It's rather fitting that I finally finished Adam Felber's Schrodinger's Ball today. Leap Day--a day of the strange--or as Brown students and alumni know it, Josiah Carbury Day. (Professor Carbury is the beloved, fictitious professor of psychoceramics... think about it.) And Schrodinger's Ball is nothing if not a celebration of the academic and strange.
The novel is not so much about quantum mechanics as it is a quantum mechanic novel. I know of no other way to explain it. It embodies the principles of the theory in its storytelling and, in a way, it is a story about quantum mechanics, too.
Normally, I'm not a quantum mechanical kind of girl. I'm much more about string theory. Quantum mechanics makes me scrunch up my face with distaste for the paradoxes and holes when string theory makes me want to swim in it. Felber changed my mind, if only for his book.
In parallel story lines that must needs connect by the end, Dr. Schrodinger is an unwanted house guest to a narrator who uses the first person plural, a young man exists in a state of simultaneously being dead and not, a homeless lunatic rewrites history, the President of Montana abdicates his responsibilities, the maybe-dead guys' friend moons over a girl, and a hungry rat searches for a meal. It is worthy of a monumental eye roll except that Felber is brilliant. Brilliant. The plot and the structure pack so much into the brief novel, so much more than the sum of its parts. It is a zipped file of a novel. (Sorry, that metaphor even hurt me but I can't say it any better.)
Read it. Now. There is a computer error in the book. It made me laugh out loud and yet it is poignant and smart. Felber's writing is unlike any other and I can find no other book to compare Ball with.
I'm keeping this post short so you can go read it now. Right now.
(PS. You might be wondering why I haven't posted in a while. You might also wonder why I referenced "finally" finishing a brief and brilliant book. I began reading Schrodinger's Ball on November 13, 2011. Coincidentally, I now how a 3 1/2 month-old son.)