The Phantom Scientist (Hardcover)
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A mind-bending graphic novel that teases devious thrills from the mysteries of systems theory.
An isolated institute laid out in a Fibonacci sequence, hidden deep in the forest. Twenty-four labs. Twenty-four researchers. Until one of them disappears . . .
When physicist Stéphane Douasy arrives to occupy the vacant twenty-fourth lab at the Institute for the Study of Complex and Dynamic Systems, an ominous problem rises in his wake: what has happened to his missing neighbor in Building F?
When Stéphane’s neighbors, a discouraged linguist and a computer scientist bent on predicting the future, discover that the missing researcher may have solved the P versus NP problem—a coup in computer science with revolutionary implications for everything from mathematics to philosophy—before vanishing, things turn stranger still, and even more menacing. Solving the mystery of the Institute and its devolution into mayhem and violence every seventh year quickly shifts from being an intellectual exercise to a matter of life and death.
The Phantom Scientist is part thriller, part mystery, part systems theory—and all enthralling. The tale slyly draws together linguistics, biology, astrophysics, and robotics in a mind-bending puzzle that will thrill and inform readers.
About the Author
Robin Cousin is cofounder of Éditions Les Machines and co-organizer of FOFF, an annual festival of independent micropresses at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. His art and storytelling in The Phantom Scientist are informed by the work done at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris.
"A puzzle, a panopticon, and an invitation to seek answers even as obstructions abound, this is an engaging, dryly funny read for armchair philosophers, disillusioned academics, and the unceasingly curious."
– Library Journal
"Cousin adroitly balances an accessible introduction to systems theory with a smart, well-paced mystery, animated by the very concepts he endeavors to explain. To combine mystery and a math comic, it’s an elegant solution."
– Publishers Weekly
"Cousin’s thick and stylized drawings propel this thriller, involving a scientist who has vanished after claiming to have solved a momentous mathematical problem. As his colleagues search for his whereabouts, the isolated institute where they toil devolves into chaos.”
– The New York Times
“Cousin’s novel is an engaging mix of mystery, science fiction and complexity theory, told through artwork that is simple, uncluttered and easy to follow…The languid, almost cinematic pace of the story pulls the reader in, creating a sense of space and time that contrasts with the change in tempo as events accelerate towards the end.”
– Physics World
“This is a beautiful and sublime piece of work. The graphics are simple and the colours bold, standing in contrast with the complexity of the ideas touched on in the story which, ultimately, have to do with how science works and the nature of creativity itself.”
– BSFA Review