A tale of mobile phones, quantum chaos, music, madness, love...and whales
I'd not come across this writer before, and bought the book on a bit of a whim. What a lucky choice.
If you like books that are packed with great ideas, and that have many different threads and themes running through them, and that encourage you to keep pausing to leaf back to a previous section, so as to piece the ideas together, you'll love this one.
I particularly agree with one of the comments on the back which pointed out that the book unpacks a complex set of ideas with great lightness. That is, the ideas are complex and developed at a terrific pace, yet they are somehow presented in such an animated way that they come to life before you. Much more helpful than a physics textbook in my opinion!!
Judging by the comments made by reviewers of other books by the same author, Crumey enjoys evolving multiple threads in parallel, and weaving them together. This is certainly true of Mobius Dick. We are led through a bewildering maze of 'hypertext' connections over space and time, including Nietsche, Schumann, Hermann Melville, Nathianel Hawthorne, and Schrodinger, as we explore the book's fundamental concepts of parallel universes and universal mind in a dizzying sequence of scene shifts. Clearly, the 'multi-thread' technique lends itself well to the parallel reality idea - as even within the epilogue we are challenged to re-evaluate just which are the 'really real' bits. The concept of universal mind linking the different realities together probably sounds rather esoteric when stated baldly, but the connection between the two central male characters in the modern era, and the various incarnations of the lead female character, bring this concept vividly to life.
This book is a lot more than a primer for quantum physics though. Crumey is equally at home in the artistic/philosophical arena as he is in the physicist's camp - something which cannot be said of much science-fiction. (In fact I struggle to think of a genre to neatly pigeon-hole this book - it transcends so many things... fantasy, historical fiction, sci-fi, philosophy, thriller.). So the effect is holistic - with all the different layers combining to deliver a tremendous punch, within a stunning conclusion.
My only slight criticism would be around the characterisation of the key figures in the modern world. Although we get a keen sense of the character of several of the historical figures (the philandering Schrodinger, the romantic Melville and Schumann's ageing lady friend), I wasn't entirely convinced by Ringer... he is a Scientist first and last, but somehow lacks the kind of human depth of the historical figures. He needs a weakness to make him more real.
This is a very minor criticism though in what is a unique and thoroughly challenging book. Read it, it's wonderful.
''"Ingenious" is far too... Read more
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