“Quantum Night” by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace, 2016)

It’s been a few years since Robert J. Sawyer published a novel, his last being Red Planet Blues in 2013. With the passing of his brother, Sawyer needed to take some time off. Now he’s back with a new novel, Quantum Night, and if readers and fans might be wondering if the new book might be lacking in some classic Sawyer way with the time off, they will not be disappointed in the slightest!

Jim Marchuk is an experimental psychologist who has developed what he believes to be the perfect technique for identifying psychopaths. So he’s excited when he gets used in an important case to show his technique in action. But as he is cross-examined, he discovers a hole in his mind: he is missing a six-month period in his life from twenty years ago, from when he was in college.

He begins his trip down a strange memory lane he doesn’t recollect, reuniting with an old girlfriend, Kayla Huron, and discovers he was apparently somewhat abusive during this dark period, which was totally out of character for him. They reconnect and begin dating again, as he is the same lovable, interesting person. She is now a quantum physicist and has made her own brilliant discovery with human consciousness. Meanwhile tensions are heating up around the world as riots are, well, running riot just about everywhere. But Jim and Kayla might be able to work together to somehow have an effect on this worldwide tension.

Quantum Night is a classic example of a Sawyer novel: a near future with some cool tech, a complex plot that has the reader thinking and questioning from cover to cover, and plenty of Sawyer-patented wry humor. Fans will be delighted and new readers will be sucked in with this compelling story.

Originally written on March 25, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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