens when you get really, really small. Besides, if you wanna do the research on your own, Kosmatka provides a very nice bibliography in the back of the novel.
The real triumph of the book, however, is the fact that despite the brain-melting science, the book is still very readable and enjoyable (a feat that not all uber-hard science fiction novelists can pull off).
If there’s one area that could have been more (much more) it was the plot. The ethical dilemmas raised by the novel are touched on, but never focused on the way you sorta expect them to be. The book could have gone in several directions, but it seemed that Kosmatka really wanted to just look at the Science. It’s too bad, because there is a lot of plot that could have been created, but the book just doesn’t go there. The Science always came first, the plot a distant second. But the book was short enough and written well enough that it still worked.
Read this book for the Science - it’ll make either make you feel really smart or make you throw the book across the room in total frustration. The writing is very good, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character (this is how you write the drunken, broken protagonist, btw), and the action and intrigue is very engaging. I just wish he had spent another hundred pages or so fleshing out a more meaningful plot.
This book belongs on the shelf next to other novels with insane amounts of science such as Tau Zero, Blindsight, and The Quantum Thief - though The Flicker Men is much more approachable than all of them. If you liked any of these books, then The Flicker Men should be right up your alley.
It was slow going at first, as I started just with audible at bed time and kept having to go back because I would fall asleep (because I was tired and the guys voice was so darn soothing, not because it was boring)
A really great story. A lot of science that I had a bit of a struggle woth when it seemed to get technical but that no way took away from the writer making me understand what was happening. I really liked the characters and I was really sad at one point,for one in particular. I think this book would make a great movie, but that's just my opinion. I will definitely be checking out other work from Ted Kosmatka
Not sure what I expected, but once I started I had a very tough time putting it down. A really great ride that makes you think hard about the human perception of the universe and reality as we know it.
Would maybe have liked a deeper set of answers and resolution at the end, but it was still a very good end. And wanting the answers is kinda part of the whole issue, isn't it? And does the wanting itself affect the answer?
A great read.