Gregory Benford. Mercies. (Engineering Infinity).

Rather than giving full rein to his imagination, Benford gives us a story based on a Heisenberger principle – not the famous uncertainty principle, but the one that states that all scientific work is based on some conscious or subsconscious philosophical attitude.

Benford’s protagonist is a wholly unlikeable character – just how unlikeable we find throughout the course of the story. He is at first an avenging angel, using his vast wealth and scientific intellect to travel back in time to do away with those who would become serial killers. A laudable aim, and done as close as possible to the murders happening, to avoid any butterly wing consequences in the time line to which he has travelled.

As he takes on increasingly infamous killer, we find out what drove him to his actions, and there’s a chilling denouement – but I won’t say with whom, or what exactly happens.

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