The premise behind Christopher Meeks's novel Love At Absolute Zero intrigued me right from the start. I know scientifically inclined geeks rather well and will admit that I could totally see one of them seriously consider using the scientific method to find a mate. Their seriousness and ability to immerse themselves in their research combined with taking a similar approach to finding a wife is where I imagined the hilarity would ensue. I was not disappointed.
Since readers of She Treads Softly know I like science in my science fiction, you will understand my curiosity when I wondered how would Meeks approach incorporating science in a purely entertaining novel. I applaud Meeks for doing an admirable job keeping the science real while at the same time not bogging down the entertaining aspects of the novel with too much information about the science.
At the opening of each chapter is a quote or law that relates to physics or science in some manner. Pay attention to them because they enhance the humor in Gunnar's search. Chapter Five opens with: "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" -Albert Einstein. Chapter Seven: "The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." -English Biologist Thomas H. Huxley. Chapter Twenty-one: "An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." -Neils Bohr. (As many of you know, I love good quotes!)
I found Love at Absolute Zero a very quick, entertaining, and enjoyable novel. He's also quite grounded in the real world, for example mentioning the RateMyProfessor.com site, and, of course speed dating. While I will admit to one minor quibble with the novel, the sheer humor and originality more than made up for it. My minor criticism is that the scientific geeks I know also all have very well developed vocabularies that they use without hesitation. As a character Gunnar was rather plain spoken in comparison to some real life counterparts.
Not that the novel is all humor. It is actually quite serious at times, but Meeks is a clever writer and has perfect timing - he knows when the reader needs a bit of levity to lighten up the mood. Actually, Love At Absolute Zero should be adapted to a screen play. The timing in the novel would perfectly suit a romantic comedy.
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