Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Written by: Robert J. Sawyer

First line: The control building for CERN's Large Hadron Collider was new: it had been authorized in A.D. 2004 and completed in 2006.

Why you should read this book: The search for the Higgs Boson goes horribly wrong, resulting in everyone on earth blacking out for almost two minutes; many people experience visions of themselves twenty-one years in the future, and many people die in the blackout. Scientists Llyod Simcoe and Theo Procopides need to contemplate the results of their experiment, including their own culpability in the deaths of millions and their beliefs in the immutability of the future: Theo must work to solve his own murder, while Lloyd worries incessantly about an impending divorce from a woman he hasn't even married yet. Some interesting discussion of free will and physics in a sort of light speculative novel that comes off as Michael Crichton on laughing gas.

Why you shouldn't read this book: The writing is pretty bad, with distracting and redundant exposition and stuffy dialog, and some of the science fiction elements have not held up over time. Occasionally, a passage which is clearly meant to demonstrate the author's efforts to embrace a multi-cultural perspective come off as racist. With the exception of a few themes and elements, this novel has almost nothing to do with the television show it inspired.

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