Book Review: Triggers / Author: Robert J. Sawyer / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Robert J Sawyer is best known for his novel Flashforward, which was adapted into a recent TV series. That work dealt with ordinary people from ordinary backgrounds propelled into intrigue and adventure due to accessing to special knowledge. His latest novel, Triggers, deals with a similar idea in a similar sort of way, though at a faster pace, making this sci-fi thriller an ideal summer holiday read.
Set in the not too distant future, an American President is rushed to the operating room of a hospital where a scientist is conducting mind-manipulation experiments. An electro-magnetic pulse is unleashed nearby and suddenly, various people have access to each other’s memories, including those of the president. Sawyer handles the experiences of the multiple characters with a steady hand and constantly accelerates the pace of the action.
Sawyer has a real talent for taking a scientific theory and running wild with it. Quantum mechanics, The Bose–Einstein condensate and the Singularity are all discussed and explored, without actually dropping the pace. Those who like classic sci-fi stories that deal with the power of the mind will find nothing new here, but the mix of post-9/11 American paranoia and real world science is a refreshing change of pace when compared to many of the fantastic space aged tales out at the moment.
There are parts of the novel that will absolutely date it, and some of the events follow movie logic rather than anything you’d encounter in life. This can be a little jarring as the tale makes such an effort to place itself in the real world. Fans of 24 and Michael Crichton should add this to their light reading list, as should fans of a good science-inspired romp.