The Quantum Magician by Derek Kunsken – Review

Cover- The Quantum Magician

Published: October 2, 2018

Publisher: Solaris

Series: The Quantum Evolution #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 480 (Mass Market)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0


Belisarius is a quantum man, an engineered Homo quantus who fled the powerful insight of dangerously addictive quantum senses. He found a precarious balance as a con man, but when a client offers him untold wealth to move a squadron of warships across an enemy wormhole, he must embrace his birthright to even try. In fact, the job is so big that he’ll need a crew built from all the new sub-branches of humanity. If he succeeds, he might trigger an interstellar war, but success might also point the way to the next step of Homo quantus evolution.

So, The Quantum Magician is essentially a scifi heist novel and honestly it was really weird. I love heists – they add an extra layer of tension and suspense to any story and are always a good time. The Quantum Magician is the heist of the future man. With future man (aka human subspecies with ultra weird subsets of abilities) doing the heisting.

Belisarius is of the species homo quantus and instead of using his abilities to solve the mysteries of the universe, he uses them to run complex confidence schemes. He’s a con man to his core and he’s just been offered the job of the century – moving a fleet of warships through an interstellar access point they were denied access to. To say the job is complex is a gross understatement – he has to build a team using every human subspecies available and a few regular ol’ humans to boot. Like, we’re talking genetic engineering, explosives, and deep infiltration and impersonation. The reward of success is a ship from the warship fleet that has a truly game changing technology – it’s priceless.

While the story itself is pretty cool, the subspecies are just so, so weird. The puppets are basically humans in miniature who are genetically coded to worship the Numen (their gods). It’s quite disturbing when you get into the details. There are whale people that were genetically engineered to withstand incredible pressures, but the result is that they look like humanoid whales. And their philosophy is to expect the worst and is filled with swearing. The quantus go into a state called the fugue where they lose all social function and become quantum computers, calculating the most complex of equations and outcomes.

Overall, The Quantum Magician was a unique and pretty strange book. The heist portion was good, but I didn’t love the characters and the puppets really really creeped me out. This could have been exacerbated by the narration which was actually quite good and very emotive, thus making the puppets more unsettling than they would have been (I think). My recommendation would be this – if you think the synopsis is cool then you should check it out because this is just my opinion and many others rate this book very highly!

3 thoughts on “The Quantum Magician by Derek Kunsken – Review

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