“Murder on the Einstein Express” from Murder on the Einstein Express and Other Stories by Harun Siljak

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[Edit: Originally published  October 29, 2016]

This really is the “Science” part of Science Fiction. I feel like I kind of got a crash course in theoretical physics, if that’s even the right term. I’m certainly no scientist. But if you are a scientist or simply enjoy science this seems like a collection that would be right up your alley. 

“Murder on the Einstein Express” is a very clever story. The story takes place at a university, some teachers have constructed a new experimental class for students to take. It’s segmented into 10 mini chapters, an introduction and then the nine lectures that comprise the course. 

What’s being taught is a thought experiment. The analysis of a physics laden short story, “Murder on the Einstein Express.” Where protagonists A. and N. are trying to solve the murder of Laplace’s demon. Every lecture the Professor reads a bit of the story to the students and then they discuss the elements that come up in that section.

There were some parts, particularly the math parts, that had me reading sections over and over because I was struggling to wrap my head around it and I wanted to. This ended up being detrimental to my reading and I had to resign myself to fact that I wouldn’t understand everything, and indeed you’re not supposed to. Plenty of the students in the story are confused as well and there are also places where the Professor tells the students that if they want to learn more/better understand, to seek outside materials. After that I didn’t feel so bad about not knowing. 

It was a very good story and I greatly enjoyed it despite not having a science background. Though if you’re looking for science fiction of the “easy to read space adventure” type this isn’t the place you’re going to find that. This is like I said before, very science heavy science fiction. It’s stuff I think my dad, who is a scientist, would enjoy greatly. 

You can find the book here.

Related Reviews: Freudian Slipstream, Questioning the Tree

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