From the legendary bestselling author comes his first novel in a decade--a rollicking Washington tale about a media firestorm swirling around a vast Hole in Texas and one obscure scientist who gets swept up in the vortex.
Guy Carpenter has a prestigious job at NASA, a devoted wife and new baby, and, aside from a troublemaking cat, a settled, quiet life. But things take an unexpected turn when this regular guy finds himself mixed up in an international scandal of enormous proportions.
Years ago, Guy worked on the Superconducting Super Collider, a giant government project dedicated to detecting a tiny, elusive particle called the Higgs boson. Wrangling in Congress shut the project down before it could succeed, but now the Chinese claim to have found the boson. It is a discovery that sends the nation into a panic. How did the Chinese surpass American science? What about the horrific military implications of a Boson Bomb? Is it time to start casting Hollywood's first boson-based blockbuster? An expert is needed to assess the new threat to national security.
Guy is propelled into the center of the media blitz, his old love with a Chinese female physicist resurfaces, a new romance with a beautiful Congresswoman beckons, and the breakup of his happy marriage threatens. In the meantime, Congress holds urgent hearings, Hollywood comes courting, the CIA is investigating, and an unctuous reporter dogs his every step.
Once again, Herman Wouk, the man the New York Times has called "a modern Charles Dickens," exercises his deep insight and considerable comic powers to give us a witty and keen satire--about Washington, the media, and science, and what happens when these three great forces of American culture clash.
Herman Wouk was born in 1915, which makes him 88 years old, but he writes like a man half his age. This is his first book in 10 years. Incidentally, the hole in Texas referred to in the title is the real-life multi-billion dollar underground 50-mile Superconducting Super Collider which was built in Texas with the aim of finding the elusive Higgs bosun subatomic particle. In 1993, Congress, during the Clinton administration, pulled the plug on the project - leaving a very large, very expensive hole and a few thousand physicists out of work. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
… Mr. Wouk also uses the nostalgic preobscenity whatever the Sam Hill it is to characterize the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle around which this novel revolves. Well, whatever the Sam Hill he may have had in mind with such a premise, he spins it into a crackling yarn and writes with an enduring vigor that whippersnappers might envy.
The plot is busy but secondary to Carpenter's banter and romantic escapades. Occasionally corny but also playful, thoughtful and passionate, this first novel by Wouk in 10 years will charm fans with its companionable warmth and wry humor.
Unassuming NASA physicist Guy Carpenter, who abandoned his hunt for a particle called the Higgs Boson, is suddenly in the limelight when the Chinese claim they've made the discovery. Oh, yes, and his old Chinese flame is in the offing.
At 88, Wouk (The Will to Live On, 2000) writes with the brightness of a 45-year-old kid hell-bent on fun about subatomic physics. Ingenious. Absolutely ingenious.
The Higgs particle
was first hypothesized by the Scottish scientist Peter Higgs in
1964. After taking a weekend walk in the Cairngorm Mountains
he returned to his laboratory in Edinburgh on Monday and
declared to his colleagues that he had just experienced his 'one big
idea' and now had an answer to the mystery of how matter in
the universe got its mass. Since then a few billion dollars have
been poured into the quest to find the 'Higgs boson' - which, if it
exists, has such a central role in defining the universe that it's
also known as the God Particle.
You can find out more about the Higgs boson and the Superconducting
Super Collider at these two sites (and no doubt many others):
The Higgs bosun The Superconducting Super Collider.
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