Friday 28 August 2020

Short Story Review: Randomize By Andy Weir

Randomize Randomize by Andy Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story is part of Amazon Forward Collection which according to the sleeve notes from its curator are from authors ask to explore "the resounding effects of a pivotal technological moment".
With this story Andy Weir chose quantum computing. According to wikipedia "Quantum computing is the use of quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation" and therein to me lies the problem with this story - I didn't become entangled in the storyline.

The plot is a simple one, an external one, made into many stories and movies about Las Vegas Casino-land heists, brilliant minds powerd by greed think they can outwit the casino to win big. But add something as unfathomable as quantum computing into this mix and a lot of explanation has to take place to woo the average reader. We know Weir can do this from his brilliant The Martian and his explanation here of "agreement in advance" using the example of two drivers at cross directional traffic lights is clear, but ****SPOILER ALERT ***having the criminal mastermind explain it all to reassure her hsuband of their plan is for me a bit too obviously explanation for the reader.

Moreover the plot fails for me at three points,
(1) when the installer of the casino's new quantum computer says to its IT guy "remember it's only as good as the security on this computer" - dead giveaway;
(2) when the installer says to his wife "It was easy enough to sneak it (the computer) here for you to prepare" - really!!!
(3) bending a casino manager into the plan - athough perhaps it is credible that a person in this position would also be greedy, wouldn't he also have people background checking, monitoring and 'putting the fears' on him? - it was just too convenient an ending for me.

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