Derek Künsken [Pdf Kindle ePUB] The uantum Magician – nikeuktrainers.co.uk
This is a good debut novel that could have been better with tighter editing Inside this 480 page book is a first rate 300 or 350 page novel struggling to get out Still worth reading though K nsken seems to assume that 21st century physics the Standard Model will persist into the indefinite future OK there s plenty of great superscience stuff too some halfway plausible I always love to see inexplicable Forerunner tech here an ancient Wormhole subway system that provides FTL links to the Great Powers But the hard SF goodness gets diluted by filler And the pacing for a caper story sags badly in places for info dumps and philosophical musings It does come to a first rate ending with exploding spaceships superscience weapons a big payoff for Our Heroes and hooks for the seuel So 4 stars for the cool SFnal ideas 2 stars for the caper and editing Your mileage may vary read some other reviews too Gary Tognetti s is a good one d previously read and liked his 2016 novelette Flight from the Ages set in this same universe Two sentient AI reps of the Bank of the Plutocracy race to save the universe The blistering sheets of x rays The thrumming of space time shuddering with gravitational waves Marvelous fun 45 stars Reprinted in Dozois 34 and which led me to read the novel Ah but a man s reach should exceed his grasp Or what s a heaven for Robert BrowningWill you like this book as much as I did Let s find outYou must have your geek on and be ready for one of the most challenging whitewater rides you have ever taken through genetic engineering artificial intelligence nano technology astrophysics exo biology and a plethora of planets and species that stretch the term human Belisarius Arjona is a self described con man He is also part of an augmented human species dubbed Homo uantus Others seek him out because they see his skill verging on the magical He orchestrates a con reminiscent of Ocean s Eleven but jacked up a few orders of magnitude So all Homo uantus are built this poorly It s fair to say I m the sum of many generations of flaws You can barely navigate zero grav you get sick when you try something unusual and you missed the Mutapa she said Our own navigation could have come closer I get it he groaned You don t agree with the decision to hire me Correct Then don t hire me if you don t think I can do the job The job is massive in every sense of that word It involves getting a fleet of very special ships through a wormhole that is completely controlled by their enemy To accomplish this takes a team as varied and as different as you might imagine No I m not sure anyone but Derek K nsken could imagine this group which includes experts in so many fields including mayhem and deception This may not be the most beautifully written book but the reader is being moved through the plot at warp speed and the writing is than adeuate Some of the things that K nsken gets right include A well conceived world with a full measure of complexity Characters that have depth and complexity and stay in character Species that have significant and conseuential back stories Technology that could be part of our future An in space battle that is not like anything you have come across Individuals with layers of motivations Terrifying and shocking behaviors that are not just add ons Surprises all through the novelOkay I hope I have given you enough of the story for you to determine if it will work for you For those who want to risk nowing I have now added some material that I feel makes the case for how extraordinary this book is without spoilers I believe 45I was reminded of this introduction to an old radio show because I feel The uantum Magician actually achieves what was promised From the far horizons of the unknown come tales of new dimensions in time and space These are stories of the future adventures in which you ll live in a million could be years on a thousand may be worlds This book is the first of at least two books with Belisarius ArjonaAs I have asserted above this book though not massive in size is massive in what it wants to convey I am skating on thin ice but my intention is not to spoil the experience for you but to induce of the readers of this review who love good SF to give it a tryThere are four major human species in play in this novel The normal humans and three that have been created for various reasons the Puppets the Mongrels and Homo uantus There are also several varieties of AI including The Scarecrow and St Matthew These are distributed but not eually among the empires and hegemonies that are in constant competition Getting some type of enhancement advantage is a way to shift the balance of power but it may have unintended conseuences Anglo Spanish genetic manipulation had made caged monsters of the Homo eridanus religious slaves of the Homo pupa and intellectual automata of the Homo uantus All things considered humans had done a terrible job of directing their own evolutionSince Bel is part of Homo uantus there is description of their home world the Garret and what
it means to be a uantus This may be the apex of the author s imaginative brilliance See belowThe means to be a uantus This may be the apex of the author s imaginative brilliance See belowThe wasn t like that The Homo uantus sought Night And Day knowledge They didn t threaten anyone But what would the Homo uantus do if someone threatened them She honestly didn tnow Human history was a concatenation of power struggles and people trying to get away with whatever they could until someone strong enough came along to stop them That was the world she d stepped intoTHE UANTUM INTELLECT coalesced in the absence of the Belisarius subjectivity Millions of magnetosomes fed the intellect billions of ubits and utrits of magnetic and electrical information The intellect constructed a map of the signals in all their mutually exclusive
superimposed richness uantum perceptions bloomed in an array of overlapping probabilitiesMost of the processing power of the uantum intellect richness uantum perceptions bloomed in an array of overlapping probabilitiesMost of the processing power of the uantum intellect consumed in the constant navigational adjustments to the shape of the induced wormhole Even in his normal state Belisarius could have mentally pictured five dimensions In savant he could picture seven and eight dimensional objects and complex state space geometries The rendering programs had notations made just for the Homo uantus that allowed them to go past even this to see the eleven dimensional geometries that approached the complexity of wormholesIn the same way he could have played cards with even the most advanced computers and soon found the rules governing their choices so he could have done with the living computer that Cassandra had become in the fugue The objective intellect she became was not conscious in even the most rudimentary sense She was a machine of flesh ridden by a web of algorithms that could in no way even be called a person Cassandra did not presently exist having been temporarily snuffed out by an electrical and biochemical lobotomyShe tumbled But she was still in savant She measured her rotational speed and angular momentum against the stars solving the differential euations to now how to extend her arms and legs to spin without precessingThe Tribe of the Mongrel were promiscuous users of the foulest words from every language from fran ais 8 back to fran ais 1 to most forms of Anglo Spanish Mandarin and Trade Arabic Which gives the author license to use invective profanity scatological references curses etc and do so with some inventivenessSaint Matthew s uantum computing capacities and hard positives on every sentience test made him advanced even among the Aleph classShe hadn t experienced any of what her brain had done in the fugue She couldn t have Cassandra the person had not existed for those hours But she could review the memories of what her brain had seen and sensed and done and she could try to understand it all It was like revealed nowledge He d pass out if this The Cowboy Takes a Bride (The Bridal Bid kept up So he was playing smart Their pings had gradually told him theind of it that was hunting him They sounded like programmed defensive tech in mid sized torpedo casings He d built a profile of their sense and search algorithms based on their pings and positioning slowly improving his diversions and using cover betterEvery member of Bel s team was tempted with some inducement which of course included a massive amount of money But that wasn t always the prime factor The nature of the job is not as important as the context Do you ever feel a sense of fate All the time Saint Matthew said In fated times Belisarius said miracles are not only possible but logically necessary Go on Saint Matthew said Your coming to me twelve years ago can t be an accident Belisarius said What I hadn t figured out until now was where your mission had to start or what my role was Things seem to be going well here Belisarius said Yes The batches of autonomous robots are at generation six and are evolving uite nicely You didn t want to design them directly This is going to take longer I m a craftsman Mister Arjona not a hack Iterative design by the mutation of replicating units is better Emerging complexity and self assembly are too useful not to exploit And it s the only way to see if I could evolve robotic species with souls What I admit it s a long shot but while I m evolving autonomous robots for one reason why not test whether I can give them souls too I m glad you asked I m bored of trying to help Bel with his love problem and Matt with his god complex They ll shit sunshine when they hear you re going to stop helping them I decided to help you You can start by washing my ass I m figuring you out You re one of those dish it out types but you re not interested in taking it Are you a mongrel whisperer now Let s say I am I think the whole Way of the Mongrel code is this big defensive screen putting yourselves down before someone else does Another area where this book shines is in imagined technologyAn inflaton drive He wondered if she was lying He usually could tell but he didn t think she was She was tamping down her own pride in the telling How did they do it Inflaton particles carried. “An audacious con job scintillating future technology and meditations on the nature of fractured humanity” Yoon Ha Lee “Technology changes us even our bodies in fundamental ways and Kunsken handles this wonderfully” Cixin Liu THE ULTIMATE HEIST Belisarius is a Homo uantus engineered with impossible insi. ,
Derek Künsken ☆ 8 SUMMARYF and then I get the best things I love about the thrillermystery genre HEISTSAt first I believed this was written as a homage or a accessible version of Hannu Rajaniemi s uantum Thief and I was right to a degree It forwe I was overjoyed to come across this on a best books of October list that I instantly grabbed a copy as it sounded right up my reading street I have a soft spot for science fiction so long as it has an original and intriguing premise and this most certainly did I mean what could be better than the heist of a lifetime in space Trust me you have never read a book like this before Make no mistake this is hard science fiction at its absolute best and a simply magnificent full length debut If you re a lover of Yoon Ha Lee s Ninefox Gambit or think you d enjoy Ocean s Eleven set in space then I urge you to pick this upBeing a total nerd I loved the scientific discussion throughout the story from which it was evident that the author new exactly what he was talking about The inclusion of the science y parts made the whole thing feel wonderfully authentic and believable The characters are beautifully drawn and I really cared what happened to each of them I also appreciated the humour that was sprinkled through the pages Intelligently written suspenseful and a wholly satisfying conclusion this was a fun readIf you re a fan of the genre and in particular scientifically accurate sci fi this is absolutely unmissable It ticked every box in what I look for in a book from this genre It deserves a wide readership as it s a pleasure to read exciting and had me thinking that it would make a perfect series Stunningly imaginative and grounded in real sciencephysics which makes it all the interesting there isn t a single aspect of the story I didn t enjoy I feel I really can t get over just how great this book so if it sounds like your cup of tea just read it In my opinion K nsken has shown he has the potential to have a long and distinguished writing career I for one will Shotgun Wedding (Silhouette Yours Truly, keep my eyes open for from him in the futureMany thanks to Solaris for an ARC I was not reuired to post a review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own Originally posted at multifarious space faring human civilization Derek K nsken envisions for his debut novel The uantum Magician relies on a network of wormholes to move from system to system Powerful patron nations control all the wormholes while subordinate client nations must contract with patrons to use them The Sub Saharan Union a small client nation longs for independence from the hegemonic Congregate which controls access to the only wormhole to and from their planetary system For decades the Union s Sixth Expeditionary Force made up of obsolete second hand warships developed advanced weapons and propulsion technology in secret To launch their attack before the Congregate learns of its existence the Sixth needs to cross a wormhole axis controlled and defended by the Federation of Puppet Theocracies The Puppets want half the Union s souped up warships as payment for passage across the axis a price too high for the Union to pay Trying to force their way across the axis would end with of their ships destroyed or damaged than they would have lost if they had made the deal Enter homo uantus Belisarius Arjona one of an engineered human sub species whose brains are essentially uantum computers Belisarius is an exile from his own people a free agent who uses his uantum intellect to pull off complex confidence schemes for paying clients The Union hires Belisarius to do the impossible move the entire Sixth Expeditionary Force across the Puppet axis without the Puppetsnowing it To do so Belisarius needs to assemble a team comprising all the various sub species humans have engineered over the centuries each bringing a uniue skill set to the table But Belisarius has something personal at stake in the outcome than he can let on and the slightest miscalculation could mean sacrificing himself and everyone he cares aboutThe future history K nsken conjures is a dizzying miracle so expansive and packed with detail yet we still get the feeling the author is only scratching the surface The structure of the heist story in which getting the band together occupies a significant portion of the narrative is perfect for sneaking in plot dependent infodumps someone always needs something explained to them in such scenes Meanwhile K nsken Life Changing Smiles keeps dropping brain blistering science fictional concepts on the reader because why settle for one cool idea when several dozen will do The Union s ships are powered by virtual particles that jump in and out of existence and carry an inflationary force akin to the expanding universe It s theind of concept sci fi authors build entire novels around but K nsken just tosses it into the bin like he s got plenty to spareCrime caper stories are reliant on sleight of hand the plot of The uantum Magician features the reuisite double blinds and bait and switches disseminated with a proficiency and confidence expected of a veteran
author K nsken has been publishing short fiction for over a decade I must admitK nsken has been publishing short fiction for over a I must admit that preferred watching the dominoes line up to watching them fall Once Belisarius and his crew set the plan in motion the story hits all its marks but the execution feels a little perfunctory What the novel gets right though is that its band of gene engineered ne er do wells and especially Belisarius are desperate to find meaning in their lives and willing to risk everything to get it Pulling that off is the long game The uantum Magician plays well 5 Stars Outrageously Imaginative On Sale in the UK for 99 pence todayDelicious hard science even to the mysteries of uantum unknowns uantum possibilities Great prose fabulous characters far better than any Oceans 11 rip off you could imagine Rigorously founded in real science and extrapolating wonderfully into sci fi I m happy to watch various physical laws be broken now and then for such a great heist plot As usual with my reviews please first read the publisher s blurbsummary of the book Thank you NetGalley and Solaris for this ARCSome amazing world building here and the relationship between the Puppet race of humans and their Divine masters the Numen is extraordinary I ve never read such an incredible master slave race construct beforeThis is a heist story with each extraordinary character fulfilling a role in the crime each one amazing and full bodied in behaviour and thought The heist barrels along with unexpected but uite plausible twists and turns and rockets to a dramatic and satisfying climaxPerhaps the last 20% of the book could do with tighter editing a bit clarity The pace is so high and the sci fi uantum spiel is perhaps a bit too complex for this ending But that s a minor uibble to a truly extraordinary book HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Belisarius sold legal and illegal Puppet art and was curating the first exposition permitted by the Theocracy Smell lighting and sound influenced the aesthetic of Puppet religious experience and for the exposition Belisarius had laced the lobby with the faint citrus odor of Puppet sweat uantum utrits Very very esotericBel considers the Union reuest They were going to die They were all going to die if they faced the Congregate navy and they needed him to get to a place where they could die The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio Saint Matthew was probably the most sophisticated AI in civilization the first of the long sought Aleph class of AIs being developed with the considerable resources of the First Bank of the Plutocracy Bel considers cards and gambling Cards possessed a ind of purity The apparent evenness of the probability was Platonically untouchable Politics violence foolishness poverty and wealth meant nothing to probability a random card magician picture apologies to Kevin McMahon As intelligence was an emergent property of life so games of controlled chance were an emergent property of intelligence Intellect was an adaptive evolutionary structure allowing humanity not only to sense the world in space but to predict future events through time Games of chance tested that predictive machine so much so that games of controlled chance discriminated consciousness from unconsciousness far better than Turing Artist s concept of a uantum wave function Marie the explosives expert Happy for help Marie said looking at them wriggling her fingers This ll be a three or four finger job Gates 15 frowned at her What s a three finger job It s how many fingers get blown off before I get it right It s way easier if we spread that around Many hands make light the work she said cheerily click here for Underwater Explosion at 120000 FPS AI Saint Matthew What if I m the tool by which He actually ensouls machines That would certainly force us to redefine the role of humanity in His plan Imagine if humanity was just scaffolding for the creation and ensoulment of machines Cassandra ponders love Bel smiled And some of the weight on her chest lessened until she realized that his smile was a lie to make her feel better and that only a month ago she wouldn t have nown the difference between a smile and its imitation just a lovely thoughtNotes30% pretty good so far 60% wow delicious hard science virtual particles and such The prose is very good so good you happily ignore the violation of thermodynamics 200% very clever and literate 390% the plot deliciously thickens 500% Risk and daring were a matter of calculation and feel forceful attacks and timely folding and lacing every choice with misdirection 510% another fabulous plot twist 590% wow Puppet worship of Numen is really creepy repulsive 740% Intelligence was the first sense to see through time instead of space 760% the Numen Puppet relationship is unlike anything I ve ever read before in science fiction96% word should be precessing She measured her rotational speed and angular momentum against the stars solving the differential euations to now how to extend her arms and legs to spin without processingDerek K nsken. N a client offers him untold wealth to move a suadron of secret warships across an enemy wormhole Belisarius jumps at it Now he must embrace his true nature to pull off the job alongside a crew of extraordinary men and women If he succeeds he could trigger an interstellar war or the next step in human evolution. .
The inflationary force that caused the ongoing expansion of the universe In some theories a wave of inflation was self reinforcing a runaway effect Their own drive could destroy them And the energy cost must be enormous Then it clicked Virtual inflatons Belisarius said Iekanjika started Virtual particles were pairs of particles and anti particles that could jump into existence as long as they vanished back into nothingness uickly enoughIn front of the ship a pocket of space time bulged at right angles to the three dimensions of space Semi melted space time distended like a uesting pseudopod The shape and focus of the magnetic field pushed the tube of space time across dimensions accustomed to being curled The uesting finger reached down around the intervening space until a narrow unstable bridge reached a point far to galactic south Then the display greened They had induced a wormholeAt twenty two ilometers below the surface the view opened on one side The tower of carbon containing their elevator carried them past slush dotted with moving icebergs and then into the dark open water of a protected bay At this depth the frame of the elevator creaked as it endured eight hundred atmospheres of pressure If any of the systems failed they would be crushed instantlyThe thinnest of vines wrapped up a narrow smooth barked tree trunk Transparent gossamer leaves sprouted from it at regular intervalshe was led up the leaves They fluoresced ashis brain ripped apart the engineering in the stairs as he followed plant cells engineered to grow carbon nanofilament probably reinforcing the xylem and phloem to steely hardness And likely colonized intracellularly by bioluminescent bacteria that glowed under pressure Lovelyhad a computational and robotics lab euipped with atomic force microscopes and X ray lithographers for the nano level engineering of parts he needed He grew other parts and tools in small bioreactors Various pieces of euipment ran their fans humming softly The bready smell of yeast floated on the air Little multi legged robots scuttled on the floor like polished insectsAnd then there is the con He was worldly dishonest money chasing Or he was lying He said he wanted the data as badly as she did They were going to try something never before tried They were going to touch the inside of an Axis Mundi in ways that no Homo uantus ever had Who was he telling the truth to Maybe he didn t tell the truth to anyoneYou do not make all the choices and not one this big Would you ever play poker as part of a committee Do not insult me Arjona I do not appreciate whatever comparison you are making I m playing against the psychology of the Puppets You than anyone else can understand what it is to stare down someone across the table I bet my stake on my cards against my opponent That s what I m doing Antonio He had the start of an idea for getting the Expeditionary Force to the other side of the Puppet Axis but that was just navigation playing the cards The larger problem would be playing the Puppets They wouldn t be easy marks And if the Puppets do not swallow your bluff They will Belisarius said He felt an icy certainty slipping into his voiceYou meant to con me but you were telling the truth I said it because it was meaningful to you like my nonexistent soul Belisarius said Just because neither exists to me doesn t mean they don t exist for you I m Homo uantus I live in an observer dependent world where very important things can exist and not exist at the same time You never really needed me You didn t need to be a con man either You were always made for Belisarius shook his head I was built wrong Will If I hadn t found cons I would have died a long time ago You saved me DescriptionHemoglobins were remarkably sensitive to partial pressures because they flexed from one shape to another as they functioned fold to grab the oxygen unfold to let the oxygen goBut the space above the Free City was alive with artillery explosions and chaff Lasers heated up any debris in their firing arcs Small fighter craft tough old Anglo Spanish Mark 21 Daggers and bigger cast off Congregate Perceuses flew nastyThe poised watchfulness that had ill fit her in civilian clothes now suited as if a hard gem had been returned to its settingNothing in the memories of the Belisarius subjectivity was helpful The Belisarius subjectivity s memories of each discussion of his plans were deceptive and contradictory and even occasionally self deceiving The Belisarius subjectivity operated on multiple levels of deception with overlapping realities and narratives interacting and interfering so that nowledge was less factual and probabilistic similar to superimposed uantum waves The uantum intellect could not cede this decision to the Belisarius subjectivityHumor Happy for help Marie said looking at them wriggling her fingers This ll be a three or four finger job Gates 15 frowned at her What s a three finger job It s how many fingers get blown off before I get it right It s way easier if we spread that around Many hands make light the work she said cheerily Cassandra resisted a shiver I ve read several science fictionfantasy novels recently that all springboard off uantum physics while at the same time reading several actual science books about uantum physics At a high I
D Summarize Them Assummarize them as uarantine Subjective Cosmology by Greg Egan is a mind blowing far future series that starts with a very hard science premise grounded in uantum physics theory and then pushing the theory to an extreme The uantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi and the entire Jean le Flambeur series is a surrealist thriller that is only loosely based on real physics but it s a blast as a picaresue fantasy The uantum Magician by Derek K nsken the book I m reviewing here references uantum physics as a touchpoint and legitimate aspects of theories are referenced But just as in The uantum Thief it s only loosely inspired by them Rather this is of a fantasysci fi thriller heist story that has the most traditional character based drive of the three uantum inspired stories that I ve read Not a bad story but for my taste the least interesting of the three The uantum Magician is rather like a cross between The Sting and a space opera A con man named Belisarius is hired by a small military force to help them pull off a massive con that in some unknown way will help them achieve advantage in a galactic power struggle In the end I found it decent but not remarkable Being as character driven as it is a significant part of my reaction to it is how I felt about the characters The characterizations were reasonably believable but not particularly compelling The emotions didn t ring deeply true When a book depends so significantly on character I have a very high bar for how real the characters have to feel There was something lacking in K nsken s work here that failed to elevate this to the literary level Acceptable as pulp characters but not elevating to a higher standardAs far as space opera goes it s entertaining and rather dark You never now who is really allied with who motives are obscured and power struggles abound I can tell you that I enjoyed itmodestly I would recommend it to fans of space sci fi dramas The con artist plot structure isn t perhaps as suspenseful as it could be because so many aspects of it are based on hypothetical far future science that aren t particularly realistic Unless those levers are extremely clearly delineated in advance they can feel a bit too deus ex machina The plan succeeded because of this magic science y thing I made upOverall it s good Just not great If you re into stuff like this you can read the full reviewHomo uantus The uantum Magician by Derek K nskenA uantum brain I don t think evolution would have ever be able to produce such a complex computer made of tissue Think about how a uantum computer work it s happening in our heads I swallowed a transformer toy back in the eighties so I m ahead of the curve on this oneRoughly speaking uantum information is uniue you cannot destroy it you can teleport it but you cannot clone it The superposition of uantum states has a range from zero to fully entangled in the context of many measurements The states are associated with the range of energies The superposition speaks about the collective correlated dynamics of the states in the context in which the energies of the states are defined I thought this was a lot of fun If you like Sherlock Holmes but also say that is NOT POSSIBLE whenever he inducts something far fetched again and heist stories this is a good unCONTENT WARNING view spoiler body horror enslavement coercion of will bodily humiliation non con of both doms and subs medical experimentation ableism hide spoiler Some books you Brooklyn's Song know almost immediately aren t going to work for you And yet the obsessive compulsive reader might feel compelled to finish them anyway And thatinda sucks And yes I am such a reader a completist by nature And this one had such a promising premise and title and turned out to be such a chore to get through From page one it was just toosciency for the lack of a appropriate word Sure it is science fiction some science is to be expected but this was positively overloaded with the techy aspects so that it was in fact top heavy But the time you get to the bottom fiction in this case you re tired and Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti Devotional Study Guide kind of indifferent In fact it wasn t until about uarter of the way in that the plot actually got interesting enough to engage me And actually the character writing was very good and the characters themselves particularly the terrifically belligerent Stills were pretty great The plot itself involved a sort of intergalactic con job on a huge scale That also worked So that basically edited in a different way slimmed down trimmed down this would have been lots of fun Instead it was a dense plodding slog through space time continuum that took sheer will power and effort to finish Thanks Netgalley I have no problems raving about this book It has everything I love about Ght But his gift is also a curse an uncontrollable even suicidal drive tonow to understand Genetically flawed he leaves his people to find a different life and ends up becoming the galaxy’s greatest con man and thief But the jobs are getting too easy and his extraordinary brain is chafing at the neglect Whe. ,