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Probability Sun    by Nancy Kress order for
Probability Sun
by Nancy Kress
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2001 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

The events of this novel follow some two years after the earth-shaking consequences of the destruction of the artificial moon in the author's Probability Moon, and the discovery of a similar artifact in the Neury mountains. Dr. Dieter Gruber, one of the three scientists rescued, claims that at the exact moment the artificial moon exploded at the Stargate entrance to the space tunnel, the artifact buried in the mountains was affected. This suggests that a kind of macro-level quantum entanglement was involved, which might be the principle behind the space tunnels. The result is a military expedition sent from Earth to dig up and investigate the buried artifact.

When the survivors left, humans were considered by the natives to be unreal and lacking souls, and to be killed immediately. As a result, the leader of the mission, Major Lyle Kaufman, recruits Marbet Grant, a Sensitive, genetically engineered to instinctively understand the feelings and motivations of others. He hopes, also and primarily, that she will be able to communicate with the only enemy alien to be captured alive. Dr. Thomas Capelo, the pre-eminent authority on the relationship between quantum events and probability, is also recruited. Unfortunately, Dr. Capelo, whose wife was killed in one of the alien attacks, is a notable and unpleasant eccentric, whose only saving grace is his love for his two small daughters.

In some ways this is a denser and more complex novel than Probability Moon. The characters continuing from that book such as Dr. Gruber, Ann Sikorski (now his wife), and Enli Pek Brimmadin are even more fully developed, while Marbet Grant, Major Kaufman and Dr. Capelo are fascinating in their own right. Nancy Kress has a particular genius for the interactions between humans, and in this case not only between humans but between human and alien. The action sequences are exciting and believable, and she provides not only a pleasing human romance but a happy ending for the formerly outcast Enli.

I was particularly enthralled by the scientific background; if the more esoteric quantum theories are good for nothing else, they have at least provided the basis for two excellent books.

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