Saturday, February 16, 2013

Some Thoughts On The Final Theory

I picked The Final Theory just before boarding my plane. As a result, I hardly noticed how the 4 hours of flight went by. The plot is tight and thick, the background science well researched and adequately supported by the existing literature. My conclusions are indicative of the Final Theory being an unorthodox yet plausible work of science thriller.

Three of Herr Doktor's favorite students (all male and aged between 80 and 92 years) are falling victims to a mysterious agent who will stop at nothing in order to extract information from them. Said agent has been chosen for his confident effectiveness, absolute ruthlessness and unbelievable luck. And yet he is not even the biggest villain.
A number of USA security agencies demonstrate how capable they are in abusing their powers if pushed in that direction by unscrupulous leaders. Said morality-bending leadership reaches well into the White House of recent memory.

Subjects exposed to this novel all (100%) reported compulsory page-turning movements, induced insomnia that is resistant to wife's warnings (82%) and reduced attention to secondary stimuli, such as television and internet habits (65.3%). In some cases (13%) an auxiliary pharmacological agent to suspend disbelief was needed; however, most subjects completed the Theory with no such aid.
A significant number (6.8%) reported an measurable increase in their desire to study theoretical physics in the near future (specified in 5+/-2 years from the day of the interview).

Following the unfortunate and untimely passing of the father of modern science thrillers, Michael Crichton, a number of new novels have been put forward to fill the resulting void. The Final Theory seems to be a very promising candidate as it demonstrated a prominent tendency to both entertain and educate - avoiding entirely the pedantic territory. Old and new theories are presented concisely and clearly, without going into esoteric details or having to resort to oversimplifications.

The action sequences are well distributed throughout and, more often than not, release an infectious atmosphere of plausible escapism. There is also a number of unexpected plot-twists that should remain obscure but not overlooked.

There have been moments when one cannot fail to discern the threads that the writer throws in front to pick up in the future. And there is a prominent rubber-band effect throughout in that the hero barely escapes his pursuers yet he never manages to shake them off for long.

Nevertheless, this novel is considered a solid first effort that I would recommend to anyone, fellow scientists or non-scientists alike.

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