Tuesday, October 9, 2012

quantum fiction

I have a confession: I love quantum physics. So, as you might imagine I'm pretty jazzed that a scientist from one of my alma maters just won the Nobel Prize in Physics. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". Read all about it on The Novel Prize in Physics site.

So, of course, I also love quantum fiction and often write it and read it. In case you aren't familiar with the term, Wikipedia says Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics.

Last week I discovered author Paul Melko. His novel The Walls of the universe is quintessential quantum fiction and so good. John Rayburn, an Ohio farmboy, is tricked by his own doppelganger into using a broken universe-hopping device, sending him on a one-way trip to a dozen other, bizarre universes. He must use his wits to find his way back to his home universe, without running afoul of the mysterious forces afoot in the multiverse.
His novel Broken Universe is also very good. John and his friends have been trapped in a parallel universe while they try to build dimension-hopping transfer device, and when they finally get back to their home universe, they find that the Alarians have exploited the homemade transfer device john left behind. John and his team have got to stop them before they use the transfer device to unleash themselves upon the multiverse. Along the way, John and friends recruit an army of their doppelgangers to help them build a transdimensional company.
Besides the awesome plotting and really cool quantum physics ideas, these novels work because the protagonist John is extremely likeable. The novels also address the whole nature versus nurture paradigm. Do we all contain good and evil? Exactly what would it take for evil to win out?

What good books have you read recently?

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