Simply put, Robert Sawyer is brilliant and his novels are always intriguing and informative. In “Factoring Humanity” Sawyer juxtaposes our world with its family and life stresses with that of an alien race that sends signals to Earth. When Heather finally breaks the code of the messages, we, along with her husband and daughter, are taken along for an amazing ride.
In 2007, a signal is detected coming from the Alpha Centauri system. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. Heather Davis a professor in the University of Toronto psychology department, has devoted her career to deciphering the message. Her estranged husband, Kyle, is working on the development of artificial intelligence systems and new computer technology utilizing quantum effects to produce a near-infinite number of calculations simultaneously.
When Heather achieves a breakthrough, the message reveals a startling new technology that rips the barriers of space and time, holding the promise of a new stage of human evolution. In concert with Kyle’s discoveries of the nature of consciousness, the key to limitless exploration — or the end of the human race — appears close at hand.