Quantum Night – Robert J. Sawyer

About the Book

Experimental psychologist Jim Marchuk has developed a flawless technique for identifying the previously undetected psychopaths lurking everywhere in society. But while being cross-examined about his breakthrough in court, Jim is shocked to discover that he has lost his memories of six months of his life from twenty years previously—a dark time during which he himself committed heinous acts.

Jim is reunited with Kayla Huron, his forgotten girlfriend from his lost period and now a quantum physicist who has made a stunning discovery about the nature of human consciousness. As a rising tide of violence and hate sweeps across the globe, the psychologist and the physicist combine forces in a race against time to see if they can do the impossible—change human nature—before the entire world descends into darkness.

368 pages (hardcover)
Published on March 1, 2016
Published by Ace
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy cerebral science fiction. I love the stuff that gets into your head and makes you wonder which way is up. Give me a social science fiction book that completely paints the world in different colors, and I’m there with bells on. Period.

Robert Sawyer is an incredible author, and his books are absolutely prolific. Just about every hard SciFi fan has heard his name or read some of his books. I’m ashamed to say that I believe this is the first book by Sawyer that I’ve actually read. I think I need to rectify that.

Sawyer has an incredibly confident, nothing held back style of writing, and I completely dig that about him. His prose flow smoothly and never turn purple. He knows exactly how much to say in any given situation, and he knows the perfect way to say it. He can infuse a passage with incredible tension, or make things light and breezy with an easy twist of some words. It’s quite magnificent. Sawyer is also heavy on the details, and I absolutely love that. This book largely takes place in Canada, and while I’m familiar with exactly 0% of any of the locals, his descriptions were detailed enough to allow me to picture some of the things that happened, and the places they happened in my mind.

Those details also play a huge role in the plot, and some of the tiny aspects of the book that people tend to overlook became huge and important later on. It’s quite artful how he managed to not just make everything shine, but make everything matter.

Quantum Night is pretty heavy on philosophy, and there are a lot of long, detailed discussions and personal musings about various aspects of quantum physics, consciousness, psychology. If you’re a fan of those sorts of topics, than this is for you. If reading about that sort of thing bothers you, or maybe weighs you down, then you’ll probably want to pass over this book. Not only does a lot of the discussion revolve around those topics, but they really are the linchpin that holds this whole book together.

This book has a lot going on. Sometimes it’s sort of in the periphery, but other times it’s all front and center. There is a lot of political tension, nations moving against nations and things of that nature. While none of this is explicitly happening in our world right now, it’s easy to see where some of these events are influenced from, and to see who influenced the development of some of the political leaders that Sawyer references in his novel.

That’s part of what made this book so captivating for me. Not only is it absolutely cerebral, and sort of creepy in some respects, but it’s so easy to see our world in the world that Sawyer created. There are a lot of heavy happenings going on in these pages, and the fact that it is so easy to put so many of these events in our own world makes it that much more poignant.

Perhaps my one drawback is that some of the characters felt a little flat, perhaps they lacked the same dynamic quality that so many aspects of the plot had. That really didn’t keep me from enjoying the book at all, though.

Quantum Night is a book that was right up my alley. It had absolutely everything I ever want to see in my social science fiction novels. Flawless writing, fantastic premise, a plot that refuses to quit, and all of those delightful, delicious details. This book sucked me under and just about drowned me in how fantastic it was. Most importantly, when I put it down, I looked at the world around me a little differently. That’s the mark of a really good book. You don’t just enjoy it while you’re reading it – somehow, the truly marvelous books change you long past its end.

Highly, highly recommended. This one rang all my bells.


5/5 stars


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