Friday, October 18, 2019

"The Quantum Garden"

Derek Künsken writes science fiction and fantasy in Gatineau, Québec and tweets from @derekkunsken. In previous incarnations, he did molecular biology experiments, worked with street kids in Honduras and Colombia, and served in the Canadian Foreign Service. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld and BCS, as well as in several year’s best anthologies, and earned him the Asimov's Award. Künsken's first novel, The Quantum Magician, was also a finalist for the Aurora, Locus and Chinese Nebula Awards. His second novel is the newly released, The Quantum Garden.

The Quantum Garden is described as the ultimate chase.
Days ago, Belisarius pulled off the most audacious con job in history. He’s rich, he’s back with the love of his life, and he has the Time Gates, the most valuable things in existence. Nothing could spoil this… except the utter destruction of his people and their world. To save them, he has to make a new deal with the boss he just double-crossed, travel back in time and work his quantum magic once again. If he can avoid detection, dodge paradox and stay ahead of the eerie, relentless Scarecrow, he might just get back to his own time alive.
Künsken applied the Page 69 Test to The Quantum Garden and reported the following:
I opened the book to page 69, and the Congregate intelligence services rifling through the Garret, the home of the Homo quantus, which is cool, because this is the driver for the whole second novel. Belisarius's heist in book one had ripple effects that play out in book two, most notably, the Congregate and all of civilization have noticed that the Homo quantus are an effective military tool and everyone wants to possess their weird powers.
Intelligence officers and political officers descended from Les Rapides de Lachine, systematically dismantling the Garret. The Homo quantus had left a great deal of information, mostly useless reformulations of physical theories and genetic records, but they'd also left in such a hurry that they hadn't grabbed all the backups of how they'd inched forward in developing this new and dangerous sub-species of humanity.

"This will anger the Banks," Majeur Demers said.

"Let it," the Scarecrow said. "The Banks should have kept a tighter leash on their pet projects. We've no doubt already pre-empted their anger with a million-franc bounty on any Homo quantus brought to us alive. Politically, we can accuse the Banks of engineering terrorists."

"What do you make of the story, that Arjona had come from the future?" Demers asked.

The Scarecrow had been turning this over too.

"No technology we know of would enable time travel," the Scarecrow said. "But if the Homo quantus have figured out some way to do it, that might start to explain the Union break-out of the Puppet Axis. Our spies saw no Union ships entering the Axis at Port Stubbs. Somehow the Homo quantus engineered this. And if we have four thousand genetically-modified Anglo-Spanish weapons capable of seeing the future, then the capture of Arjona and the remaining Homo quantus has to be one of the highest priorities of the Presidium."
This passage certainly captures the stakes and motivation of the Congregate, although it doesn't hint at Belisarius' plan to hide his people, nor what those costs will be.
Visit Derek Künsken's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Quantum Magician.

--Marshal Zeringue