Author: Gregory Benford
Release Date: 1998
This is the second book I’ve tried based on its recommendation as a ‘read alike’ for an author I’m a big fan of. This time the author was Robert Heinlein, one of the most acclaimed authors in the science fiction genre. The experience was totally different than my first read alike, Telegraph Avenue. With that book I could see the comparisons to Nick Hornby’s style but felt overall it wasn’t nearly as good. Here, I didn’t think the writing was at all similar to Heinlein, but overall I really enjoyed the book.
Cosm tells the story of a scientist who accidentally creates an object in a particle accelerator that may in fact be an entire self contained universe. The story is firmly in the hard scifi genre (very in-Heinlein) and revolves around several scientists that are often unsure of themselves (I kept waiting for the character that was going to lecture everybody with common sense but he/she never arrived).
The best parts of the book are the lab scenes and discussions of theory, both of which are obviously parts Benford is knowledgeable enough to write about. The romantic elements of the book didn’t work as well for me, and the remorse for the dangerous consequences early on and add the end seemed a bit inadequate for a character to remain sympathetic. Overall though this was a quick read that kept me interested until the end.