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Walton, David

Entry updated 5 March 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1975-    ) US physicist and author who has claimed that his Christian faith infuses but does not direct the arguments made in the Hard SF novels he has published to date; he has clearly distinguished between the theological truth of the Bible (for Christians) and the culture-bound language which seems to contradict a modern science, for instance the theory of Evolution. Walton began to publish work of genre interest with "Anyone Can Whistle" in Electric Wine for June 2001; his first novel, Terminal Mind (2008), won (in a tied victory) the 2009 Philip K Dick Award for best paperback original. The tale is set in a distant Near Future balkanized America, where independent city-states – like Philadelphia, where the action is set – have established various forms of government, usually class-ridden Dystopias; Computer viruses are rampant, and minds can be scanned into Cyberspace, a concept central to Walton's later work, where Biology and quantum PhysicsQuantum Computers seem standard – constantly promise, or threaten, to create a Posthuman civilization.

Walton has produced two series to date: the Quintessence sequence, comprising to date Quintessence (2013) and Quintessence Sky (2013), is set in an Alternate Cosmos version of the early Renaissance, featuring a Flat Earth, stars that seem in reaching distance, alchemy treated as an arguable science, and a protagonist in search of the eponymous Element, which may grant him Immortality and other powers. The plot thickens intriguingly on an Island at the edge of the world. The Kelley sequence, comprising to date Superposition (2015) and Supersymmetry (2015), sophisticates the arguments of Terminal Mind: Jacob Kelley and his family suffer quantum bifurcation (and other perils) through the influence of his Mad Scientist colleague, whose physical exploration of quantum spaces (see Dimensions) awakens something like an Old God in their depths. Events are complicated by the mad scientist's murder and the arrest of the protagonist, followed by competently conveyed court scenes; in the second volume, which does not end the over-narrative, the Invention of quantum Weapons threatens the world.

The standalone The Genius Plague (2017) deals with a fungal infection originating in the Amazon jungle, which enhances the Intelligence and Memory of those who survive its initial ravages, but also instils an urge to act in the long-term interests of the fungus (see also Evolution); Political complications ensue. This novel won a John W Campbell Memorial Award [JC]

David Walton

born ?Brookhaven, Pennsylvania: 26 October 1975





  • Superposition (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books/Pyr, 2015) [Kelley: pb/Grace M Conti-Zilsberger]
  • Supersymmetry (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books/Pyr, 2015) [Kelley: pb/Grace M Conti-Zilsberger]

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