Review: The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka

the-flicker-men-by-ted-kosmatka The Flicker Men
By: Ted Kosmatka Twitter
Website: http://tedkosmatka.us/
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Rating:


I really enjoyed reading The Flicker Men by Ted Kosmatka. It’s a fast paced science-fiction thriller about a washed out scientist with a serious drinking problem who suffers from depression, and has a family history ripe with suicide and mental instability. An old friend presents him with second chance, a new job – a research position with three months to produce some kind of results – Eric has no intent on keeping. Then the unthinkable happens. His recreation of the famous double-slit experiment actually produces new results, and not everyone is happy with them. This book will have you on the edge of your seat. When I’d finished the book it immediately went into the ‘must re-read later’ pile. (Metaphorically, as I’d checked this out from the library).

First thing’s first. The science.

The Flicker Men delves into some hardcore science. Quantum physics isn’t anything to sneeze at, and the double-slit experiment is very central to the plot. But it never felt confusing to me, and I never got bogged down trying to decipher the science behind the story. Everything you need to know is relayed by the author, and done so fairly well. The story never stops to dump all the info on the reader. Instead, everything is relayed in conversation between Eric and his fellow scientists, many of whom are not physicists themselves, and on an as-needed basis. (And as I edit this review I realize that, technically, that can be considered infodumping, in a sense. However, it didn’t feel like that at the time.)[/dropcap]

Now for the characters.

Eric Argus. Our narrator. Our protagonist. I loved Eric in all his flawed wonderfulness. He had some very real issues in depression and drinking, had a lot of childhood trauma he’d never worked through. Eric was a fantastic character to experience the story through, and I rooted for him all the way. I love an unreliable narrator, and I feel like this strayed into that territory at times. Even Eric questions his own mental state. I liked even better how he changed through the course of the story, perhaps not completely overcoming his vices and downfalls, but making the effort both consciously and, at times, unconsciously to do so.Some of the other characters. Well…

The scientists were loveable, filled with personality and quirks. (Note the lack of the phrase character development.) Yeah, I was disappointed here. A lot of the characters weren’t fully drawn out. One in particular I hated. By the end of the story I almost felt like she was a caricature pulled directly off of tvtropes.

So, yes. The Flicker Men does have its flaws. It’s not perfect. While Eric’s flashbacks were very interesting, I feel like they didn’t completely pay off in the end. I’m not sure what it was that I was waiting to happen, but I was waiting for something, and it never came. Some of the characters and a bit two dimensional. One or two were downright aggravating.
But you know what? I still liked this story. It was still a good read. Nothing made me want to throw the book across the room, and never pick it up again. I read it in only a couple of sittings, and want to reread it.

At the end of the day, yeah. I absolutely recommend this book. If you like thrillers give The Flicker Men a try, but be prepared for some real science. If you like science-fiction, go for it!

Read If:
You enjoy fast paces science fiction, you enjoy thrillers, you like deeply flawed characters

Don't Read If:
You don’t want to bother with quantum physics, even a single underdeveloped character is enough to make you tear your hair out

About author

Kathleen Townsend

Kate writes things, reads things, and writes about things she reads. She’s had a few short stories published, and works as a freelance editor. Favorite genres include epic & high fantasy, science fiction, time travel stories, video game related tales, light novels, and manga.

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