Monday, January 11, 2016

G640 Book Review of The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka

Name of Book: The Flicker Men

Author: Ted Kosmatka

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9619-4

Publisher: Henry Holt

Type of book: Science fiction, thriller, changing the world, testing, experimenting, mysterious people, second chances, Wisconsin?

Year it was published: 2015


Brilliantly conceived and multilayered, Divining Light is a high-concept thriller that questions what it really means to be human

In Ted Kosmatka’s wildly original and genre-busting Divining Light, a groundbreaking new discovery changes the world forever.

Out of a job and struggling with depression and alcohol abuse after a breakdown, the brilliant quantum physicist Eric Angus is given a second chance after he’s hired on a probationary basis by an old friend who runs Hansen, a prestigious Boston-area research lab. Unable to find inspiration for a project, Eric stumbles upon old equipment used for Feynman’s double-slit experiment and decides to re-create the test in order to see the results for himself.

Eric probes deeper into Feynman’s theory, with the help of fellow scientists Satish and Mi Chang. After extensive tests on frogs, dogs, chimps, working their way up every phylum, class, and order in the animal kingdom, Eric and his team establish a link between conscious observation and an evolutionary trait that is distinctly human: the soul. Mass chaos ensues after they publish the results of their experiment and Eric is bombarded by reporters angling for exclusive interviews and wanting to debate the varying implications. Questions arise when certain people appear to be “soulless,” and after Satish mysteriously disappears, Eric risks everything to answer them.


The main character in the story is Eric Argus, a former scientist who has made a lot of bad mistakes at his former workplace and tends to be suicidal and alcoholic. His sister somehow pulls some strings and gets him to work at a different place where he begins with an experiment but then the experiment goes too far. Because I was focused on trying to understand what the experiment was about, I couldn't get a sense of any characters or learn about them.


I have no idea what I should have learned from the book


The story is written in first person narrative from Eric's point of view. Younger and even now I tended to, well, not do well in math and science, and when I attempted to try to like science fiction, that backfired even more. I do not hate the genre, nor do I look down on it, but I simply learned that science fiction and I are like oil and water. The story seems to have elements that I disliked or felt confused by such as math, science, who the characters were and what exactly the experiment was trying to prove or what it was about. I also have a feeling that the book was trying to be a bit like Matrix movies, and yes, I did find Matrix very confusing.

Author Information:
(From goodreads)

in Chesterton 



Member Since
March 2013


TED KOSMATKA set his sights early on being a writer. This mostly involved having all his writing rejected, pursuing a biology degree, dropping out before graduation, and becoming a steel worker like his father and grandfather. Then the mill went bankrupt. After that he worked various lab jobs where friendships were born and fire departments were called. (And where he learned the fine point of distinction between fire-resistant and fire-proof) Eventually, Ted finished college and worked in a research lab. Then came the final logical step: ditching all that to write video games in Seattle. Ted’s fiction has been nominated for the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon awards. His novel THE FLICKER MEN was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best thrillers of the summer. 


I'm sorry to say, but I didn't enjoy the book. I'm probably not the right audience for it because I have to say that the science fiction/math elements really confused me, thus a lot of explanations that were given by different characters were way beyond my comprehension. The writing was something that grabbed you and kept hold of you, but other elements not so much. I also wasn't sure how all the strands of the plots in the book tied up together, as well as the function of various people and their roles in Eric's life.

This was given by for an honest review

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...