I am a big Robert Sawyer fan. I find his topics intriguing and his near future believable. I am also a sucker for anything set in or around Toronto. My favourites are Flashforward, Mindscan, Rollback, and Calculating God.
Overall, I enjoyed Triggers. It has a very interesting idea – it follows a small group of people at a hospital in Washington DC who have been exposed to a freak medical accident and who now can each “read” another person’s memories. While most of this affected group are average folk, the President of the United States is certainly not average, and now someone else has access to his knowledge of a secret upcoming military action. The story describes how various people deal with having another person’s memories, with the search for a cure, and with finding and containing the person who is reading the President’s memories.
Although set in DC, there is CanCon (yeah!). The doctor character, who was also affected by the accident, is Canadian and there are descriptions of his memories from growing up in Canada. I chuckled at the mention of a government-produced short film about a famous Canadian doctor investigating seizures by stimulating different parts of a patient’s brain while the patient describes what they see, hear, or smell at different times. I saw this short as a kid – many times – and it left an impression. To this day, every time I smell burnt toast I wonder if I am going to have a seizure.
Having said I enjoyed Triggers, I was quite disappointed by the ending. I won’t give any spoilers, but the conclusion comes too abruptly and doesn’t reach its potential.