Einstein in the Attic (Solstice Publishing )
by Dana Dargos and Said Al Bizri
I was captivated by this book.
It starts in media res with a young Lebanese schoolboy, Adam Remmi, witnessing one of the atrocities of war right outside his home’s window. In school Adam deals with bullies harassing him by saying he is not adhering strictly enough to Muslim beliefs because of his questing for truth and science, but he accepts his parent’s faith willingly enough. His family knows that Adam’s heroes are Einstein, Newton, Spinoza, Kierkegaard–scientist-philosophers, and they encourage this until he comes home from school one day soon after his mother’s tragic death, wondering aloud about the theory of evolution. His father, still grieving for his wife, terrifies his son and all but throws him out of the house.
Over 20 years later, Professor Adam Remmi teaches what his historical heroes wrote about at Berkley. But his marriage and career are falling apart, and he has to come up with something to save them both–preferably an outstanding academic paper or project. Enter Adam’s best friend and fellow-professor Muntz, who’s making a mini-Hadron collider. The collaboration they decide on will be a treat for the physics geeks who read it (like me!) but the scientific explanation is short enough to skip to the results. The scientists use the mini-Hadron collider as a time machine (again, optional cool physics are involved) and enlist the aid of the actual Newton, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, and Albert Einstein by yanking them out of the ends of their historical timelines. Once the abducted scientists are calmed down (note: Issac Newton is a royal pain in the arse), and once they are more or less onboard, things devolve quickly as a new factor is thrown in: an egotistical rival scientist sets up a rather public conflict and they get roped into an unwinnable and very public debate on evolution versus intelligent design. And then Adam’s wife gets wind of just whom he has up in their attic.
The plot has enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing how Adam and his team can make a credible showing at a debate where his opponent has been prepping by carrying out character assassination on breathtaking scale. As someone who has debated this topic at conventions I found it fascinating and loved how authors Dargos and Al Bizri made all of the characters come to life and made you care about their characters. Keep an open mind and see what Einstein in the Attic can teach you.