Meet Qua, the quantum computer with the immense power capabilities that tunes into pathways in parallel universes to operate at lightning speed. But with such power comes the threat of catastrophe, and as government agents, cult disciples, and computer criminals learn what this computer is capable of, Cambridge researcher Clare Conway makes every attempt to safeguard herself and society from the realities she discovers about Qua. For all of the power this computer offers, it threatens to spark a civil war in America, a danger unlike any other that history has ever known.
The journey's the thing in this extravagant spoof, which follows Cambridge computer scientist Clare Conway and her psychologist boyfriend, Jack Fox, on a wildly misadventurous trip to a conference in Tucson, Ariz., where Clare is to speak on the subject of consciousness. An unholy mix of cultists, motorcycle heavies and international spies attacks Clare and Jack, believing that Clare has desirable knowledge about Qua--the novel's real troublemaker, a quantum computer that threatens the very fabric of the universe. A dizzying chronicle of sheer eventfulness, Watson's heady mix of physics, computer science and social satire constantly threatens to spin out of his control. He stays atop the wild plot, however, leveraging his customarily chewy prose, cutting intellect and flair for farce to deliver not just a book's worth of hilarious imaginings but some worthy probings into hard questions about life and lust, mind and matter.