Clarkesworld, May 2007

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.
"Qubit Conflicts" by Jetse De Vries
“There’s No Light Between Floors” by Paul Tremblay tells of a pair trapped in the apparent wreckage of a collapsed building, following a disaster. They talk of family and of “the old gods.” It soon becomes apparent that the disaster is not what it first appears, and nor are the old gods. The story’s abstract tone lends it an air of intrigue, of mystery as the reader tries to piece together what is real and what is not. And while it sags a little in the middle, the revelation of the old gods’ personas and the world outside gives the story an added dimension, leaving quite a strong tale with an air of absurdist melancholy.

“Qubit Conflicts” by Jetse De Vries is a journey through history and the rise of quantum computing and artificial intelligence, and of course the singularity. The story perhaps straddles an unfortunate line. Readers familiar with these concepts are unlikely to find a lot of ideas in this story that haven’t been explored elsewhere. But readers unfamiliar with the concepts are likely to find the story’s tone and terminology too inaccessible for it to work as an entry point.

The real problem with the story, though, is that there’s no real here-and-now in it. No characters, no events. The story seems more like the backstory an author might use as a setting for a story than a story itself; it’s pretty much all telling, no showing. As such, there’s no chance to become involved, to care, and unless the ideas really grab you, it’s unlikely you’ll get much from it.

A mixed issue for me. I recommend you check out the Tremblay and give the other a few paragraphs to see whether it’s your kind of thing.