I don’t know of any novel which does not only have real Feynman diagrams in it but the Feynman diagrams are also like a core part of the novel. Of course, the fact that the author who used to be a physicist helps. I’ve been working at the same Dzero experiment at Fermilab as he once did. Emmy (Amolie Nutter) is the most lovable character to me, partly because I’d be thrilled if I were the Ryan that Emmy loves. Emmy, a professor in Berkeley involved in BaBar and needed to travel to CERN sometimes, does look like doing some real particle physicists’ routines.
Generally speaking, I’ve enjoyed reading the book. Not sure I like the ending though. Dodge at the end hasn’t helped, has he ? At the end, it’s not a clear-cut victory. The author doesn’t trash or hammer heavily on the religious group though the author shows that the religious group doesn’t trust any science and makes use of the national security to hide the truth. Foster Reed doesn’t really get to continue his project to the very end (even if it means failure). How about the scientists’ effort to stop NEG using national security to prevent other scientists from reviewing their project. Are we sure about the fate of Katarina ? The author leaves some loose ends which make people think that there can be a sequel.
Obviously, this is not a book simply describing science vs religion as good vs evil or anything near that. Ryan is like standing in the middle ground — just try to make it to see whether it’d work. The author makes use of the neutral network (a popular analysis method/tool in particle physics analysis) to describe the soul as something (such as every action, every way we express our affection) passed from one person to another. The author seems to spend lengths in putting forward his philosophy of "soul". One would be disappointed if one expects superstition to be crushed unambiguously. Though I like Ryan’s middle ground, I find it kind of unsatisfactory towards the end. Thinking back, though I’ve enjoyed reading the developments and can’t put it down towards the end, I feel that there aren’t real great climax or suspense (though the fate of Katarina has kept us wondering). A weird feeling … And the developments leading to Ryan’s loss of right to see his son is kind of stupid to me. That note found by Ryan’s wife sounded like just an excuse for his wife to get rid of him. And I’ve never really understood why people would do drugs ….