There Is No Antimemetics Division – qntm

Here’s the blurb on the back of the book:

Antimemes are real. Think of any piece of information which you wouldn't share with anybody, like passwords, taboos and dirty secrets. Or any piece of information which would be difficult to share even if you tried: complex equations, very boring passages of text, large blocks of random numbers, and dreams…

But anomalous antimemes are another matter entirely. How do you contain something you can't record or remember? How do you fight a war against an enemy with effortless, perfect camouflage, when you can never even know that you're at war?

The book is an intertwined collection of stories related to antimemes, sci-fi entities that alter the mind and or physical surroundings so the observers in the universe are unable to observe or record the information. It can be benign, like hidden species of animals. Or devastating like an antimemetic bomb to erase the existence of entire cities from the annals of history. Or worse.

The story follows a team to study and ward off these threats, often without the ability to trust their own mind, “Memento” style.

This book is really interesting because it touches on the role of humans to be an imperfect (and only) observer of the universe. Once there is no one to hear a sound, is there a tree that falls?

We’ve all had bouts of nihilism in our lives, doing things but not knowing why. In this book, characters very often have to do things, but understand why later, because their memory was deleted, perhaps to protect themselves from an dangerous antimemetic idea.

I mainly recommend this book for those interested in science fiction. I grew up reading Michael Crichton books, and similarly, I really appreciate the world building. There’s an interesting element of unreliable narration. It’s also not too long of a read.