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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant selection of brave new worlds, 19 Mar 2014
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Entanglement (Kindle Edition)
Visiting a different alien world in almost every chapter: meeting strange new life-forms, boldly going where no one has gone before… In many ways, Entanglement harks back to the heyday of golden age science fiction and one weekly TV series in particular. Except this is no star trek. There’s no trekking to the stars. Instead author Douglas Thompson reaches for the high concept of quantum mechanics and particle entanglement to teleport his explorers to each new environment.

The result is a highly entertaining collection of individual adventures which are linked together by background chapters to form an overall arc. We learn about the early and not entirely successful experiments with the ‘dupliportation’ technology, which facilitate the transfer of human consciousness from a sleeping body on earth to a woken twin on some far-flung planet. Then the action centres on a series of less-than-ideal missions to increasingly unusual worlds with liquid atmospheres, bizarre geology, days that last for years, eternal nights, and dozens of weird alien species. And some weird species which turn out not to be so alien after all.
There’s a hugely nostalgic feel to Entanglement, perhaps because of the stand-alone pulp-fiction style of the off-world adventures which could so easily have appeared in Astounding Tales, way back when. I was also strongly reminded of HG Wells’ Time Machine – there are echoes of the Morlocks and Eloi. Douglas Thompson seizes this opportunity to carry on where Wells left off, giving us glimpses of strange social systems and convoluted communities.
And you do get plenty of alien encounters in this book. I had to slow myself down because I was scampering through the chapters and bouncing straight from one weird world to the next without actually absorbing the impact of each piece. In that respect, Entanglement is best read in short chunks, one adventure at a time. Thompson liberally hurls dozens of creations into the mix – the universe is teeming with life, it seems – and tantalisingly highlights the odder aspects of his imaginary civilisations.
Entanglement isn’t exactly heavy on the hard science so you won’t get bogged down in endless technobabble. In fact, I struggled a bit with the suspension of disbelief thing when the dupliportation device suddenly started working in both directions.
These stories are all about repeated first contact and what it reveals, and you don’t need a PhD to enjoy the creative sweep of the author’s wildly eclectic worlds and their incongruous inhabitants. As is the way with the very best sci-fi, every encounter says far more about humans than it does about the extra-terrestrial life forms. Each episode (and the overall background story) makes a distinct philosophical point and, while some of these observations are uplifting and affirming, others are most definitely sobering and poignant.
If Entanglement has a flaw it’s in the sketchy nature of the characters. The explorers change with each away mission so we never get to know them; they are essentially little more than a pair of names attached to red shirts. And although we spend a lot more time with the people back on Earth who developed the technology and run the exploration programme, I struggled to engage with the majority of them. However, Thompson has a very easy-going writing style which means you can dip in and out of this collection of stories without struggling to get back into the groove. Some of his descriptions of other worlds are wonderful, but he doesn’t sacrifice the pace of the plot for overblown self-indulgent stunt-writing. My attention was fixed firmly on the page throughout.

If you enjoy short speculative fantasy or sci-fi stories (or ongoing TV serials!) then Entanglement should provide several hours of agreeable, thought-provoking entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and thought-provoking science fiction, 24 Sep 2012
This review is from: Entanglement (Kindle Edition)
Douglas Thompson's Entanglement has an interesting and unconventional structure. It's a science fiction novel which consists of 24 clever and interlinking short stories. Each story can be read separately, but in order to fully appreciate the story arc, the readers must read the whole novel.

The events of Entanglement take place in the future. Mankind has invented how to travel to far away planets by the use of quantum teleportation. Chambers of quantum-entangled sub-atomic matter are sent to neighbouring star systems and their twins remain on Earth. This technology allows mankind to visit other planets and find out more about their environments and inhabitants.

Entanglement contains the following stories:
- Entanglement
- Dissemblance
- In Time Like Glass
- The Fruitless Ones
- Meralis
- Profile
- A Trip to the Zoo
- Centauri
- Investigations
- Disentanglement
- Escaladore
- The Jugle of Eyes
- Chan's Leg
- Virago
- The Cheap Gods
- Ursa Major
- Severance
- Relativity
- The Translucent Sky
- Revelation
- Diamondis
- Aviáriss
- Two Miles Down
- Booked

Some of the readers may recognize the first story, Entanglement, because it was published in the anthology Where Are We Going? (Eibonvale Press, edited by Allen Ashley). Some other stories have also been published before, but most of the stories are new and never-before-published stories.

Entanglement is an excellent and fascinating science fiction novel, because Douglas Thompson explores several things from sex to violence and from human feelings to advanced technology. Entanglement is philosophical science fiction, because the author writes about the happenings in a deep and thoughtful way. He shows his readers what may happen when we meet intelligent lifeforms and what kind of an effect they may have on us.

Douglas Thompson explores what it means to be human in a fascinating way, because meeting aliens makes us question our way of life and our cultural norms and values. He writes observingly and thoughtfully about alien lifeforms, human errors, feelings and technological advancement. When we meet new lifeforms, we instantly try to compare them to us and notice how different they are, but we also become fascinated by their strangeness. This kind of thoughtful writing raises many questions, because it's interesting to think about how we may act when we meet intelligent lifeforms.

Douglas Thompson manages to surprise his readers with this book, because it features cultural differences, alien biology, alien sex etc. The author has used lots of imagination when he has created different alien races and their worlds. He describes each planet and each race with vivid details.

I have to admit that I was positively surprised by how imaginatively, but believably the author wrote about the planets and their wonders. The readers have a chance to read about how intelligent lifeforms can be found in strange and unexpected places and how they have adapted to different conditions (life exists even in the most uncommon places). The comments and observations of the explorers are interesting, because they reveal quite a lot about the planets and their lifeforms.

The explorers find out that everything's possible when you travel to distant planets, because life is different in far away places. The author writes about several different alien races, underwater cities, hostile places etc in a fascinating way. The aliens are different from each other and they behave differently toward visitors - some of them are friendly, but others can be hostile. The things the explorers see are often surprising, because they aren't used to seeing certain things. Certain things are disturbing and the explorers find out that visiting planets can be dangerous.

The author writes about sex in a fascinatingly scientific way, because alien sex seems strange to us. For example, the mating ritual of the inhabitants of Meralis is fascinating, because during the act the male swallows the female.

Reading about the communication and translation technology is also fascinating, because the explorers use new technology and software to communicate with intelligent lifeforms. The communication with these lifeforms is at times a bit slow, but mostly successful and the explorers have a chance to talk and exchange thoughts with the aliens.

I was impressed by the richness of the descriptions of technological advancement and problems concerning early technology. The author writes captivatingly about technological things (and what's best, he doesn't overexplain them). He also shows how badly things went wrong during the early dupliportation experiments when one man, Guy Lecoux, became tragically "lost in the system". This was very interesting to me, because tragic accidents are sometimes left unexplained or the authors simply refer to them, but don't mention more about them.

What I liked most about this book was that Douglas Thompson had courage to write about the different aspects of space travelling (technology, exploration, the risks of exploring strange places etc). The author writes as fluently about the feelings of the characters as about the happenings, which is nice and rewarding. He writes accurately, but imaginatively about the characters and their fates. Space exploration has its own risks and the author shows the readers what may happen to explorers. The characters may find themselves in trouble, they may suddenly suffer from mental illness which makes their actions unpredictable or they may become intrigued by the alien way of life.

I enjoyed reading about the different planets and the customs and cultures of their inhabitants. It was interesting to read how aliens felt about humans and how their cultures and habits differed from ours. For example, the inhabitants of one planet lose their memory by regular intervals and the explorers begin to think what it would be like to live in an amnesiac society. This is an interesting idea and it allows the author to question several things which make us human.

Although this novel is full of philosophical and scientific speculation, some of the stories contain plenty of adventure elements. For example, "A Trip to the Zoo" contains easily recognizable space adventure elements. (These adventure elements reminded me a bit of old pulp adventures.)

There's also a bit of quirky humour in this novel. It was fun to read about what Hazel Vesberg did to her husband in one of the stories, because it was an unexpected thing.

Entanglement is one of the most fascinating science fiction novels I've read, because Douglas Thompson manages to bring space exploration to life with his 24 stories. He has found a good balance between the stories, because he writes captivatingly about what happens on Earth and what happens on the distant planets. Each story adds depth to the story arc and reveals more about us and the unirverse that surrounds us.

In my opinion Douglas Thompson is a talented science fiction author. What separates him from other authors is that he's clearly more willing to take risks than several other authors and isn't afraid to explore difficult subjects. In other words, he's willing to write about unconventional things.

I've read a couple of novels by Douglas Thompson and I enjoyed them, but I can say that Entanglement is his best novel so far. Sylvow and Apoidea were well written, exciting and unconventional science fiction novels, but Entanglement surpasses them, because the author seems to able to write about almost anything in it. Entanglement is a great achievement.

Entanglement will be an interesting reading experience for fans of Douglas Thompson, but it can also be recommended to newcomers, who aren't familiar with Douglas Thompson's stories. I think that everybody who likes quality science fiction will enjoy this novel.

Highly recommended!
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