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Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. The genre blurs the line separating science fiction and fantasy into a broad scope of mainstream literature that transcends the mechanical model of science and involves the fantasy of human perception or imagination as realistic components affecting the every day physical world.

This genre is characterized by any or all of the following characteristics:

  • The author's use of quantum mechanics to make plausible supernatural, paranormal, or fantastic elements of a story in which reality appears to defy the laws of mechanical physics
  • A character as a consciously influencing observer of reality
  • The scientific recognition of an unquantified animating force of matter measured by Observer effect (physics), posited as consciousness or spirit
  • A theme, character, or events of a story existing per an element explainable as reality according to quantum theory
  • Adventures involving synchronicity, multiple dimension reality, interactive metaverses, parallel worlds or life as a multiverse
  • Consciousness (a character or a reader) as an interactive influence in the creation and perception of reality and plot line
  • Reality behaving unpredictably as per subatomic particles
<p> The genre quantum fiction was coined by American novelist Vanna Bonta to define stories in which consciousness affects physics and determines reality; in her words, "the genre is broad and includes life."[1] Bonta further explained her development of this new genre: "I don't write science fiction. Science fiction is a niche genre, defined by Ray Bradbury as depiction of the real. 'Quantum fiction' is the realm of all possibilities. The genre is broad, and includes life because fiction is an inextricable part of reality in its various stages, and vice versa."[2][3]

Summary of Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel

The book that labeled and introduced quantum fiction as a literary genre to readers was Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel (1995) by Vanna Bonta.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The novel is a novel within a novel in which the protagonist struggles to sort out plot points of a fiction he is writing from reality as coincidences happen in real life from his novel's plot.[11] The first line of Bonta's novel is “Which came first — the observer or the particle?” Various parts of Bonta's novel appear in pop culture philosophies and discussion.[12]

Quantum fiction - new forms of storytelling

Usage of the term quantum fiction began to appear in 21st century books and academic papers that identified and discussed a new and emerging literary genre that is affected by the new view of the world given by quantum physics. Various artists, academia, and critics explored it independently of one another and in various contexts with the common denominator of a new literary genre. By 2010, hindsight reveals a movement and usage by multiple authors and critics.

In his book Loose Canon (Cosmos Press, 2001), author Charles Platt describes quantum fiction as "a blueprint for avoiding literary obsolescence." Platt writes, "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction."[13] Platt argues, "If a nineteenth-century writer such as Charles Dickens sampled a few modern science-fiction novels, he might be surprised by the writing style and the speculative content, but he'd find nothing new in the methods of storytelling. Popular novel-length narratives are built basically the same way today as a century ago, and science-fiction writers are in the ironic position of depicting the future using techniques derived entirely from the past." Platt writes, "My own modest proposal for revitalizing the novel is a form that I will call, for want of a better term, "quantum fiction." Like the quantum theory, it acknowledges the observer (in this case, the reader) as an active participant."[14] In 2001, Platt states, "I believe it should be possible to develop from these prototypes a new genre of "quantum fiction" with genuinely broad appeal."[15]

To give witness to "realities hidden from the world you see," author Wilson Harris described he has been writing since his first novel what he was to eventually realize as quantum fiction.[16] In the dissertation Quantum Value in Wilson Harris's "Architecture of the Tides, Andrew Jefferson–Miles states, "In quantum fiction, the whole cosmos is involved, and that cosmos will leave its trace, its spontaneous quantum of knowing and recognizing, on even the smallest, shortest-lived thing."[17]

In the volume Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature (Hybrid 2012), Spanish author Jorge Carrión writes "My books attempt to problematize these supposed units of meaning, because perhaps we are in a time of quantum fiction. I repeat: “quantum fiction.” This is a concept I have been working on for a very short time. It is a new concept, like “counter-space” or “theoryphobia” were in their time."[18]

In 2009, in a doctoral thesis on the Science of Art, Alexis Blanchet defines the necessity of the quantum fiction genre distinction. "Fictional worlds now appear as shifting and undefined as ever to audiences. The notion of quantum fiction aims to provide a framework of production and reception to the contemporary processes of industrialization and diversification of fiction."[19]

Quantum Theory and Quantum Fiction

Quantum fiction brings quantum theory forward as the explanation behind the concept of life imitating art and art imitating life via substantiation of literary plot developments, time sequence, character experiences and other literary elements based on quantum mechanics. Quantum fiction is etymologically based on the discovery of Max Planck, who first used the word quantum to describe the minute forces at play in the realm of physics. The field was pioneered by quantum physicists Erwin Schrödinger,[20] Werner Heisenberg,[21] Wolfgang Pauli,[22] Niels Bohr,[23] and Eugene Wigner[24], as well as contentions of Louis DeBroglie, Max von Laue and Albert Einstein.[25] One contention, among others, is that quantum mechanics is a statistical approximation to a deeper reality which behaves predictably via the observer being an inextricable part of reality (Observer effect (physics)).

As quantum theories such as Wave–particle duality and the behavior of matter on a subatomic behavior evolves, theories have emerged that life is central to being, reality, and the cosmos. Biocentrism, a theory proposed in 2007 by American scientist Robert Lanza, posits that life creates the universe rather than the other way around.[26] Biocentric theory builds on quantum physics, and this view asserts that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, until they fully account for life and consciousness.

Quantum reality examples in fiction

In quantum fiction, an author can create characters (the observers) within the work of literature to experience or affect reality (time, place, the material world) via any number of aspects of quantum mechanics, as distinct from classical mechanics. Works of quantum fiction can also introduce things such as spooky action at a distance, proved by Alain Aspect, as the course of everyday reality. In quantum fiction, seemingly mundane events can be written as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realized in some time line, as posited by the Hugh Everett Many-worlds interpretation.

In Bonta's definitive 1995 Flight: a quantum fiction novel, the protagonist is a writer writing a novel within the novel. The character is a metaphor for the observer (any human being living, observing and interacting with reality). The writer begins to notice coincidences between what he is writing (about a girl in a parallel world) and his real life. Further, the protagonist in the novel mentions Bonta, the Flight author, thereby adding yet another parallel reality to the novel's two plot lines. Another quantum element that recurs in the book is by way of remarkable coincidences the characters experience, not by way of the mystical, but with which Bonta structures synchronicity as a device of quantum entanglement, the behavior of all matter connected on a subatomic level and intersecting by participation of the observers.

New art of fiction: Quantum vs. Linear

Novelist Wilson Harris stated he realized what he was writing was quantum fiction, and further described it as giving witness to "realities hidden from the world you see." He describes, "The quantum concept is that if one fires out an object, it breaks into particles and waves. Conventional novelists go along a linear road, but the quantum split can bring the past into the present in a new art of fiction."[27] Wilson is describing how Many-worlds interpretation and wave-particle duality[28] appear in and define the genre of his novels, and how it affects every day characters, not related to science per se in theme.

Quantum fiction, emerging 21st century genre

In Fiction in the Quantum Universe (June 2002),[29] Susan Strehle argues that new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics. This book explores and advances a pluralistic view of the meaning of contemporary fiction as it relates to the quantum-defined view of "reality."

While quantum fiction novels diverge markedly from a previously held view of reality, Strehle argues that they do so in order to reflect more acutely that aspect of reality which, only the advent of quantum mechanics evidenced as real, or actual; i.e., Reality is no longer "realistic." In in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics.

Since the inception and coining work of quantum fiction recognized by Publishers Weekly in 1995[30], the influence and definition of literature by this as a genre is evidenced in the creation of novels[31], short fiction[32], calls for submissions[33] [34][35], television and film.[36][37][38][39][40] In 1999, Debra Di Blasi categorizes one of her stories as quantum fiction in the collection Prayers of an Accidental Nature: Stories.[41][42]

In 1996, Aesthetics and Ethics, Literary Criticism Vol. 41 talks about a literary genre 'quantum fiction', "Charles Platt has evidenced a form he has decided to call, "for want of a better term, quantum fiction."[43]

Editorial reviews of new fiction recognize and analyze the defining and qualifying elements of the distinct genre of quantum fiction, which vary from work to work.[44] [45] [46]

Authors have begun defining their work quantum fiction.[47][48][49] In 2001, when Charles Platt wrote that he believed quantum fiction would circumvent some of the problems with science fiction, he stated "...and the only person who tried to use this form was me (in my novel Protektor, Avon Books)."[50]

The term is used by Susan H. Young in her book Quantum Fiction: Relativity and Postmodernism in Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet (2000) to retrospectively best categorize the genre of novels by Lawrence Durrell published in 1957—1960.[51] Durrell's tetralogy presents three perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt World War II. Durrell explains the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject–object relation. In a 1959 Paris Review interview, Durrell described the ideas behind the Quartet in terms of a convergence of Eastern and Western metaphysics, based on Einstein's overturning of the old view of the material universe, yielding a new concept of reality.[52]

A 2002 university dissertation on humanities and social sciences, in the chapter "Quantum Scripts", examines the question of what knowledge quantum fiction requires its readers to have.[53]

Discussion about the emerging genre of quantum fiction is the subject of 21st century academic papers and some university courses. In 2006, in a dissertation about quantum mechanics and modern fiction, Samuel Sean Kinch discusses the work of Nicholas Mosley as quantum fiction and cites Susan Strehle's Fiction in the Quantum Universe as an organized analysis of the emerging genre. He writes, "To date, Strehle offers the most systematic poetics of quantum fiction."[54]

In 2007, Professor Samuel Coale began teaching a college course on quantum theory’s influences and effects upon contemporary American fiction.[55] Coale presents his theories in several papers. In Quantum Flux and Narrative Flow: Don DeLillo’s Entanglements with Quantum Theory, Coale presents novels by Don DeLillo and discusses DeLillo's use of quantum theory and how it is revealed in the structure and style of his novels. Other topics include similarities between quantum theory and postmodernism, the themes of perception and time and space in DeLillo's work, and religious interpretation.[56]. In the essay "Psychic Visions and Quantum Physics: Oates’ Big Bang and The Limits of Language," Coale analyzes the literary style of novelist Joyce Carol Oates. According to the Coale, the characters of Oates are indicating that the individual self recognizes the strange and unfathomable otherness at the mysterious center of self-hood.

Alexis Blanchet's 2009 dissertation and doctoral thesis mentions quantum fiction, and argues the new genre quantum fiction is a necessary framework genre for relationships between fiction, cinema, and video game involving life and interactive participation as overlapping of realities.[57] In a 2007 interview about quantum fiction, Vanna Bonta states, "As people become more aware of this universe as a quantum universe, it will embrace things like holographic entertainment experiences. Already, virtual reality and virtual interaction are an element of quantum fiction."[58]

Quantum fiction television

On March 1, 2012, NBC premiered the quantum fiction television series Awake_(TV series) in which the protagonist lives in parallel realities with differing circumstances.[59][60]

Quantum fiction (as "Actualism")

Susan Strehle explores how the changed physical world appears in both content and form in recent fiction, calling it "actualism" after the observations of Werner Heisenberg.[61] It is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, or "open" endings that involve the reader or some undetermined element to continue or resolve the work. Within that framework, Gravity's Rainbow is cited as an example as it ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle sets forth that although important recent narratives diverge markedly from realistic practice, they do so in order to reflect more acutely on what we now understand as real.

Within this framework, Strehle's book also presents a critical analysis of major novels by Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, William Gaddis, John Barth, Margaret Atwood, and Donald Barthelme.

Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

The perception of a changed reality reaches into philosophy, psychology, literary theory, and other areas. The final chapter extends the discussion beyond North American borders to African, South American, and European texts, suggesting a global community of writers whose fiction belongs in the quantum universe.[62]

Quantum Fiction Titles

Books described or reviewed as quantum fiction:

(incomplete list)

See also


References

  1. quantum fiction definition
  2. Vanna Bonta talks about quantum fiction Wikiquotes; Transcript, Author Interview (2007)
  3. Ray Bradbury interview "I am not a science fiction writer. I am a fantasy writer. But the label got put on me and stuck."
  4. [Publishers Weekly] June 1995; "Whatever 'quantum fiction' is, we need more of it."
  5. St. Petersburg Times April 14, 1996, by Delilah Shapiro Jones; "FLIGHT: A Quantum Fiction Novel may be the first work of 'quantum fiction' in recorded history."
  6. Novel melds reality, fantasy by Kyle Bell; Alexandria Gazette; October 1996
  7. Flight: a quantum fiction novel Audiogeist; February 11, 2008
  8. Flight: quantum fiction and alternate realities Gaggle of Book Review; January 26, 2008
  9. An Interview with Author Vanna Bonta Producer/director Laurel van der Linde interviews author Vanna Bonta about the emerging genre of quantum fiction; November 2007
  10. Quantum Fiction quando la quantistica detta le leggi della scrittura, by Maria Zuppello; Panorama Mondadori, January 16, 2008
  11. Flight: a quantum fiction novel Book summary and reviews
  12. "Which came first — the observer or the particle?" The eternal question
  13. Loose Canon - Quantum Fiction, a blueprint for avoiding literary obsolescence, by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN: 1-58715-437-4; "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction."
  14. Loose Canon, by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN: 1-58715-437-4; page 74
  15. Loose Canon, by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN: 1-58715-437-4; page 78
  16. Theatre of the Arts - Wilson Harris and the Caribbean; edited by Hena Maes-Jelinek, Bénédicte Ledent; Editions Rodopi B.V. Amsterdam — New York (2002); Quantum Value in Wilson Harris's "architecture of the tides," by Andrew Jefferson–Miles; "In quantum fiction, the whole cosmos is involved, and that cosmos will leave its trace, its spontaneous quantum of knowing and recognizing, on even the smallest, shortest-lived thing. (page 181)
  17. Theatre of the Arts - Wilson Harris and the Caribbean; edited by Hena Maes-Jelinek, Bénédicte Ledent; Editions Rodopi B.V. Amsterdam — New York (2002); Quantum Value in Wilson Harris's "architecture of the tides," by Andrew Jefferson–Miles; "In quantum fiction, the whole cosmos is involved, and that cosmos will leave its trace, its spontaneous quantum of knowing and recognizing, on even the smallest, shortest-lived thing. (page 181)
  18. The Bicephalous Writer: The Commingling of the Creative Writer and the Critic in a Single Body, by Jorge Carrión; Storyspaces: Redefining the Critical Enterprise in Twenty-First Century Hispanic Literature. Ed. Christine Hensler and Deborah A. Castillo. Hispanic Issues On Line 9 (Spring 2012)
  19. Les synergies entre cinéma et jeu vidéo: histoire, économie et théorie de l'adaptation vidéoludique, by Alexis Blanchet; Thèse soutenue - Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l'art; (October 30, 2009)
  20. By Michel Bitbol, Olivier Darrigol, Erwin Schrödinger,Institut autrichien de Paris
  21. from [1] "Quantum theory has led the physicists far away from the simple materialistic views that prevailed in the natural science of the nineteenth century" Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy, (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, (1962), 128
  22. "I confess, that very different from you, I do find sometimes scientific inspiration in mysticism … but this is counterbalanced by an immediate sense for mathematics." —W. Pauli, from [2]
  23. John Honner (2005). "Niels Bohr and the Mysticism of Nature". Zygon Journal of Science and Religion 17-3: 243–253. 
  24. Wigner, Eugene; Henry Margenau (1967-12). "Remarks on the Mind Body Question, in Symmetries and Reflections, Scientific Essays". American Journal of Physics 35 (12): 1169–1170. Bibcode 1967AmJPh..35.1169W. DOI:10.1119/1.1973829. http://link.aip.org/link/?AJP/35/1169/1. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  25. pay link to Einstein letter
  26. [Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe],Robert Lanza, MD with Bob Berman
  27. A Life in writing, by Maya Jaggi; The Guardian Dec. 16, 2006
  28. [Particle or Wave: The Evolution of the Concept of Matter in Modern Physics (History of Science Physics) [Hardcover] Charis Anastopoulos] Princeton University Press, July 1, 2008
  29. Fiction in the Quantum Universe, by Susan Strehle (Scholarly Book Services, June, 27, 2002)
  30. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - June 1995; Book Review Flight: a quantum fiction novel, by Vanna Bonta
  31. In quantum fiction, things as they are, By Frank Roylance; The Baltimore Sun, August 20, 2000
  32. The smoker, quantum fiction, by Pranaya Rana; January 26, 2011
  33. Elemental Mirror Call for Quantum Fiction Submissions August 19, 2010
  34. Intraflux quantum fiction
  35. Parrell Worlds & Quantum Fiction Book Library Thing
  36. A Quantum Fable: Fiction and Physics on Film by Barbara Stahura; Scienza e Conoscenza Magazine; issue 10, English and Italian
  37. Quantum Genre (QG) Quantum Physics and Quantum Fiction: Likeness and Deviations; Being and Becoming Literary Magazine
  38. Quantum Fiction: A review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's 'Running Away', by Kathleen Beazie; Charlotte Viewpoint, April 24, 2010
  39. The Quantum Physicist’s Revenge, by RJ Dent
  40. The New Nature of the Multiverse, A Quantum fiction
  41. Prayers of an Accidental Nature: Stories, By Debra Di Blasi; Coffee House Press; April 1999 ISBN: 978-1-56689-083-0
  42. "Our Perversions (quantum fiction)" p. 121
  43. Aesthetics and Ethics, Amerikastudien, Volume 41; J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung., (Jan 1, 1996) - Literary Criticism; "Charles Platt has evidenced a form he has decided to call, "for want of a better term, quantum fiction." (page 418)
  44. Quantum Fiction: A review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's Running Away ,a review by Kathleen Brazie; Charlotte's View, Metropolitan Ideas and Art
  45. Reality, the New Fiction, by Scott Henderson
  46. Inner/Outer fiction/operating manual: Linear Shouting Tsogblogsphere January 22, 2010
  47. The new nature of the multiverse - a quantum fiction Michael Moorcock
  48. Quantum Fiction, by Ranse Parker
  49. Changing Planes, by Laurie Brenner; quantum fiction
  50. Loose Canon, by Charles Platt; Cosmos Books (August, 2001) ISBN: 1-58715-437-4; page 73 "I do believe that "Quantum Fiction" would circumvent some problems associated with traditional science fiction. And the only person who tried to use this form was me (in my novel Protektor, Avon Books)."
  51. Quantum Fiction: Relativity and Postmodernism in Lawrence Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet, by Susan H. Young; City University of New York; 2000
  52. "Lawrence Durrell: The Art of Fiction No. 23 (interview)" Gene; Mitchell, Julian (23 April 1959), The Paris Review.
  53. Dissertation abstracts international: The humanities and social sciences - University Microfilms International; Issue 12 (2002) Education. Chapter Five, "Quantum Scripts...," examines the question of what knowledge quantum fiction requires its readers to have, and how fiction helps establish new thought patterns based on scientific concepts."
  54. Quantum Mechanics as Critical Model: Reading Nicholas Mosley's Hopeful Monsters by Samuel Sean Kinch; Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction - Taylor & Francis; SPRING 2006, VOL. 47, NO. 3 291; Page 4. "To date, Strehle offers the most systematic poetics of quantum fiction, which she employs to discuss the uses of quantum mechanics in the novels of..."
  55. Contemporary American Fiction: Quirks, Quarks and Quests Wheaton College
  56. Quantum Flux and Narrative Flow: Don DeLillo’s Entanglements with Quantum Theory, by Samuel Coale; published in Language and Literature, August, 2011
  57. Les synergies entre cinéma et jeu vidéo: histoire, économie et théorie de l'adaptation vidéoludique, by Alexis Blanchet; Thèse soutenue - Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l'art (Doctoral thesis on Science of Art); (October 30, 2009)
  58. Author Vanna Bonta Talks About Quantum Fiction Laurel van der Linde Interviews Vanna Bonta About the Emerging Genre of Quantum Fiction
  59. Quantum fiction: Are You Awake? The Quiet Pen; February 29, 2012
  60. Quantum Fiction - Television
  61. Fiction in the Quantum Universe, by Susan Strehle; Scholarly Book Service ISBN 978-0807843659 (June 27, 2002)
  62. [3] aLibris
  63. Quantum Fiction: Jean-Philippe Toussaint's 'Running Away', by Kathleen Brazie; Charlotte Viewpoint, April 24, 2010
  64. 'The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
  65. http://www.amazon.com/Happened-Boston-20th-Century-Rediscoveries/dp/0812970667
  66. Flight: a quantum fiction novel, by Vanna Bonta
  67. [http://www.amazon.com/The-Alexandria-Quartet-Boxed-Set/dp/0140153179 The Alexandria Quartet, by Lawrence Durrell
  68. Protektor, by Charles Platt
  69. http://www.amazon.com/The-Eyre-Affair-Thursday-Penguin/dp/0142001805
  70. Mobius Dick, by Andrew Crumey
  71. The Invention of Morel, by [[Adolfo Bioy Casares]
  72. [http://www.amazon.com/Our-Tragic-Universe-Scarlett-Thomas/dp/0151013918 Our Tragic Universe, by Scarlett Thomas
  73. [Paperback Hopeful Monsters, by Nicholas Mosley]


Further Reading

  • Loose Canon, by Charles Platt; (Cosmos Books, 2001) ISBN: 1-58715-437-4
  • The Composition of Reality: A Talk with Wilson Harris, by Vera M. Kutzinski; Callaloo - Volume 18, Number 1,1995
  • Vanna Bonta talks about quantum fiction Wikiquotes; Transcript, Author Interview (2007)
  • “Psychic Visions and Quantum Physics: Oates’ Big Bang and The Limits of Language,” by Samuel Coale; Studies in the Novel; Vol. 38 Issue 4, p427; (Academic Journal, December 2006)
  • Fiction in the Quantum Universe, by Susan Strehle (Scholarly Book Services, Inc. June 27, 2002) ISBN-13: 978-0807843659
  • Weaving the Tapestry of Memory: Wilson Harris's "The Four Banks of the River of Space, by Jean-Pierre Durix
  • Callaloo, Vol. 18, No. 1 (1995)
  • The Entanglements of Nathaniel Hawthorne, by Samuel Chase Coale; Camden House (August 1, 2011)
  • Quantum Enigma (Physics Encounters Consciousness), by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner (Oxford University Press, 2006)
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