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I picked this up as I have read all of Andy Weir’s books but I didn’t read any other books from the Forward Collection. I loved The Martian but his books since have been disappointing.
This book is short and really heavy on the detail. There is a lot of geeky science talk about quantum computing and pseudorandom number generation and entangled qbits and how that would affect the massive Las Vegas gambling industry. But essentially, this is a basic heist story and the characters were unappealing and hard to care about.
I think this possibly might have done better as a full sized book with more time dedicated to the plot and characters but this condensed version just didn’t work for me.
Weir is generally a good author, but this is uncomfortable for a technical person to read because he gets the science wrong.
* Spoilers ahead *
The premise is that digital casino gambling machines have been using pseudo-random numbers all this time because it's impossible to generate true random numbers using only the Boolean logic gates of a classical digital computer. And now casino scammers with quantum computers can derive the random number seed. Andy has a casino IT person buy an entire quantum computer for the casino, just because it can generate true random numbers! The premise is that this is fighting quantum with quantum. The rest of the story hinges on another characteristic of quantum computing that I need not explain here.
What Andy seems to have missed, or ignored for the purpose of making a good story, is that quantum noise is ubiquitous. Making a true random number generator is a $5 amateur electronics project. Casinos, and the manufacturers of their equipment, have known this since digital gambling machines came about. You can learn more about this at the Wikipedia, search for "hardware random number generator".
Many governments regulate the random number generators used in gambling facilities in the interest of fairness. Since 2012, the state of Nevada actually requires a chi-squared test on hardware RNGs and requires seed-per-game for software RNGs and that they continue to produce numbers at >100 Hz between uses in the game. That inserts human timing into the equation, so forget about using quantum computing to figure it out.
That this story assumed that gaming and its regulators were so stupid is a lot of what made it uncomfortable. They aren't.
So, if you happen to know that, getting past Andy's initial premise is uncomfortable.
It was 27 pages long! Then something about 6 more authors said a curator. This is all there is, a short story, a whole bunch of Quantum Physics and then before you go... I’ve read The Martian, listened to it on Audible, saw the movie twice so I’m a fan of science and science fiction. I must be missing something with this.