Supersymmetry by David Walton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted to like this more. I really did.
Anything that brings to life the littlest of particles and turns them into living, breathing macrocosmic entities has got my fourteen thumbs of flipped approval. I thought the action sequences were quite out of a superhero movie, with teleportation, flight, and even a Doctor Doom blowing up cities from safely behind another dimension while the rest of us contemplate the wonders of time travel and decide how to get around all the timey-wimey stuff.
Great ideas going on here, and I don't even need to look too carefully at the math to know that transposing the micro world matrix into the macro, (the one that's defined by tricky concepts like gravity and planar time,) is an awfully lost proposition, especially since our bits and pieces oughtn't fit together as we obviously think they do. My fingers aren't really slapping these keys, after all. And that's kinda the point. We're in this for the story and the introduction or reintroduction of a wild quantum zoo come to play with us silly mortals and our short-stop near-future mental computers that can be programmed to do a whole suite of nifty things.
Great setup. The world is pretty much ours, only more future. Unfortunately, we were inundated with gag reflexes and cracks about how unsafe airplanes are, super-stupid military types and a comic-book rock-em-sock-em plot knockdown that only happened because the wonder-twins were available.
Wonder-twins? (view spoiler)[Oh yeah, this book takes place 15 years after Superposition, and the kiddo that got split into two and were prevented from falling back into one person with dual sets of memories got to stay apart all this time as the price to pay to be safe from the baddies of the other quantum dimensions messing with us big time. It turns out that they were also important for this novel, too, but that wasn't very clear until much later, when my dissatisfaction with the ex machina plot had already taken root and festered. (hide spoiler)]
I should have gotten over that. They're a decent pair and not at all like the SuperFriends kids. Really.
Okay, so at least we don't have a long and drawn out court battle in this one. That's a plus. But it's gets dragged back into police drama. (One of the wonder twins joined the force.) Papa's dead right off the bat, even though he was the main freaking character of the previous novel. I get the feeling we were supposed to think of this as a pathos moment, but it flew right over my head during the game.
Unfortunately, we have a problem with common sense when it comes to the plot. You do not. I repeat. Do Not enlist the help of the ultra-powerful psychopathic mommy who's willing to let Cthulhu into the world to change her baby from an unfortunate into a superfortunate version of itself. If she's locked up in a maximum security prison shielded with faraday cages, JUST LET HER BE. I don't care if the story needed a baddy to propel the conflict. Bring in someone new. Someone with a history of Not Screwing Over Your Family. *sigh*
At least the cities were all blowing up. That's a plus. Unfortunately, it was all second-hand. That's a negative.
Last but not least: the dialog. I have read worse, but usually it hinted at being sarcastic and/or satire.
I know this sounds a bit harsh, and it's not really meant to be that rough, I just believed that we both had something going on that was pretty special when I took both novels out on dates. I tried to ignore the buck teeth because of the PHD, I ignored the cliche-speech because of how the novels lit up with big superpowers on occasion. I didn't even have too much of a problem with the insistence that police and courtroom dramas were truly the height of all literature, even though we were both on the same wavelength for most of the night, geeking out over great SF. I just didn't get it. This one decided that lame cliches were funny and a valid excuse to pad the plot. I tried to smile and make nice.
Why was it going so wrong?
I've decided that I'm going to remain friends with the novels. They're not bad folks. They just don't quite seem to know what they really want to be. Perhaps it will get better with time? Someone else will pick them up and take them home? I wish those someones all the love in the world.
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