Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Quantum Magician (The Quantum Evolution Book 1)” as Want to Read:
The Quantum Magician (The Quantum Evolution Book 1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Quantum Magician (The Quantum Evolution Book 1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  110 reviews
“An audacious con job, scintillating future technology, and meditations on the nature of fractured humanity” - Yoon Ha Lee

“Technology changes us—even our bodies—in fundamental ways, and Kunsken handles this wonderfully” - Cixin Liu


Belisarius is a Homo quantus, engineered with impossible insight. But his gift is also a curse—an uncontrollable, even suic
Kindle Edition, 500 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Solaris
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  673 ratings  ·  110 reviews

Sort order
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5-Stars! Outrageously Imaginative!

Delicious hard science, even to the mysteries of quantum unknowns, quantum possibilities. Great prose, fabulous characters, far better than any "Oceans 11" rip-off you could imagine. Rigorously founded in real science, and extrapolating wonderfully into sci-fi; I'm happy to watch various physical laws be broken now and then for such a great heist plot!

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you, NetGalley an
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at

The multifarious, space-faring human civilization Derek Künsken envisions for his debut novel The Quantum Magician relies on a network of wormholes to move from system to system. Powerful patron nations control all the wormholes while subordinate client nations must contract with patrons to use them. The Sub-Saharan Union, a small client nation, longs for independence from the hegemonic Congregate, which controls access to the only wor
I have no problems raving about this book. It has everything I love about SF and then I get the best things I love about the thriller/mystery genre.


At first, I believed this was written as a homage or a more accessible version of Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief, and I was right... to a degree. It forwent the truly odd stuff and gave us a readable and full explanation of quantum mechanics and name-dropped a few more while throwing us into a more widespread future that never quite touched
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was overjoyed to come across this on a 'best books of October list' that I instantly grabbed a copy as it sounded right up my reading street. I have a soft spot for science fiction so long as it has an original and intriguing premise, and this most certainly did. I mean, what could be better than the heist of a lifetime... in space? Trust me, you have never read a book like this before. Make no mistake, this is hard science fiction at its absolute best, and a simply magnificent full-length deb ...more
Antonio Diaz
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De lo mejor del año. Con estructura tipo Ocean's Eleven que camufla unas ideas ingeniosas y sentido de la maravilla a raudales.

El complemento perfecto es en programa de los Verdhugos donde entrevistan al autor (que habla perfectamente español)
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some books you know almost immediately aren’t going to work for you. And yet the obsessive compulsive reader might feel compelled to finish them anyway. And that kinda sucks. And yes, I am such a reader, a completist by nature. And this one had such a promising premise and title and turned out to be such a chore to get through. From page one it was just too…sciency, for the lack of a more appropriate word. Sure it is science fiction, some science is to be expected, but this was positively overlo ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Quantum Magician is the debut sci-fi novel from Derek Künsken. It’s a book nominally about a heist and a con, moving some impossibly precious things from one place to another without interacting with the intervening authorities. But it’s also a story about humanity and transhumanism; about the way people are willing to change themselves or others to adapt to an environment, and about the costs that are born out of that decision. It’s about old friendships and new alliances – the trust you ca ...more
Hélène Louise
Many thanks to Solaris and Netgalley for this read :)

I was very excited to read this book, but also a little apprehensive. In theory I love hard science-fi, because it seems so real, so true, so possible. But in practice, I'm easily lost: most hard science-fi books dwells on physics and, if I know that universe and space mean physics, and if I'm genuinely interested in the subject, it's alas a case of unrequited love there... I love science in general, but my kind of science is clearly biology 
Peter Tillman
This is a good debut novel that could have been better with tighter editing. Inside this 480 page book is a first-rate 300 or 350-page novel struggling to get out. Still worth reading, though Künsken seems to assume that 21st century physics (the Standard Model) will persist into the indefinite future. OK, there's plenty of great superscience stuff too, some halfway plausible. I always love to see inexplicable Forerunner tech, here an ancient Wormhole subway system that provides FTL links to the ...more
Quintin Zimmermann
Belisarius Arjona was taught by a con man that there are only three bets: "Sometimes, you play the cards. Sometimes, you play the player. Sometimes, you just throw the dice."

Well, as the Quantum Magician, Bel played all three simultaneously in the ultimate con. For you see, Bel is a Homo quantus, born from a scientific project founded upon the precept that consciousness collapses quantum systems into clear outcomes, as epitomised by Schrodinger's cat. A Homo quantus brain has been engineered at
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Rebellion

ISBN: 9781781085707

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Balisarius is a quantum man, created to serve, made for a world that requires every moment to be monitored. He flees—his creators, his supposed place in the world, his purpose—to curve out a normal life. Now, he is the world’s most infamous con-man. When a client offers him untold wealth to move a squadron of warships across an enemy wormhole, Belisarius must embrace his true nat
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, codexians
My background in quantum theory consists of understanding about one sentence in three in the quantum theory chapter of Goedel, Escher, Bach (which I thought was reasonably good going). And that was some years ago, so I am far from qualified to talk about the physics of this book.

That didn't matter to my enjoyment of the story; I just took the various bits of esoteric physics as sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic, and concentrated on following the complicated hei
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a serial in three consecutive issues of Analog SF Magazine. I believe it is coming out as a paperback in October 2018.
An excellent story, far too complex for me to summarise here. In short, it is Oceans 11/The Sting in a SF context. If you like hard SF, this is the book for you - recommended!
Ben Babcock
For a while now, I’ve been eschewing posthumanism. Walking on the wild side of nanotechnology was starting to get too much like science fantasy for my tastes. The Quantum Magician is an exception that I’m happy I made: Derek Künsken’s story of a genetically engineered con artist is delightful, and it explores posthumanist ideas in a way that feels fresh. Although I wouldn’t say any of the characters (not even the protagonist) endeared themselves to me, the plot is enjoyable and thought-provoking ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

I really liked this book. The initial setup was a little confusing, but the interweaving of characters and plot-lines was very well done.

The book revolves around the evolution of humanity and the usual domination and subjugation of one group over another. All this plays out via a heist and a conman with unusual abilities....The setting is not unique, a group of mercenaries that don't really fit, but grow together. But t
Don Dunham
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Kunsken channeling Iain M. Banks. A great caper story set in the distant future in a solar system far away. Hard-ish Science Fiction. Rated PG-13 for language and adult situations. Definitely waiting for this Author's next book.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Full disclosure: Review ARC provided by, in kindle format.

I was unable to finish this book. I read the first 25% and was interminably bored by the setup. While the plot seems to be the setup of an ensemble heist story, more than the first quarter of the book is just a setup to that ensemble. The main character is a flat stereotype without any personality, and the side characters (bar one) lack any hooks that would make me think there is something to them. There is neither humor no
Lianne Pheno
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Une histoire intelligente qui arrive à retomber sur ses pieds grâce à plein de bonnes idées qui amènent à de belles réflexions.

Belisarius Arjonan ou Bel pour ses amis est un Homo Quantus. Dans le lointain futur dans lequel se passe ce livre, les humains à diverses périodes et pour diverses raisons (plu ou moins bonnes) se sont lancés dans la modification extrême du patrimoine génétique humain donnant de ce qu'on pourrait appeler des sous espèces humaines,
Let's Geek
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Read the full review also on my blog Let's Geek:

The Quantum Magician is Oceans Eleven in Space, on steroids (I thought I was especially clever but turns out other people called it this before as well, damn it!)

Total Rating: 8.1/10

Originality: 8/10
Language: 8/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
World building: 10/10
Fun: 7/10
Predictability: 7/10
Believable: 7/10
Relevancy: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

Genre: Sci Fi
Time It Took Me To Read: approx. 5 hours

Are you a science f
Miquel Codony
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy chulo. La parte en la que especula con la religión es una pasada.
Fahiz Baba yara
The best sci-fi I have read all year!
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Derek Kunsken’s The Quantum Magician is, at its heart, a heist caper interwoven with some hard sci-fi, which is admirable in its ambition, but ultimately somewhat uneven.

Kunsken’s future universe sees humanity colonising other worlds via a system of wormholes. The wormholes are controlled by powerful patron states who use weaker client states to, basically, do their bidding including fight their wars. Several branc
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
There are two things you should know about me: I love science fiction and fantasy novels… and I also adore heist stories. So stories that combine the two? I have a desperate desire for.

That being said, The Quantum Magician should have been a slam dunk. A far-future sci-fi story about a proto-human conman pulling off a heist? As soon as I heard the premise, I ran to request an ARC. Unfortunately, The Quantum Magician didn’t do it for me.

Belisarius is the titular quantum magician, a proto-human en
Benoit Chartier
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Belisarius Arjona is a quantum man, or homo quantus. He's the product of eleven generations of genetic manipulation by the Anglo-Spanish banking conglomerate to create a human capable of generating more profit. In the eyes of the banks, the project has failed.

What makes the homo quantus special is that they can, with the help of their altered genome and certain implants, go beyond their already super-human capabilities. They have the capacity to enter two other states, savant, and the fugue, wh
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-net-galley
The Quantum Magician is Canadian author Derek Künsken's sci-fi debut novel. Originally serialized in three parts in early 2018 in the magazine Analog Science Fiction, it's a rollicking blend of space travel, transhuman evolution, space-time travel, and an impressive heist. Employing that time-honored trope of a crew of vagabonds drawn together in space to do a job, Künsken has put together a fun tale with plenty of humor. The speculative tech fiction and very theoretical physics were also engagi ...more
O.S. Prime
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining read with a good world-building and humorous character interaction. Some of the characters are over the top (in a good way). Might put one in mind of the Stainless Steel Rat series. Not as richly textured as the Jean le Flambeur series. Could be considered young adult barring the crude language of one of the characters.
Georgina Kamsika
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel about science and factions and scheming and treachery and a heist, which sounds like fun, and it is, but it's also an intense read. This is no beach novel. The detailed science slowed me down, as did following the many different plot threads, but ultimately it was worth it for a smart and satisfying ending. There's so much in this, from the various factions of humans to their often similar but opposing goals. Most authors would have got about four books out of this one. That said ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to preview this book. Eventually a good story with a great finish, but too much pseudo-science and "super-human" angst. Still recommended.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, own
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Starwater Strains
  • Secret Life
  • Confluence (Linesman, #3)
  • Terminal Uprising  (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse, #2)
  • Escapology
  • Wolves
  • Thin Air
  • Troika
  • A Red Peace (Starfire, #1)
  • Reality 36
  • The Librarians and the Pot of Gold (The Librarians, #3)
  • Embers of War (Embers of War, #1)
  • On a Red Station, Drifting
  • Arabella The Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #3)
  • Expert System's Brother
  • Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing
  • The Void Captain's Tale
  • The Marquis, Volume 1: Inferno
“The Anglo-Spanish penal system either struck visitors as refreshingly civilized or as stingingly rapacious. Sentences could be commuted or pardoned for large cash payments, or for the transfer of assets such as stock or annuities. Absent this, prison corporations happily extended moderate-interest sentence-mortgages to a sponsor, or even to parolees themselves. Visitors could buy different levels of access to the prison via a transparent list of escalating fees, which in the Congregate would have been called bribes. Some nations just did prisons better than others.” 1 likes
“I’ve found out how to move past my instincts, as all rational beings must.” “Hollow words, Arjona. We certainly all have to fulfill our programming, no matter who the programmer.” 0 likes
More quotes…