Large Hadron Collider in Book Reviews

By Jason Boog Comment

lhc.jpgThis morning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) broke world records for smashing together elementary particles at high levels of energy–a physics project that has inspired a generation of authors with doomsday scenarios.

That photo (via CERN) shows scientists reacting to the experiment. To celebrate, GalleyCat Reviews rounded up reviews of books that use the Large Hadron Collider as plot device. Most famously, novelist Dan Brown wrote an apocalyptic scenario in Angels and Demons.

Here’s Janet Maslin‘s breathless review: “With ‘Angels and Demons,’ Mr. Brown introduced Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of art history and religious symbology who is loaded with ‘what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal.’ No wonder: the new book finds the enormously likable Langdon pondering antimatter, the big-bang theory, the cult of the Illuminati and a threat to the Vatican, among other things.”

In Douglas Preston’s thriller Blasphemy, a collider experiment has some unexpected results. Here’s the Publishers Weekly review: “the thought-provoking new thriller from bestseller Preston (Tyrannosaur Canyon) takes a while to power up, but once it does, this baby roars … Science has often tangled with religion in this genre, but Preston puts his own philosophical spin on the usual proceedings, and when he gets his irate villagers with their burning torches headed for the castle, the pages simply fly.”

Finally, science fiction novelist Robert J. Sawyer talked about the LHC in a GalleyCat interview about his novel, FlashForward. A SF Site reviewer had these thoughts about the book: “Sawyer clearly did his research for Flashforward — lots and lots and lots of it. Tellingly, the novel opens with four long paragraphs describing the Large Hadron Collider, before we meet any of the characters. And the rest of the novel is littered with similar bursts of data.”

Update: Reader Richard Nash points us to Studio 360, where author Lydia Millet wrote “a short story inspired by the LHC’s ‘grand opening.’ What happens if the worst happens?”