Douglas Smith's State of Disorder

"Colors and shapes swirled into each other like a nightmare soup of reality stirred by a cosmic hand."

Stephen Hawking wrote in A Brief History of Time that, if a human being could survive to witness a state in which the thermodynamic arrow of time was reversed, "all sorts of science-fiction-like possibilities" would result. Douglas Smith has imagined exactly such a possibility in State of Disorder.

When wealthy research scientist and well-respected academic James Mackaby is invited to dinner by a former colleauge, he believes the now down-on-his-luck Roderick Harnish intends to ask him to use his clout at the university to get Harnish reinstated. When Harnish serves him a too-salty potato soup, straight from the microwave, Mackaby has no idea the evening's menu has actually been slow-cooking for five years, and Harnish wants much more from him than a simple political favour.

Douglas Smith invokes both Hawking and Edgar Allan Poe, as he creates in Harnish a modern-day Montresor, and in State of Disorder a successful marriage of bold imagination and finely-crafted details, which results in a chilling page-turner. The clock is ticking.

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