The Quantum Magician By Derek Künsken – Book Review

Book Info       



Belisarius is a Homo quantus, engineered with impossible insight. But his gift is also a curse—an uncontrollable, even suicidal drive to know, to understand. Genetically flawed, he leaves his people to find a different life, and ends up becoming the galaxy’s greatest con man and thief.

But the jobs are getting too easy and his extraordinary brain is chafing at the neglect. When a client offers him untold wealth to move a squadron of secret warships across an enemy wormhole, Belisarius jumps at it. Now he must embrace his true nature to pull off the job, alongside a crew of extraordinary men and women.

If he succeeds, he could trigger an interstellar war… or the next step in human evolution.


The Quantum Magician

This space opera was such an unexpectedly engrossing work of SF. The enjoyment impact is on the same level as The Expanse series, Iain M. Banks Culture, the Revelation Space books and additional books by Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth, as well as The Tower of Babel books by Josiah Bancroft, and the Bas-Lag books by China Mieville, easily a favorite of what i’ve read in last five years.

“In The Quantum Magician, I wanted to look at all the humanities we will create. Some new humans will help civilization, some will spiral it backwards, and some will, through no fault of their own, be really good at confidence schemes and heists. Solaris already takes a complex look at space opera futures, so it’s really exciting to work with them.” – Quoted from authors blog:

The main character is hired on to help a struggling society, looking to secure their independence, and
make a grab for a position of power within this marvelously complex and interesting future of humanity’s inhabitation well beyond the local solar system. He is to use his quantum computing abilities to pull off an impossibly epic job, that could change not only his life, but totally upset all of the varied human offshoot groups current status quo.

Legendary SciFi Mag Locus has serialized all of his novels.

When you add that the main character is intelligent beyond smart, having a brain that works on a quantum level, and uses his ability to basically become a con man about to pull off not just a space age Oceans 11 heist, but a con that could change who holds quantum gate/wormhole ownership, as the job to get a group of people through one of those wormholes, illegally. We aren’t talking a few people, or a shuttlecraft. The job requires him to get starships, lots of ships, ships holding advanced technology thought impossible, quietly through, to finally rejoin their home, after a mission that lasted dozens of years longer than expected.

He will be trying to get a group of “uniquely gifted misfits”, each a member of a different genetically altered/evolved human group. They vary in the most interesting ways. From a kid sized, strangely obsessed, and outcast, member of the “puppets.” To the vulgar, “Lightening Mcqueen” of scary deep sea pressure dependant walrus people, as well as a genius mathematical quantum love from his past. Theres more to each of them of course,, but no spoilers, right? He has to convince each key person to help him achieve his end goal, which is a great part of this book, by the way. It is an insane in the Quantum right brain adventure fu of risks, but so smartly written, and big in scope. This was SF and space opera overindulgence, in the best of ways.

I’ve already taken the liberty to read The Quantum Garden, book two, and will try to post a review when time allows. And finally, the third book, The Quantum War is going to be published soon, and I am all annoyed because I have to wait another couple months. In the meantime, here’s the cover for your brain melting pleasure:

Also: The Narration was excellent if you are into audiobooks, and although the narrator didnt “gel” for me at first, very quickly did the narrator really grow on me as we went along, and was a perfect voice, for the feel of the story, but for each of the characters as well. Kudos!

Thank you for taking the time to check out the review and for visiting OllieSpot, which, it looks like,, will be soon called The Stone Cloud Review Blog, or some variation of…and I’d love to hear what you thought of the review, or the book, if you’ve read it!

The Quantum Garden

Author Bio

Derek Kunsken has built genetically engineered viruses, worked with street children and refugees in Latin America, served as a Canadian diplomat, and, most importantly, taught his son about super-heroes and science. His short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and multiple times in Asimov’s Science Fiction. His stories have been adapted into audio podcasts, reprinted in various Year’s Best anthologies, and translated into multiple languages. They have also been short-listed for various awards, and won the Asimov’s Readers’ Award in 2013. He tweets from @derekkunsken, blogs at, and makes his internet home at


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