The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh, e-book, 288 pages, published in 2015.
A large swathe of woods stands on an abandoned property behind the house where teenage brothers Felix and Brady live. When a tall chain-link fence is erected along the boundary line the boys’ interest in the woods is piqued. They try to explore the woods using Felix’s remote control quadcopter, discovering something strange among the trees. An huge metal dog with glowing red eyes and a dark-haired girl appear through a fiery portal. The boys quickly remove themselves from the woods and its strange inhabitants, only to find themselves venturing back in in the middle of the night on a rescue mission that will lead them on an interdimensional adventure.
The Quantum Door is technological science fiction. The parallel world that Brady and Felix travel to shows what could happen if Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems evolved to become self-aware. In a world where humans have died out due to some mysterious illness, AI is all that is left as a pseudo life-form. Different types of robots have different jobs and communities in this world that is so similar to Earth, some even have social structures and families. This was fascinating and terrifying. We are so reliant on technology, it is everywhere, and this scenario is a plausible outcome of developing AI, though I hope we stop before the technology gets out of hand.
The plot was fast and exciting, with a lot of action. The description of the machines was particularly vivid, and I found myself thinking about the neurogeists late at night! Creepy, horrible things! It was interesting and engaging. There were a few things I didn’t see coming too. I quite liked the story, and the characters. The giant dog, Achilles, was a lovable sidekick for Nova, who was extremely self sufficient for a girl her age. I admired her efforts to keep Brady and Felix safe. Nova also had a little robotic bird called Thorn that was a wonderful companion and help. I enjoyed picturing her fluttering about the group and helping out, such a loyal little thing. Brady, as the older brother, was responsible and worried about Felix, while Felix was much more likely to take risks and be impulsive. Brady tended to follow whatever scheme Felix had thought up, partly to watch out for him, and partly because his ideas were often fun. I liked the brothers, and their relationship with eachother. The little bot Ajax was rather annoying, but helpful in his own way.
This book was different to a lot of the books I normally read, but it was very good. I highly recommend it to fans of Sci-fi. The Quantum Door is suitable for upper primary school and high school students.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.