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November 28, 2007



By Australian author Greg Egan, this 1992 hard sci-fi novel is set in 2067.

I found it compelling because of its thoughtful treatment of what might happen if quantum physical logic applied to everyday life.

A difficult book for many, I suspect, because of its unavoidably confusing explanations of quantum logic and the Alice in Wonderland world thus created.

From the novel:

"The lack of a positive result rules out nothing; computerized information is as evanescent as the quantum vacuum, with virtual truths and falsehoods endlessly popping in and out of existence. Deceptions of any magnitude are possible, on a short enough time scale; laws only apply to data that sits still long enough to be caught out."

"I have no doubt that the real strength of neurotechnology lies not in the creation of exotic new mental states, but in the conscious, deliberate restriction of possibilities, in focusing, and empowering, the act of choice."

I am reminded of a comment of Ingmar Bergman, hardly a quantum thinker in the conventional sense: "Explanations are simply clumsy rationalizations with hindsight."

And, of course, Richard Feynman, who said, "Nobody understands quantum mechanics."

November 28, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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