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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Twistor

Copyright 1989 by John Cramer

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this in 1993 and most recently on the 10th July 2005.

David Harrison is trying to build a device to examine holospin states in exotic warm superconductors. Naturally. However what appears to be a flaw in his hardware eventually pans out to be something quite different, something exhilarating. It's a "twistor" field that can connect to another Universe alongside our own.

Unfortunately, although some people are in Science for the knowledge, others are in it for the money and where there's money there is crime and corruption. David and his lovely assistant Victoria, are quickly caught up in dastardly plots and very dangerous situations in our Universe and another.

I picked up the book in Singapore, desperate for something light to read and very happy to find a simple, traditional SF novel to see me through a few business-hotel evenings. Barely finished it in Singapore, of course, because Singapore is a place where you can pop out and very easily lose a few evenings. Not quite as rapidly as Thailand but more expensively. However, this is drifting off the main topic. Still it worth comparing the daily time-flow in different countries. In England for example, time plods along hour after hour, year after year. It's pretty much a constant and I imagine that's why Greenwich Mean Time is the gold standard, as it were, of time zones. In Thailand, time plods pretty slowly during the morning, begins to speed up around midday with a lunch of pad see-ew and then really begins to rock after the steak sandwich at 8pm (just to get a quick nostalgic snack into the system) and the first Tequila. By contrast, Tokyo roars through the day, and then just about the time your second wind kicks in, starts rocketing through the night. One can see why Japan is one of the few countries to have a serious space program. Back in the UK we're still regretting the failure to exploit the hovercraft, the cancellation of TSR-2, Concorde to begin to consider space exploitation on our own, although we get out more nowadays.

This is pretty good although it does waft a nostalgic air with its talk of capacitors and LSI chips. It's rather sad that, with all its praiseworthy references to "HyperVAX, it came out just a couple of years before the Digital Alpha (which as everyone knows has for most of the past 15 years been the fastest cpu in the world), and the second home of VMS, the operating system of the VAX and presumably the HyperVAX. He did hit the security problems of VMS spot-on - one of the world's most secure operating systems but rather easy to break into if the system administrator hadn't quite done his job. Odd to think that when this book was published VMS had rock-solid full clustering technology at a level that other operating systems are still struggling to reach. Am I betraying a bias?

Back to the novel: I rather enjoyed it. Second time around, I still had quite a ride, as the scientists put together their theories and equipment to bring into being a channel between alternate Universes. Victoria was clearly a babe, as all Victorias are.

Loaded on the 1st May 2006.
    
Cover of Twistor

Reviews of other work by John Cramer
Einstein's Bridge