Robert J. Sawyer’s ‘Quantum Night’ and Current American Politics

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A year ago, science-fiction writer and futurist Robert J. Sawyer published Quantum Night, in which he wrote about the rise of a far-right psychopath coming from out of nowhere to become the American president, propelled into office by large numbers of people manipulated to vote against their own best interests.

For some, this counts as a prediction of the current American political panorama.

Now, with the paperback release of his bestselling Quantum Night, after its successful run in hardcover and published by Penguin Random House, readers can follow along with Sawyer’s characters — an experimental psychologist and an expert on the physics of consciousness — as they come to understand how authoritarians manipulate the masses to follow them … right to the brink of oblivion.

Robert J Sawyer. Photo By Bernard Clark.

Building on cutting-edge research — including Prof. Robert D. Hare’s world-famous studies of psychopathy at the University of British Columbia and Prof. Bob Altemeyer’s research into authoritarian leaders, conducted at the University of Manitoba (and quoted extensively by Nixon White House counsel John Dean in his nonfiction book, Conservatives Without Conscience), Sawyer has drawn together the latest in real-world scientific thought to explain exactly how we got to the political situation we find ourselves in today.

In its starred review of Quantum Night, Publishers Weekly says Sawyer’s “story is uncomfortably close to present day fears.”

And Oxford University’s Kevin Dutton, one of the world’s leading experts on psychopathy, says “Quantum Night is a fast-paced thinking-person’s thriller, richly informed by modern science. Sawyer has certainly done his homework about psychopaths and he understands well that, far from being just the occasional headline-grabbing serial killer, they’re everywhere.”

Sawyer, bestselling author of FlashForward, which was adapted as an ABC TV series, is one of only eight people in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science fiction novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. As a futurist, he’s consulted with NASA, spoken at Google’s headquarters, and advised Canada’s federal Department of Justice.

Quantum Night, his 23rd novel, is his most prescient, and timely, work of prediction to date and its relevance has never been more clear.

Official Robert J. Sawyer website.

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