cover image The Flicker Men

The Flicker Men

Ted Kosmatka. Holt, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9619-4

Kosmatka (Prophet of Bones) effectively harnesses his impressive imagination in the service of a mind-blowing plot in this outstanding SF thriller. Struggling physicist Eric Argus, who has been contemplating suicide, gets a chance to rehabilitate his career by taking a provisional job at Massachusetts’s Hansen Research. The parameters of his work are loose enough to allow him to conduct whatever research he wants, as long as it has scientific merit. Despite, or perhaps because of, this freedom, Eric is unable to gain any traction—until he decides to recreate the classic wave-particle experiment on the nature of quantum mechanics. Eric finds that conscious observation somehow affects the position of electrons passing through a slit. When he takes the inquiry a step further, to see whether animals could affect electrons by observing them, he gets an unexpected result that ends up having highly dramatic consequences. Ingenious plot twists, well-realized characters, and superior prose elevate this above similar books. [em]Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (July) [/em]