{4.5/5} “He tried to shunt aside his own fear so that he could see Jerrison’s face contort, see him recoil from some invisible blow or explosion, see him, the president of the United States, be the first person holding that office in decades to walk in a soldier’s shoes, share a soldier’s burden, and feel a soldier’s terror at the things those back home had ordered soldiers to do.”

President Jerrison is shot while making a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Soon afterwards, while he’s being operated on at a hospital, a doctor in a nearby room is conducting an experiment. The doctor is attempting to modify a soldier’s horrible memories because of his post-traumatic stress disorder. When a bomb goes off that creates an electromagnetic pulse, the experiment is affected in an unexpected way. Everyone nearby now has access to one other person’s memories — including the president.

Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer was published in 2012. I read the first few chapters on Sawyer’s web site a while ago and was eager to read the rest.

As in this case, sometimes Sawyer’s premise is a bit far fetched. But if you accept the premise — and you should — he’ll take you on an exciting ride.

It’s a fast paced story, but also a thoughtful one. Questions are raised about the appropriate response to terrorism.

The idea of having access to one other person’s memories is fascinating. What if the other person were someone who did something unspeakably horrible? What if the other person were someone you’d like to have a relationship with?

Sawyer is a master at incorporating interesting facts about a topic within a story, in a way that doesn’t slow the story down or take you out of it. In this story you’ll learn a number of things about memory.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I’ve now read 20 of Sawyer’s books — 2 collections and 18 novels including Wake, Watch, and Wonder. His story “Just Like Old Times” is on my most recent list of memorable stories.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013 at 5:34 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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