Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Reviewed E.C. Myers’ “Quantum Coin” at SBR

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Folks, as I originally wrote this on September 11, 2012 — and for some reason, it wasn’t published on that day — take it as read that I have had alternate universes on my mind all week.

To wit — what would’ve happened had Al Gore, not George W. Bush, been our 43rd President of the United States?  Would he have stayed on top of al-Qaeda, as he was well aware of the threat al-Qaeda posed to the United States?  Or would he have been distracted by the many other concerns that can’t help but keep every President awake at night (unless he’s a particularly sound sleeper, as it appeared Ronald Reagan must’ve been)?

I’d like to think that in another universe — even if it were still a universe where George W. Bush was President, but had different advisors, or maybe took a different path with regards to foreign policy — that the horrible events of our version of September 11, 2001, wouldn’t have happened.

Such is the belief of the parallel worlds theory, something many writers have dealt with in both fantasy and science fiction.  Because my own novel, ELFY (forthcoming from Twilight Times Books in 2013) has elements of parallel worlds in it, I have an affinity for other novels that use this particular theory; that’s one reason I enjoyed reading E.C. Myers’ debut novel, FAIR COIN, as it dealt with the multiverse, modern physics, string theory, and because of this couldn’t help but also talk about parallel worlds and how physicists believe they come about.

In FAIR COIN, when Ephraim Scott, Myers’s hero, figures out how parallel worlds work (because his love interest, Jena Kim, is a budding physicist and kindly explains it all to him) and then ends up enmeshed in them, it all made sense.  Ephraim sees the various ways the world could’ve unfolded; some places have no humans at all, some have constant war, some have already been burned up (nuclear winter), and just about any other possibility aside from alien contact or other types of life is explored.

This is different from what I do in my novel, ELFY — I treat the universes as a fact also, but there are many other intelligences that humans have to deal with — at least the magical humans, those who know we’re not alone in the multiverse.  But the theory being used is exactly the same.

Anyway, Myers’s sequel, QUANTUM COIN, will be out in early October of this year, which is why I reviewed it at Shiny Book Review (SBR)QUANTUM COIN takes up with the same main characters — Ephraim Scott and Jena Kim (and her alternate universe analogue, Zoe Kim) — has a similar premise dealing with alternate universes, and ups the ante in other ways due to how much Myers’s storytelling ability has improved from the previous novel.

To be blunt — QUANTUM COIN has more to it than fancy physics theories (nifty though that is).  It has action.  It has drama.  It has ethics, situational and otherwise.  It has great characterization.  And it has some nicely written low-key romance that’s based off shared experience and friendship, not just hormones and built-in stuff from expectations based off the other person’s analogue (one of the problems I had with FAIR COIN that wasn’t present here is that the romance between Zoe and Ephraim was too rushed; things are fast-paced, yes, but I had a far better sense that Zoe saw our Ephraim as an individual rather than as an archetype).

I enjoyed QUANTUM COIN thoroughly and believe that if you enjoy interesting science as well as a compelling story, you will really enjoy E.C. Myers’ latest effort.  It won’t be released until October 2, 2012, but you can pre-order it now — and really, what’s stopping you?

That way, you, too, can ponder alternate universes, and wonder — do they actually exist?  And if so, what will we do once we discover them?

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Written by Barb Caffrey

September 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

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