Factoring Humanity

Robert J. Sawyer
Factoring Humanity Cover

Factoring Humanity


A good book and a quick read (3.3 total hours) which interestingly hits some of the same points as Forever Peace - but with considerably more finesse. Not completely without flaws, but I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from this Canadian author.

Messages from space have been arriving for a while at the start of the story, and while the first few have been decoded, the rest are a mystery. One of the two main characters (a psychologist) works on that mystery, the other (her husband) works on quantum computing and artificial intelligence, and his favorite artwork involves a tesseract. Great subject matter for SF abounds! One of their daughters committed suicide, and the other has her own issues, and this subplot is quite important in the long run.

When the messages stop, an idea occurs for decoding them, and soon the Interocitor is built - only this is more of a mirror to the human overmind than a travel device. Driven to investigate her daughter's claims, our main character unwraps this and other mysteries, and ultimately the alien goals as well.

This is a book which leads you to think, and some of the subplots are clumsily handled. For me, these were minor drawbacks, and I fell headfirst into this thought experiment - surfacing only a day (and 3.3 total reading hours) later. If you don't need to have action in all your science fiction, this is highly recommended.