BOOK REVIEW: SUPERPOSITION / AUTHOR: DAVID WALTON / PUBLISHER: PROMETHEUS BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 7TH
Quantum mechanics has been a gift to a certain sort of sci-fi storyteller for a long time now. Especially the uncertainty principle, the idea that we can’t know everything about a specific particle at the same time. As frustrating as this physical law is for scientists, science fiction writers have been able to exploit this rule of the unknowable to great effect, hanging all sorts of impossible ideas on a solid scientific basis.
David Walton’s Superposition goes one step further; he uses the sub-particle physics as the basis for an utterly addictive murder mystery with a fantastic twist. The story begins when an old colleague (and rather poor friend) visits our protagonist, Jacob Kelley. The guest proceeds to explain that he’s discovered an intelligence lurking between the spaces of probability, and to prove his point performs a handful of impossible feats. One of these tricks involves shooting Kelley’s wife, and though she is unharmed, this particular stunt triggers a whole chain of events that ends with Kelley on trial for murder. All is not what it seems as reality itself has been split into two distinct timelines, and it’s a race against time as Kelley not only has to prove his innocence, but also prove the science that has caused this split in the first place.
Superposition is a compelling and carefully woven sci-fi murder mystery. The premise is solid and the science doesn’t get too silly; there are elements that head into pure super-science paranormal schlock, but they’re presented in such an endearingly creepy way that it’s really easy to forgive.
Walton presents his tale in a very accessible way; the book dives between the up-spin and down-spin sequence of events quite easily and the reader will quickly be able to speculate exactly what’s going on, which is at least half the fun. The central character is a little bit problematic; he’s gullible yet pragmatic, whiny yet quite brave. This makes him a little difficult to empathise with and given the dualistic nature of the story, you never really get under his skin. However, the narrative is strong enough to carry this weak character and he does grow on you over time.
Overall, Superposition is a cleverly thought-out bit of sci-fi fun and it’ll be interesting to see how the second (and final) book in this series complements the first. If you don’t read this book, chances are that your other-dimensional doppelganger will, and you don’t want it having all the fun.
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