How could I resist reading a sci-fi book which has a blurb saying, “Parts of the world are disappearing…”? The premise is exciting: bits of our world are just gone – a part of a beach, a swath of African savannah, a wall in the Grand Canyon. The well-drawn characters who discover these phenomena are compelling, and the descriptive talent of the author is truly awesome – beautiful, colorful, lyrical.
Eventually news of these individual events makes its way via circuitous and political avenues to the United Nations, where the allocation of money which can be diverted to investigate the phenomenon gets the ball rolling.
Simple, yes? Hardly. This book is packed with expositions on fractal geometry, quantum physics, philosophy, civic and corporate politics, psychology, religion – all wonderfully written but heavy on minutiae. In many ways, it reminded me of Umberto Eco’s In the Name of the Rose. I think the book will appeal to people whose roots lie in these various disciplines, but I freely admit that much of the physics and math lost me, and there were parts where I turned the pages to get back to the story line. At least I understand Shrodinger’s cat and the Heisenberg Principle!
The protagonist is a young woman, Susan Corporell, who works for the UN in Africa, fighting a losing battle with local government to provide donated food to starving populations. She sees one of the first manifestations of the phenomenon and it is she who finds a physicist and mathematician, David Altaforce, with the drive and supreme intelligence to try to determine the cause of the “disappearances.”
The great mystery is not only who is behind them, but how it’s being done, and the solution will boggle you. The plot is wonderful, with lots of twists and turns, and the characters are colorful and three dimensional.
Herzog is a truly gifted writer, and this book will appeal to readers who are looking for a dense, intelligent story packed with musings and observations on far more than just the story line.
About the author:
Robert Herzog was an entrepreneur in the worlds of energy, environment, digital media, the internet and health care for over thirty years, while keeping alive his writing hopes. He’s had stories and poems published in Solstice Literary Magazine, Toasted Cheese, Downstate Story Magazine, Straylight Literary Arts Magazine, and South Jersey Underground, and made an award-winning short film, “Flights.”
He was a physics major until he read Nietzsche, a political philosopher who became an entrepreneur engaged with the great issues of his time, from energy and the environment to technology and health care, and this translates into his first book. He has also climbed another height, Mt. Kilimanjaro. This book is the culmination of decades of dreams.