Review: Eidolon/ Author: Libby McGugan / Publisher: Solaris Books / Release Date: Out Now
The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is a bit of a gift to contemporary science fiction writers. The massive science project is, in essence, trying to discover the secrets of the universe, which makes it perfect fodder for fantastic thrillers that have a touch of the cosmic and mystic about them. Eidolon follows the trials and troubles of physicist Robert Strong, who, following a spooky near-death encounter in Tibet, finds himself with unexpected powers and a mysterious job offer to work at CERN as a double agent of sorts.
Eidolon is an interesting mix of science and mysticism; the main character is a practical man as well as a physicist who has spent his life dedicated to uncovering the secrets of the universe through cold, hard reason. Initially, the growing supernatural elements are engaging, and the central character's scepticism is entertaining. This mix is jarring in places, but that’s the point; it’s one man’s journey into mystery, starting from a fixed point of rationality and rapidly dipping into the strange and mystical, without ever completely losing the plot. Those of a profound spiritual bent, or those who demand an absolute doctrine of reason from anything that associates itself with physics, will dislike the way this book flips from science fact to utter fantasy, but for the rest of us, that’s part of the fun.
Author Libby McGugan is one to watch; this is a cracking debut and an entertaining thriller. Though the concepts behind the story seem deep, the core story is a light and frothy thriller which uses the lure of science as gloss rather than substance. This fits the writer’s style, but it would be very interesting to see these ideas explored in more depth by this canny and cunning writer.