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'Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories' and 'There is No Antimemetics Division' by qntm

2 July 2024 (2 minute read)

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It’s not too often that a book really makes you think – whether this is about yourself and your own position in the universe, or just about bizarre or interesting concepts. I’ve recently happened across a couple of books written by qntm that definitely do both of these things: Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories and There is No Antimemetics Division.

There is No Antimemetics Division

There is No Antimemetics Division is a science fiction dystopian novel(la) introducing (at least, to me) the concept of antimemes – ideas that can’t be shared or passed on. On the face of it, this doesn’t sound particularly distressing, but the book explores the implications of this alongside the setting of malicious (intentionally or otherwise) “entities” known as SCPs (“Secure, Contain, Protect”) that can manipulate and control thoughts, ideas (and even physical or electronic records) in order to prevent the spread of knowledge.

The book follows a small cast of interesting characters as they try to deal with (or at least understand) these threats, and the story explores a number of mind-bending scenarios that emerge as a result of the existence of these antimemes. I can certainly recommend giving it a read, but just don’t ask me to explain it to you.

Valuable Humans in Transit

The second book, Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories, is a collection of short stories that each explore a different concept. These stories are entirely fascinating and I found myself thinking about them again and again since finishing the book.

Again, they’re all sci-fi, but if this isn’t your thing don’t let it put you off necessarily, as the ideas are often more philosophical than technological. The stories include themes such as pre-determinism, concurrent universes, space, the vastness of scale, human rights, and much more.

Again, this is a book that I think people should just read and absorb for themselves, as I think everyone will have a different take away.

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