[techbooks] REVIEW: "Einstein's Bridge", John Cramer
- BKENSTBR.RVW 990910
"Einstein's Bridge", John Cramer, 1997, 0-380-78831-4
%A John Cramer
%C 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
%I Avon Books/The Hearst Corporation
%O +1-800-238-0658 http://www.AvonBooks.com/Eos
%P 310 p.
%T "Einstein's Bridge"
The book jacket presents this as a novel of hard science fiction, and
the field doesn't get much harder than quantum physics.
The bridge of the title is a bridge between universes: a passage
between the bubbles that one field of cosmology postulates we might
inhabit. The physics involved is fairly theoretical, and not
necessarily explained in a lot of detail, but reasonable as far as it
Nanotechnology plays a significant part in the story as well. In the
same vein, we aren't given many specifics.
Interestingly, probably the most powerful technology presented in the
book is that of biotechnology. The protagonists are given the ability
to analyze, almost instantly, anyone they meet, in addition to being
able to make genetic, biochemical, and microbiological changes to
themselves and casual contacts, almost on demand. This faculty also
extends to the production of nanotechnological devices as needed.
Once again, details are rather scarce.
It is this last, biological technology, that is possibly most
problematic. As one of the characters objects, biological options are
simply too wide ranging in possibility for genetic information to be
meaningfully extrapolated between completely different universes
within a few days or even weeks. When the abilities are impressed
upon our heroes, the sheer volume of data that would need to be
transferred is staggering, much larger than the encyclopedia of other
technologies that has to be transferred by computer, and seems to
smack of magic. (On the other hand, maybe I am limiting the magical
possibilities of biotechnology.)
Cramer does not deal solely with technology and science itself, but
with the politics and a number of social ramifications of technical
matters. The argument of big science versus small science, and
particularly the public funding of science, is a major thread. Again,
the arguments are not presented in depth, but do cover a lot of
When analyzed in this manner, the book has many failings. The plot,
for example, is seriously disjointed in the middle, and the book ends
very abruptly. These shortcomings, though, do not detract from the
book as much as might be thought. The work maintains a very even
level and a rapid pace throughout. Ideas are presented in quick
succession, and in a surprisingly natural manner. (There is a complex
and multilayered irony in the fact that one character is writing a
fictional work, and using the science as presented in this novel to
weave threads into hers.)
And, if the science isn't given in great detail, at least there is
little with which to find fault.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKENSTBR.RVW 990910
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