Robert J. Sawyer 2016. Quantum Night. Ace Books: New York. 351 pp.

Takes two thought experiments from philosophy-consciousness research and turns them into an improbable near future (tomorrow) novel. David Chalmers’ “everyone could be zombies and we would never know” and Roger Penrose /Stuart Hameroff’s “consciousness requires quantum processes and these take place in microtubules”.

Given that almost nobody outside philosophy departments would give credibility to either, let alone both, of these theories, the novel itself can hardly fare any better. Except as another thought experiment. The author turns this into a bit of a page-turner but the only credible part is the behaviour of the US President (Donald Trump wearing a paper thin disguise, no doubt to avoid legal action).

The protagonist character, a psychology professor with a psychopathic past, seems to have too many autobiographical elements, for example Dad jokes about which the author displays no self-consciousness. The execution as a whole is too parochial with way too many gratuitous references to Canadian customs, local trivia and fast food products. Makes it hard to take seriously, even as SF, and very distracting for readers from elsewhere.