Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: Supersymmetry


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Supersymmetry
By: David Walton
Published by: Pyr/Prometheus Books
Release date: September 1, 2015
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
290 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

With Supersymmetry, the second novel in his Superposition series, David Walton once again delivers the kind of fresh and philosophical science fiction I have come to expect.


Supersymmetry finds the twins, Alex and Sandra, grown up and apart, living separate lives. They are drawn back together and into danger when their father is killed along with hundreds of others in an explosion that destroys a baseball stadium. As Sandra works the forensics, it becomes clear that the destruction of the stadium was not terrorist act; the varcolac is back. At the same time, the physicists of the new Jersey Supercollider, including Alex, are preparing to present the latest military applications of the Higgs projector to the Secretary of Defense and the Join Chiefs. During the demonstration, the varcolac takes over the Defense Secretary's body, and Alex is forced to shoot it in front of everyone. Unfortunately, it looks to most people that Alex just murdered the Secretary for no reason. On the run, Alex and Sandra must figure out what the varcolac wants and how to defeat it.


Walton does not shy away from difficult moral decisions. Is it ever acceptable to change the past? What if you could "fix" someone's disability? How many people do you have to help to make changing the past the right choice? What makes these questions fun in the context of the novel is that not all of Walton's characters agree on the answers. Even when they are on the same side!

And Walton does create some great characters. I enjoyed seeing how Alex and Sandra had become such different people since the events of Superposition, the first book in the series. Though, I would have liked to have a little more detail about how their original experience with the varcolac did (or did not) drive those differences. For me, it was the supporting characters who stole the show this time. For example, Angel (Oh, Angel!), the Mexican-American engineering Ph.D. candidate from University of Pennsylvania. His sweetly wry humor brings a lot of heart and needed levity to the story:

     "They said she had a subdermal hematoma-- bleeding inside her brain," Angel said. "They actually drilled a hole in her skull to let out the blood. Some girls have all the luck."
     "You call that luck?" Alex said.
     "Sure. Best I ever had was my tonsils taken out. For the rest of her life, Sandra gets to say, 'Oh yeah, well I had a hole drilled in my skull.' She wins, like, every conversation." (KL 3314)

I have two small issues with this installment of the Superposition series. First, the tech-talk wasn't quite as smooth as in the first book. I felt like there were big chunks of explanation that occasionally weighed the tory down and didn't flow as smoothly as they could have. Second, the varcolac's motivation is still a bit hazy for me. I won't say more here, because I don't want to spoil anything, but I hope that is something that will be resolved in a third book. 

Overall, Supersymmetry is a very enjoyable story from an interesting and deep-thinking author.


Summary:


Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world.

The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley—the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person.



2 comments:

  1. Awesome review! I would like to give this book a try! I just tagged you for the Rabbit Ears Book Tag!

    http://rabbitearsbookblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-rabbit-ears-book-tag.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wait, wait, wait...I don't think I should read this review. It sounds great. Too great. I think I need to go find the first book in this series ASAP. You had m at philosophical science fiction!

    ReplyDelete

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