When science fiction is written by an established physicist the reader can expect the science at least to be plausible. That’s the case here, even though we’re in the world of quantum physics, which is an area full of speculation and dispute, and much misunderstood by so many.
The story here is one of a sudden and unexplained phenomenon that results in areas of the Earth vanishing or shrinking so they no longer exist in the normal sense of the word.
We’re carried to these events through the views of families and scientists, but the narrative style of the book fails to build those characters into living people. The author tells us how they feel, how they respond, what motivates them, but he fails to show us, so we’re always on the outside looking in. This storytelling technique is common in certain types of science fiction and it clearly satisfies many readers. However, I’m driven more by concern for characters than I am by plot, so I found the book a little flat and rather uninvolving. The scarcity of contractions in both narrative and speech made the style a little formal as well.
However, the story itself is full of fascinating detail and insight into the mechanics of physics. This is an area of which I have only basic knowledge, so I read on in the hope of learning something. And learn I did.
There was one aspect of the resolution of the portrayed problem that I found difficult. I can’t describe this in detail without producing a spoiler for future readers, so I’ll simply say that I wondered what happened to the spaces between the affected and unaffected areas.
I felt that the novella was packed with event and action. However, because the characters failed to engage me, I wasn’t emotionally drawn in. Also, for me, a multitude of opportunities to expand the portrayal of the world as it is were missed completely, but that, of course, is an indication of my own imagination as it relates to science fiction. I’m sure many readers will be perfectly happy with the description and the final outcome of the story.
I wish I could be more positive about this book because it has some important things to say about the state of humankind and the potential threat we face as a species. So many ideas could have been explored here but were left for the reader to consider: if that gets readers thinking, that’s obviously a good thing. For me, it was a little tedious as a read.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]