Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer

This one had some really interesting things to say about the nature of consciousness, and how it is dependent on a quantum state in the microtubules within our neurons. A college professor realizes late in life that the psychological testing he submitted to as a student has had some serious repercussions in his life, including turning him into a psychopath for a time, and causing him to lose six months of his memories.

The "thriller" portion of the book relates how he digs up all of the secrets about his past, the experiments, and other dangerous ideas.

It turns out, according to Sawyer, that approximately 1 in 7 people in the world are actually really conscious, think about their lives, reflect on the consequences of their actions, while 2 in 7 are psychopaths, with varying degrees of evil intent, ranging from the ruthless business man to the brutal dictator (not surprisingly, most of the politicians of the world fall into this category), and the final 4 in 7 - four billion of them, are what he calls "p-zeds" - basically thoughtless, herd-following automatons.

This theory explains a lot, eh?

Anyway, once we get to this point, and find out due to the results of another experiment performed by our protagonist and his girlfriend, a physicist, which brings her brother out of a coma and shifts his mental state from one category to another, it is inevitable that they are going to use the technology to bring peace and justice to the world, especially when the psychopaths in power in the U.S. and Russia bring the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.

Sawyer, as always, tells a tale guaranteed to amuse for a few hours.

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