Published: April 2015 by Pyr
Challenges: Pick and Mix
I've taken to reading the Tor.com monthly "what's being released this month" posts. Not only do I get to find out if there's anything I want to read, but it's a good exercise in recognizing what type of blurbs do and do not cause me to pick up a book (Good: things that sound like Firefly/Star Trek episodes and weird fiction. Bad: galactic empires and coming of age quests). On September's list was Supersymmetry by David Walton. My eyes perked up like the ears of a confused cocker spaniel. The blurb sounded right up my alley and--¿don't I recognize that name, David Walton? Several clicks down the internet road later I was pleased that I had recognized the name--he won a PKD--and mad at myself because Supersymmetry is the second book in a series and ¿how did I not know about the first because it sounds awesome too! Ah yes, because it only came out in April, though Note To Self: make sure I'm following people who read stuff like this when it comes out. A few clicks later and the audiobook for Superposition was in my Audible library and I was ready to go.
Superposition is about Jacob Kelley, a theoretical physicist, who is accused of murdering his old friend Brian, also a theoretical physicist. Brian was doing research that is the quantum physics equivalent of picking up the big Latin tome with Cthulhu on the cover, so naturally things got scary and he reached out to Jacob who, being a rational man, said something along the lines of, "I don't care what the voices in your head told you about your magic powers, stop pointing that gun at my wife!" The book follows Jacob as he tries to solve Brian's murder while on trial for it.
Everything was perfectly paced. The courtroom drama, the action, the science (and science speculation), all came at exactly the right times and exactly the right durations to keep me listening. For all of that, some of my favorite moments were character moments: Jacob has a teenage daughter, Alessandra, that he didn't connect with until they were left alone to cope with tragedy; A minor character and her husband have an emotionally moving scene in which they disagree about their daughter in relation to her disability. These scenes (plus a few more) made me feel emotionally invested in the book, and I like that Walton didn't shy away from them. He leaned in to the emotion and allowed his characters to be genuine. The emotional connections elevate the book from pure fun to a wholly engaging read.
And though it always seems like an afterthought to talk about the audiobook narration, it is not. LJ Ganser did a great job of making Jacob feel intelligent, incredulous about the events going on around him, and genuinely scared for his family. With Ganser's narration I was able to get the feel that Jacob's smartass nature is only suppressed because of the circumstances. It's a great narrator who can help the listener understand the characters better.
I was delighted to realize, upon finishing Superposition, that its sequel Supersymmetry has just been released. LJ Ganswer also narrates the audiobook and I have already picked it up. Unless Supersymmetry is terrible (which I doubt) David Walton is going to be an author whose books I autobuy.