Top critical review
Wildly imaginative future world
Reviewed in Australia on 5 June 2019
Several centuries into the future, assuming the human race survives, we will not be just the same as we are now, living with highly advanced technology. We will be modified extensively in mind and body by technology – genetically enhanced and fitted out with prosthetics to be smarter, stronger, and changed in ways we can barely imagine. The Quantum Magician is set in such a future world. Belisarius is an ultra con-man at the centre of the story. He is homo quantus… a man whose brain has been modified so he can perceive the universe through a quantum consciousness, enabling him to achieve superhuman levels of intelligence and perception. Many other types of modified humans occupy the galaxy: homo pupa is a miniature human, genetically designed to be held in servitude by a distortion of religious belief; homo eridanus is a fish like human able to breath underwater, and many others.
Belisarius assembles a group of such misfits to undertake a complex and highly improbable con involving manipulating wormholes and controlling vast fleets of spacecraft to overcome a tyrannical regime. It’s great fun.
Some of the descriptions of Belisarius and his friends, and the worlds of their travels, are highly entertaining. Mr Kunsken has a wonderful imagination and a good writer. I particularly found the descriptions of the homo pupa, with their particular corrupted sense of religions devotion especially interesting and thought provoking.
Why only three stars? While I enjoyed the overall themes and descriptions in first part of the book, the later part, involving an interstellar war and constant scene changes, became more and more improbable and very confusing, to me at least. Overall a good book and worth reading, but sometimes there can be just too many ideas and the flood of new characters, scenes and concepts was almost overwhelming. Worth reading but be prepared for some confusing sections in the last few chapters.