Quantum Night

Robert J. Sawyer
Quantum Night Cover

Quantum Night


What if you could make 60 percent of the human race into better people -- at the cost of turning the best 15% into sociopaths?

Suppose that a neuroscientist found a reliable physical method for identifying sociopaths. Suppose that another neuroscientist found a way of measuring the quantum state of an individual's brain. Suppose that together, they discovered that for every 1 thinking, empathetic individual in the world, there are 2 psychopaths and 4 psychological zombies (people who don't have inner lives and consciences, but spend their lives following and imitating others, a la "mob mentality"). That's the premise of this book. It's an interesting one, and the author has done seemingly strong research into psychology and quantum physics to provide a solid basis for the novel; I'm hardly an expert in either, so I can only say that I found it believable enough to enjoy.

Sawyer's books tend to range widely in quality from excellent to good to occasionally crap. I'd put this one in the "very good" range. The premise is interesting, and the plot is well done. I was much less enamoured of the unecessary frequent references to pop culture ("Taylor Swift", "Classical Gas"), which will, I suspect, make the book seem very dated 10 years from now. Fans of speculative fiction works about quantum physics will probably enjoy this.