New Science, New Stories: Quantum Physics as a Narrative Trope in Contemporary Fiction

  • Kanta Dihal
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter investigates the use of quantum physics in contemporary literature and its influence on both form and narrative, taking into account its conceptual and mathematical complexity and the proliferation of mutually exclusive interpretations. Adhering to a specific interpretation of quantum physics opens up distinct possibilities for the narrative; intersecting with contemporary reading technologies, it opens up new possibilities for interactive media to frame these narratives. The case studies in this chapter make use of different interpretations of quantum physics to explore questions of focalization, narrator, and structure: Greg Egan (Quarantine. London: Legend, 1992) and Ted Kosmatka (The Flicker Men. London: Penguin, 2016) use the conscious collapse interpretation; David Walton (Superposition/Supersymmetry. Amherst, NY: Pyr, 2015) questions identity by means of the Copenhagen interpretation; and Iain Pears bases the structure of his app-novel Arcadia (2015) on the many-worlds interpretation.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kanta Dihal
    • 1
  1. 1.Leverhulme Centre for the Future of IntelligenceUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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