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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Einstein's Bridge", John Cramer

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    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 %D 1997 %G
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 1999
      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
      %D 1997
      %G 0-380-78831-4
      %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

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Priority is an attempt to implement the principles of jealousy
      and envy in computer networks. - Tony Lauck
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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