The Vinyl Enigma
Evan Blake, engineering professor at MIT, has stumbled onto a secret that he desperately wants to unravel: a mysterious record-like disc of unimaginable power. The record plays music from throughout Earth’s history – music and concerts that could not possibly have been recorded or are known to have never been recorded. It’s ruined lives in the past by inspiring obsessiveness, but Blake doesn’t want the power of the disc for himself. He wants to share its enigmatic qualities with the world. He traces back the record’s previous owner via an explanatory diary that was packaged with it and then starts to research every aspect of the disc. Eventually, he brings in a bioengineer, music composer, and anthropologist; all four go on a monumental quest to discover the possibly extraterrestrial origins of the record.
Robert Love brings the science back to science fiction in this novel with information sourced from the nanotechnology, bioengineering, and anthropology fields liberally discussed throughout. The scientific details are interwoven with music history and giants, providing a rich background that the primary characters draw upon in their research. This allows for a level of complexity that could only have been achieved with a lot of research on Love’s part.
The novel’s pacing is smooth, even, and deeply engaging. The characters themselves are not as fleshed out as one could hope, but their personal identities fall second to that of the record and its owners, anyway. The most intriguing of the characters ended up being Alex – who I can’t really discuss, unfortunately, without giving away some of the novel’s secrets. The book is broken into three parts: The Discovery, Desire for Possession, and The Journey East. Each of the three parts is equally interesting, yet is subtly different from the part before in such a way as it re-caught my attention to continue to drive me towards completion of the novel. Speaking (writing?) of completion, the ending was more than satisfactory; it has compelled me to want to read more about the record. That’s the mark of a good read!
|Page Count||188 pages|
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|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|
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