Saturday, September 27, 2014
Book Review: The Singularity by Mark A. Cornelius
Daniel Adamson got to go on a deep sea scientific mission once. It was his own playing around with harmonic resonances that lost him the opportunity to do it again. Now, years later, that little impromptu experiment seems to have set other resonances in motion. There are earthquakes all over the globe, and the effects stretch even out into space. Seven light years away, a quasar called V4641 is reacting in perfect synchronization with the Earth. And now, Daniel is hearing a voice he hasn’t heard in years: his father’s voice.
Daniel’s father is long dead.
What is the trick of this harmonic resonance, and how does V4641 fit into it all? Daniel finds himself suddenly heading down a path of scientific and spiritual discovery that will change the entire world as its known.
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from Tate Publishing's Website
What if we are creating scientific laws to explain a mystery that cannot be explained? What if there is only one constant in the universe, and we can't see it?
Those who believe everything can be answered with man-made formulas and theories are confronted with a dilemma--there is no scientific theory to explain how and why the V4641 Singularity is affecting Earth. A microquasar at the center of our galaxy, V4641 has begun to affect planet Earth and the rest of our solar system in inexplicable ways. In trying to determine how such a thing could happen, Danny Adamson, a physicist turned science editor for N.H.Q. Broadcast Services, has discovered not only an inconceivable connection between Earth and V4641 but also a critical miscalculation in the understanding of the creation of the universe. This error when corrected suggests that our planet's stability and the longevity of the human race may be grossly overestimated. Danny and all inhabitants of Earth must quickly learn what options they have to prevent total destruction of the planet.
The Singularity is very firmly set in the present day. If that’s not context, I don’t know what is. The technology is up-to-date, and it’s clear that Cornelius did his research in his subject matter. That said, I was left boggled now and then at the depth of some of the sciences discussed in this novel. Much of that, though, I think is due more to the novel’s pacing than the actual subject matter. It’s obvious that the characters are familiar with one another and that they know what they’re discussing, but there’s little accounting for the reader that doesn’t follow along. Conversations move very quickly, but then, the entire novel really does. All in all, this is a very here and now novel that could take place right at this moment, and it brings together scientific and religious arguments and experiences not often seen together.
Cornlius writes very cleanly with little embellishment. The biggest detractor for this novel, I will say again, is the pacing. I felt off-balance, just a few steps behind, for almost the entire duration. It was somewhere in the last fifth of the book where I finally got my feet under me, but that’s because the science faded away as primary subject matter, giving way to religion.
At this point, I do want to note that as of the time I read the book (September 2014) the ebook version of The Singularity purchased through amazon.com is poorly formatted, to a point where it was somewhat troublesome to read. I have brought the issue to the attention of the author and hope to see it corrected. The book deserves to be formatted properly. There are illustrations I missed out on (I know this because they were left out of the ebook file but there were notes to insert them), so until that is fixed, it may be a better option to get the book in paper.
If you’ve read the Left Behind series, this is along the same vein. It’s a very different take on the origin of the impending apocalypse, taking things from a much more scientific approach. The bulk of the religious aspect doesn’t come until late in the book, and even when they do, the two traditionally warring belief systems (science and faith) manage to coincide pretty well. A diverse cast stars in this novel, bringing some interesting insights and perspectives into the plot. There’s some very great humor, and some discussions that will definitely make you think.
My only real problem is the pacing. This novel, even being the length it is (it’s a decent size, but not a tome) felt too short. In my opinion, it would have been better served being split into two books and have the plot and character exploration expanded. Maybe that would help solve some of the confusion I experienced with the science and would make the pacing less hurried. It did, in many ways, feel like important moments were glanced over and time jumped (the book spans about seven weeks) just because there was no more space in the book itself. There is so much here I wanted to see expanded. Daniel’s spiritual transformation was one main point I feel was hurried over, and that is possibly the main event I was dissatisfied with. It seemed too quick, too easy, and there just wasn’t enough reasoning behind such a large change for me to accept easily.
Would I Recommend This Book? It’s worth a shot for just about anyone, yes. Part of me wonders if my reading style wasn’t as compatible with this book as normal. I don’t really sit to reflect on anything when I’m in the process of reading, so maybe I was just glancing over too much myself. But be aware that there may be some pacing issues that could make you need to read and reread passages. If you’re a more methodical, ponderous reader than I am, I think this could be a great read for you. I give The Singularity a resonant 3 of 5 stars.
For more on the author, visit http://www.markcorneli.us/