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    Review of ZIG ZAG by Jose Carlos Somoza

    Rayo, April 2007

    Scientist Elisa Robledo put on a mask of being normal. She did her job, taught her students, went through the motions of being a member of the University community. But something set her apart. The others recognized this--but thought the beautiful woman was simply shy or cold. Only the surviving members of the Zig Zag community knew that she was different for another reason. She had seen things that humans were not meant to see.

    As a new graduate, Elisa had been chosen to attend a special seminar dealing with practical applications of string theory. A scientist had proposed that relatively low energies could allow scientists to open one of the many extra dimensions string theory is certain exists--specifically, time. Using special equipment, scientists could capture photons and unwrap them, viewing anything that photon had seen throughout its history. A photon captured at the Pyramids of Egypt could, possibly, reflect not only the current pyramids, but their entire history, even their construction. Project Zig Zag is designed to explore this possibility--with a look at the crucifixion of Jesus high on the list.

    Author Jose Carlos Somoza starts off his story with a bang. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and dramatic tension as Elisa realized that her carefully constructed and artificial reality had shattered and as she attempted to come to terms with the new reality. For me, though, the story slows dramatically when Elisa relates her history to her semi-friend Victor. We already know that Elisa survived the mess on New Nelson, which dramatically reduces any sense of tension during the flashbacks that constitute the bulk of the book.

    Although authors are certainly allowed to take liberties with science to make a good story, I had a hard time suspending disbelief over Somoza's photon theory. I'm prepared to believe that a photon could carry, in some dimensional sense, its entire history with it. Even with this, imagine a photon generated by the sun's energy a few minutes ago, hitting Jersulem this instant, bouncing off (say) calgary hill and captured in a video camera, In what sense would this photon contain in it any history of some other photon that hit the same calgary hill two thousand years previously, was never captured by camera, and is now, presumably, some two thousand light years from earth (unless it was absorbed in some object, sucked into a black hole, or otherwise destroyed?) The science part of the story has a lot of potential, but it just didn't jell for me.

    Somoza delivers a high-potential SF thriller that, I think, falls short of its promise. Too bad because this guy clearly can write.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/27/07

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