- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Ace; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425256839
- ISBN-13: 978-0425256831
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Quantum Night Hardcover – March 1, 2016
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Praise for Robert J. Sawyer
“No one digs into a sci-fi thought experiment with quite the zest that Robert J. Sawyer does.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Cracking open a new Robert J. Sawyer book is like getting a gift from a friend who visits all the strange and undiscovered places in the world. You can’t wait to see what he’s going to amaze you with this time.”—John Scalzi, author of Lock In
“Robert J. Sawyer explores the intersection between big ideas and real people.”—Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo Award–winning author of The Affinities
“There are few authors writing today that bring such a strong combination of literate storytelling and complex ideas to the page. Robert J. Sawyer is one of the best in the business right now.”—The Maine Edge
“A new Robert J. Sawyer book is always cause for celebration.”—Analog
About the Author
Robert J. Sawyer lives just outside of Toronto. He has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel of the Year, and the ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his Aurora Award-winning novel of the same name.
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Top customer reviews
I made a real point to avoid reviews or anything even remotely about this book before I read it.
It's set in the near future, bouncing back to newly-discovered memories of the main character, Jim Marchuk. The story follows Marchuk as he makes discoveries about both people in general (why are some people psychopaths? Why do others seem to simply follow the crowd?) and about himself specifically. I'm not a good reviewer, so I can only tell you that the book held my interest completely, all the way through, and left me lying awake after finishing it, wondering where I would fit in, in this world of quantum states of consciousness. Am I what I would like to think?
One reviewer noted that politics had intruded into the story, and he found that distasteful, but in this story, politics are virtually required... the world can be greatly impacted by the actions of a very few, and how that could change for the better or worse was an integral part of the story.
My best indicator of whether a book gets five stars is whether I will read it again. This one will be on my required repeat reading list, for various reasons. Plus for the first time, Sawyer added a bibliography. Based on the questions that arise in this book, some of those things will be added to my reading list as well.
Well done, Mr. Sawyer! Well done!
Why just three stars? Well, the novel is set in (very) near future, and the author immediately gets entangled with current politics. It doesn't even matter if it's left or right, it's just a little too current and does not belong to a sci-fi book. The usual annoying "protagonist divides humankind into deserving few and undeserving many, and promptly puts him/her self in the former camp" trope applies, only this time the protagonist is even more annoying than usual. Regardless of your political leanings, this aspect of the book is cringe-inducing.
Problem number two: the ending hinges on a bunch of truly amazing coincidences (even for a quantum universe), and the big scientific idea / break-through in the end would be obvious to anyone capable of doing 3rd grade math. A little disappointing.
This said, it's a good read, and the mystery plot (which starts the events in the book) is actually very well done. Some psychology anecdotes and thought experiments are interesting and new to a layman (well, at least this layman). And it is indeed thought-provoking. Cautiously recommended.
PS. Protagonist has a somewhat corny sense of humor (appropriate for a character), but the jokes are often unexpected and surprisingly funny. About 1/2 laugh/cringe ratio :-)
I'll continue to buy RJS' books, but this one was a disappointment.
That said, I can't in good conscience recommend this book, because it is clear that the author hastily re-authored some portions of the book in response to the 2016 US Presidential Election. The vast majority of the novel would have been fine in and of itself as a thought experiment on quantum psychopaths and the widespread effects of such people on society. I'm sure the general allusions to politics in general were written prior to the election and they make sense given the content. And the science behind the ideas of quantum consciousness is theoretically sound and approached in an educated and believable manner.
Where it all goes off the rails is the extremely obvious forced inclusions of anti-Trump rhetoric. Whether it is a spree of illegal immigrant murders in Texas that are constantly referenced in the news or overwrought allusions to racism and the treatment of blacks in America (a black character arriving in Winnipeg literally says "Now I know what it feels like to be white"), Sawyer goes out of his way to make sure the reader is aware that things are very bad since the new US President took over. The narrator's regular internal monologues on Fox News don't help either. These moments have little or no connection to the story and the book would be far better off without them. By the end of the story where there is literally a genocide against hispanics and the US invades Canada over abortion rights the book had already went way off the rails.
Even without the force-feeding of post-election politics haphazardly added to the book, the general plot falls apart quickly halfway through the book once a spree of riots erupt across Canada after the Winnipeg Jets lose to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals (talk about unbelievable futures). Rather than keep the riots to a more believable level, Sawyer's novel jumps the shark and has multiple deranged lunatics chasing down random people to murder them, all loosely tied to the central premise that 30% of the world's population are actually psychopaths largely controlling the behavior of 40% of the world who are mindless zombies (and also happen to be mostly conservatives, I kid you not).
There are some good ideas here that could have made a great book, but the execution is simply flawed and ends up being the worst offering that Sawyer has ever released. And the last-minute inclusion of irrelevant politics doesn't add anything to the story.
Mr. Sawyer may want to tackle the scientific condition of cognitive dissonance in his next novel because he is suffering massively from it.
Most recent customer reviews
Sawyer wrote this novel in an overly political way while through in some smattering of science and pseudo-psychiatric theater to create...Read more