By Robert J. Sawyer
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Multiple award winning Science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer has done it again. Quantum Night is a tour de force in the worlds of speculative fiction. Hitting the reader hard, with ethics, psychology, violence, psychopaths, philosophy and a distinctly Canadian feel, Robert J. Sawyer has once again done his research (handily catalogued at the end of the novel) and has done it well. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride that starts off with a defense trial, memory loss, and ends, almost, at World War III. Sawyer’s stories continue to engage the mind and thoughts of the reader long after the book has been put down.
The writing is crisp and fresh, taking place in Canada, specifically, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and as the author is from those environs the detail to particulars is unsurpassed. The relatively close distances help tie in the characters, who on one side are psychology professors, and on the other quantum physicists. With flair and panache, Sawyer in Quantum Night delivers another believable setting that will hold a very special place in the reader from the True North.
The philosophical and moral issues in the book come naturally and easy, even if you have no knowledge of the subjects (luckily, if you do, you get more bang for your buck). The principal concepts are explained as succinctly and as simply as they possibly can, and the reader is soon drawn into the lingo of novel quite quickly. All ethical issues are dealt with delicately and smoothly giving you the whys, wherefores, and opposing sides and leaves the reader to her or his own imagination. As a side note, the issue of psychopathy, and the states humans exist in, quantum physically, resounds throughout the novel, and casts an interesting light on the perspective of human behavior.
Characterization is stunningly three-dimensional, the cast of the book being relatively small, with few incidental characters. This adds to the mystery behind Quantum Night that begs entanglement between the protagonists and in a very loose sense of the word antagonists. When it comes down to it, the characters are just as embroiled in their pasts and futures that make everyone interconnected to some degree, a point that is actually brought out in the novel. Sawyer’s characters speak with their own voice and there doesn’t even have to be a ‘he said, she said’ byline, as characters can be picked up quite easily from the well-executed dialogue, another testament to Sawyer’s fame.
The plot is beautifully constructed, seemingly out of nothing at first that explodes into high-octane excitement when required. The pacing is a series of psychic jolts, jarring the reader into not putting down the novel. One moment everything is peaceful but through some external event, or character introduction, or flashback sequence, things change… and change fast. The twisting paths that Quantum Night meanders through, holds your attention throughout the work. A series of unfortunate events seems to always happen, and drags you deeper and deeper into the ethical boundaries that this book promulgates.
Over all, for any lover of speculative fiction at its finest, look no further than Quantum Night. For lovers of psychology, philosophy, quantum physics and ethics, this book is definitely for you as well. Robert J. Sawyer has crafted a masterpiece here that shouldn’t go unread.