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1. Zendegi
2. Incandescence
3. Diaspora
4. Schild's Ladder : A Novel
5. Luminous
6. Quarantine
7. Diaspora: A Novel
8. Permutation City
9. Distress
10. Axiomatic
11. Teranesia: A Novel
12. Dark Integers And Other Stories
13. La Cité des permutants
14. Blood Sisters (Great Science Fiction
15. Diaspora.
16. Crystal Nights and Other Stories
17. Teranesia
18. Téranésie
19. L'Enigme de l'univers
20. Isolation

1. Zendegi
by Greg Egan
Hardcover: 278 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801747
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In 2012, journalist Martin Seymour travels to Iran to cover the parliamentary elections. With most would-be candidates disqualified this turns out to be the expected non-event, but shortly afterward a compromising image of a government official captured on a mobile phone triggers a political avalanche.
Nasim Golestani, a young Iranian scientist living in exile in the United States, is hoping to work on the Human Connectome Project -- which aims to construct a detailed map of the wiring of the human brain -- but when government funding for the project is cancelled and a chance comes to return to her homeland, she chooses to head back to Iran.
Fifteen years later, Martin is living in Iran with his wife and young son, while Nasim is in charge of the virtual world known as Zendegi, used by millions of people for entertainment and business. When Zendegi comes under threat from powerful competitors, Nasim draws on her old skills, and data from the now-completed Human Connectome Project, to embark on a program to create more life-like virtual characters and give the company an unbeatable edge.
As controversy grows over the nature and rights of these software characters, tragedy strikes Martin's family. Martin turns to Nasim, seeking a solution that no one else can offer ... but Zendegi is about to become a battlefield. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Far from Egan's best
I've loved most of Greg Egan's novels up to this point, and so was eagerly looking forward to Zendegi but unfortunately Greg has dropped the ball this time around. Zendegi is a novel that plays it safe; a dull, methodical, ramble that tries far too hard to present a politically correct view of a future Iran (with some safe, token jabs at obvious targets) and as a result never really goes anywhere. It is a timid novel lacking almost entirely in creativity -- something I never thought I'd see from Greg Egan -- full of dull characters and anemic story telling. The groan-inducing cliché of a (non)ending is simply icing on a horrible cake.

I know Greg means well, he did visit Iran while writing Zendegi (you can find details on his homepage) and his trip notes make for a far more interesting read about Iran and its beauty than you will get from Zendegi. I just wish Greg had had the courage to tell a stronger story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful speculation
The idea of mapping and uploading human consciousness isn't new to science fiction.Indeed, Egan has explored it in a couple of his earlier novels and in his short stories.Other SF writers have done so too.But Zendegi isn't stale or hackneyed; quite the opposite in fact.

Zendegi is the name of a virtual reality role-playing game whose designers manage to create game characters from partially mapped human minds.They do so for commercial reasons, to give their product an edge in an increasingly competitive VR market place.It's ironic that something so complex and amazing should be applied to such mundane purposes - entertainment and money-making.Egan juxtaposes this scenario with another far more worthwhile one - using a virtual version of a dying parent as way of ensuring that the child doesn't grow up totally without parental guidance.But what are the moral implications of doing this?And what other applications, altruistic or otherwise, might such technology lead to, especially given the increasingly commercial nature of scientific research?

Exploring big questions like these is what great SF is all about, and Egan's treatment of this particular topic is fascinating.Equally fascinating is the setting - a near-future Iran which is now democratic but where religious ideology is still a factor.

By contrast with his previous two novels, Egan balances the science and the storytelling really well, creating believable characters and putting them in a setting that, while speculative, is eminently plausible.There's also a touch of humour where, early in the novel, one of the characters is confronted by a science journalist whose previous works include `The Sociobiology of The Simpsons' and `The Metaphysics of Melrose Place'.Ha ha!Shades of the pretentious academics in Teranesia whose careers have been forged in the cutting edge fields of X-Files Theory and Diana Studies.

The characters in the book are not heroic, but they are very human.The story does not have a dramatic climax, but it leaves you thinking about morality, about politics, about business, about humanity's future.It's a provocative speculation on the possibilities of technology and it's Egan's best novel in years.
... Read more

2. Incandescence
by Greg Egan
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-07-21)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597801291
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The long-awaited new novel from Greg Egan! Hugo Award-winning author Egan returns to the field with Incandescence, a new novel of hard SF. The Amalgam spans nearly the entire galaxy, and is composed of innumerable beings from a wild variety of races, some human or near it, some entirely other. The one place that they cannot go is the bulge, the bright, hot center of the galaxy. There dwell the Aloof, who for millions of years have deflected any and all attempts to communicate with or visit them. So when Rakesh is offered an opportunity to travel within their sphere, in search of a lost race, he cannot turn it down. Roi is a member of that lost race, which is not only lost to the Amalgam, but lost to itself. In their world, there is but toil, and history and science are luxuries that they can ill afford. Rakesh's journey will take him across millennia and light years. Roi's will take her across vistas of learning and discovery just as vast. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

2-0 out of 5 stars The 1st poor book I read by Egan
i have read 2 others by him Diaspora and Distress. I loved the former, and enjoyed the latter. This book was poor. The ending, as you have seen from other reviewers, left a big hole of unresolved issues. I felt cheated by the fact that the 2 threads did not come together, in fact there is a reasonable chance that the 2 threads were in fact 50k years apart.
the discovery of relativity by the Ark Dwellers was interesting but the use of their language for direction made the interpretations awkward. This had real possibilities, but it was totally unsatisfying

2-0 out of 5 stars Great, right up until the end
The book begins and continues as a fascinating story about how an orphan culture of beetle like beings attempt to explore the world off of their "planet" by crunching equations and doing some pretty high level physics without the use of computers or any other high technology whatsoever. Toward the end they are "discovered" by modern day "humans" who, in a parallel storyline, have been trying to find them somewhere near the galactic center, territory controlled by a third, mysteriously aloof alien race. All these factors and twists seem like they are about to come together for a supremely satisfying ending but low and behold, they don't. The end turns out very strange, unsatisfying, confusing and disappointing in every way. I felt like this book, filled with intriguing concepts and characters, had so much potential to be a worthwhile and great read, but instead I feel like I wasted my time. I'm a big fan of hard science fiction but, even though there were some interesting and exciting moments and ideas in the story, I just can't recommend this book to anyone who loves a good yarn.

3-0 out of 5 stars I love Greg Egan but...
One of the things I love about Greg Egan is that he does not pull punches when he is talking about science. This is a clever book that explores relativity and celestial mechanics in a world that is very different from ours. The main problem is, that when you are talking about these things, diagrams are a must. The publisher allowed him only 1 where the book requires something like 20 minimum. To add confusion, he uses alien vocabulary that he does not completely define and you are supposed to infer from context. Sorry, he may have a clear vision in his head when he wrote it, but it did not come across on paper. Further, there seems to be some confusion at several points in the book as to whether he is talking about a neutron star of black hole.

On the other hand. I disagree with some other reviewers that the end did not make sense. It was an unexpected plot twist but it made sense to me. I can say this to clarify the ending without spoiling the plot twist. Ask yourself, "who are they aloof?"

3-0 out of 5 stars Almost, but not quite...
[Lots of spoilers ahead]

Really enjoyed most of this (although struggled with all the different names for directions), but was left feeling let down by the author. All the signposting suggested that the two storylines would weave together, but in the end I was left confused:

- Roi's Ark was orbiting around a black hole, while Rak was chasing down and finding one around a neutron star? So, there were two entirely different Arks that for most of the novel we were led to believe were one and the same?

- What was "The Wanderer"? - at one stage I thought it was the ship carrying Rak, but turned out to be something left unexplained.

- Was Zey going to tool about with Rakesh for a few 100/1000 years waiting for Parantham to return?

It all feels horribly like there is going to be a sequel, but agree with others that this novel doesn't really satisfy as a stand-alone effort - why bother having two storylines that really have nothing to do with each other?

A shame, as the ideas and (most) of the implemenation were great, but by the end, felt that I'd been wasting my time...

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Ignore those who state that the ending is "abrupt" and that "you learn nothing about Aloof". The joy of your own discovery fully compensates for the additional 5 minutes you need to spend paying attention to the details towards the end of the book. You won't die of over-exerting your brain. Interactive illustrations to the novel available on the author's web site are highly recommended. ... Read more

3. Diaspora
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 416 Pages (1999-11-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$50.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061057983
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The boldest and most wildly speculative writer of our time, Greg Egan has envisioned a quantum Brave New World -- a masterful saga of a time when not only human life, but fleshly reality itself, will be nothing but a memory...

It is the thirtieth century.The "world" has evolved into a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the solar system into one scape from the outer planets to the sun.Humanity, too, has reconfigured itself.Most people have chosen immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software.Others have opted for disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world.A few holdouts stubbornly remain fleshers struggling to shape an antiquated existence in the muck and jungle of Earth.

And then there is the Orphan, a genderless digital being grown from a mind seed.

When an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers, it awakens the polises to the possibility of their own extinction from bizarre astrophysical processes that seemingly violate fundamental laws of nature.It is up to the Orphan and a group of refugees to find the knowledge that will save them all--a search that will lead them on a quantum adventure to a higher dimension beyond the macrocosmos....

Amazon.com Review
In the 30th century, few humans remain on Earth. Most have downloaded themselves into robot bodies or solar-system-spanning virtual realities, escaping death--or so they believe, until the collision of nearby neutron stars threatens life in every form.

Diaspora, written by Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner Greg Egan, transcends millennia and universes in the tradition of Poul Anderson's Tau Zero, Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix Plus, Camille Flammarion's Omega, and Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men. Diaspora is packed with mind-bending ideas extrapolated from cutting-edge cosmology, physics, and consciousness theory to create an astonishing hard-SF novel inhabited by very strange yet always believable characters. Diaspora is why people read SF. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best sci fi books I've ever read
If you like hard sci fi, this will set your boots on fire.I was riveted from the early chapters told from the perspective of a germinating AI, right through to the insane scope of the final chapters, which I won't describe in order to save you the pleasure of finding out for yourself.

I've never read a book with more scope and original ideas packed in.It's not even a vast doorstep of a book like so much sci fi, but manages to squeeze in concepts by the bucketload.

Buy it immediately - Egan should be as rich as he is clever.

5-0 out of 5 stars A far more accurate look at the future than Clarke's "3001"
I am a huge sci-fi fan, and this book is far and away my favorite of all the books I've amassed. An easy way to describe why I like it so much would be to compare it with Arthur C. Clarke's "3001."

In Clarke's book, it seems that the author's imagination has run out and he cannot really understand that 1000 years in the future will be nothing like the past 1000 years, and will most likely be so different that a time-traveler from our period wouldn't have a common starting point to work from in understanding the new world. He paints a world only slightly different from our own, as if he can only think 100 years out. "Diaspora" presents a wildly exotic, but still plausible humanity of the next millennium.

Without going into detail, the author describes 3 routes that humans have taken: completely virtual entities inhabiting only the combined computing resources of the solar system, humans still living on Earth either in original form or highly genetically modified but still organic, and robots who form a half-way point between real bodies and virtual entities.

I think Egan's exploration of these three groups and their interactions is plausible, and most of all very exciting and fun to read. There is no "dead zone" in the book, no arid chapters where nothing happens, and his character interactions give a human element without taking a break from the exciting ideas he presents and explores.

5-0 out of 5 stars A mind-bending description of immortality
My mind is still reeling after reading Diaspora, and I doubt the world will ever look the same again to me.While some reviewers have panned the ending, the sheer size and scope of what happens left my head spinning.As a software engineer, I'm used to thinking in terms of conceptual layers surrounding layers surrounding layers, but this book gave me a feeling of what infinity feels like.Truly mind-bending and highly recommended to anyone who follows the concept of a human technological singularity.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book
What a cool story.I'm a big fan of hard science fiction, and this is about as hard-science as they come.I've read this twice, and I still marvel at some of the wild ideas in there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought provoking
As a reader unfamiliar with the scientific basis for Greg Egan's ideas in this novel, I simply decided to suspend my disbelief and accept the science presented as facts revealed.... Wow, what a roller coaster ride! His writing style seems so clear and non-manipulative that I found it easy to accept ideas I hardly understood. My pleasure was not so much from learning the "hard science" but from simply basking in the presence of a higher (and benign) intelligience. I can relate with some reviewers who complain of a lack of drama in the story which is why I rate this a 4 instead of a 5, yet for some reason I didn't mind compensating for that in my own mind. After the human race has evolved to the point where there is neither a need nor desire for anything from the material world, where there is no competition for anything, then the real basic _human_ needs emerge: what is the meaning of my existence? What kind of world do I want to create for myself and others? Though I see this higher level drama being played out as a subtext; Egan doesn't discuss it directly and some readers may miss it or not care. I think the main appeal to this novel is the depth of abstraction Egan is capable of; as one character puts it "nothing is uncompehensible." Which is the oxymoron: "sentient software" or "non-sentient software"? ... Read more

4. Schild's Ladder : A Novel
by Greg Egan
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-01-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$28.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000C4SHHW
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Age of Death ended countless millennia ago. No longer burdened by limited lifespans, the immortal humans who populate inhabited space now have the luxury to travel vast distances effortlessly and to tinker with the intricate mechanics of spacetime. But one such experiment in quantum physics has had a catastrophic and unanticipated result, creating an enormous, rapidly expanding vacuum -- a region of new physics -- with the frightening potential to devour countless inhabited solar systems.

Tchicaya abandoned his homeworld four thousand years ago to travel the universe, freely choosing, as have others of his bent, to endure the hardships of distance and loneliness for the sake of knowledge and experience. Aboard the Rindler, a starship trawling the border of the allconsuming novo-vacuum, he feels his endless life has new purpose. For the Rindler is the center for the scientific study the phenomenon -- a common ground for Preservationists and Yielders alike, those working to halt and destroy the encroaching worlds-eater ... and those determinedto investigate its marvels while allowing its growth to continue unchecked. Tchicaya has allied himself firmly with the latter camp.

The passing decades -- and inevitable expansion of the void -- widen the great rift between the two factions, intensifying what was once simply ideological differences into something more angry, explosive, and dangerous. And the arrival of Tchicaya's fiery first love, Mariama, and her immediate embracing of the Preservationist cause, intensifies an inner turmoil he has been struggling with since his distant childhood.

But everything onboard the Rindler -- and, ultimately, in the inhabited universe itself-is on the cusp of further cataclysmic change, as the Yielders' explorations threaten to transform discord into violent action and potential xenocide. For new evidence suggests that something unthinkable is developing at an astounding rate deep within the mysterious, 600-light-years-wide void -- something neither Tchicaya and his compatriots nor Mariama and hers could ever have imagined possible: life.

Amazon.com Review
Greg Egan became the hottest new science-fiction author of the 1990s and won the Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial awards by extrapolating cutting-edge quantum physics and consciousness theory to create rigorous and radical new visions of the posthuman future. Schild's Ladder affirms Mr. Egan's place, with Olaf Stapledon and Poul Anderson, among the giants of cosmic-scale SF.

In Schild's Ladder, humanity has transcended both death and Earth, and discovered its home world is nearly unique as a cradle of life. As it spreads throughout the galaxy, humanity enjoys an almost utopian existence--until a scientist accidentally creates an impenetrable, steadily expanding vacuum that devours star systems and threatens the entire universe with destruction.

Tchicaya is a Yielder, member of the faction that believes this "novo-vacuum" deserves study. The opposing Preservationists--among them Mariama, his first love--seek to save worlds and destroy the novo-vacuum. Discord heats to terrorist violence; then enmities and alliances are turned upside-down by a discovery that may mean the novo-vacuum is, instead, a new and very different universe--and one which may contain life. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Schild's ladder
Schild's ladder is one of the best Egan's books. According to hard-scifi gendre, described story is set into physically very beliavable universe with lot of technical details and technical/cultural ideas. Just after reading very first sentences of the book, I knew it's the right choice. And it of course was. Take a deep breath! Another brilliant Egan's story begins..

5-0 out of 5 stars A grand story at Egan's usual pace
I'm learning to respect the way he does it, but one side of me worries that Egan just has too many ideas to even think about drawing them out in the style of epics like The Broken God. At the end of Chapter 1, I could not escape the feeling that that could have been another whole book.

In part that was due to my own concurrent research into the idea that a graph-theoretic network is a good candidate to be the fundamental level of existence, so I don't fully accept Egan's disclaimer, ahead of some useful references to related science, that "Quantum Graph Theory is fictitious".

Despite the, typically Egan and to me hasty, traversal of a many-leveled journey, he also uses his books to explore as back stories some very different scenarios for the nature of the galaxy and our future in it. In Schild's Ladder he posits that the only signs of life we find are so rare and so different that their host planets are automatically quarantined, as well as a humanity which has long dispensed with gender, but still finds political difference and space for destructive extremism.

The central theme of the story is only one important step removed from alarmist speculation about particle accelerators destabilising spacetime. That opening chapter makes it clear that the work needed to seed a spreading disruption of space time might have to be incomparably more precise than any of the high-energy events which nature already provides.

Schild's Ladder is also about preserving a sense of personal identity through transformations that make waking up in the morning look simple.

If you enjoy nearly credible ideas rushing past make sure you read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best hard sci-fi I have read
This book was interesting from start to finish, and was a workout for the mind to boot. To fully appreciated it, I argue one must have at least university level education in physics and with a sprinkling of computer science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Australian SF Reader
To quote some country singer or other "baby did a bad, bad, thing". This is bad in the Sister Alice bad sense of the word.

As in screw up, destroy large chunks of galaxies.

The posthumans here have awesome technological capabilities at their fingertips, the ability to back up, live outside bodies, and all that stuff, but they still have to relate to each other.

They also have to come up with a way to stop this much greater than minor problem they have.

This one is mind melter taggable.

5-0 out of 5 stars The future of post humans!
Once you can learn in a sufficiently flexible manner- something humanity had achieved in the Bronze age - the only limits you really face are speed and storage; all other structural changes are just a matter of style. Or so according to Egan.

And there we go:
Enter a future world of non-flesh post humans, where all but a few deranged relics have their minds in quantum computer 'Qusps', with a flesh body as a peripheral that many forgo. And where death is regarded as only a minor annoyance. Gone are the sad old ancient Earthlings with their limited expectations. The ones who really expected no progress, no happiness, no success, no harmony. Gone are the ancient humans burdened by their limited lifespans.
Now we have immortal humans who populate the galaxy and travel vast distances disembodied.
Gone are ancient concepts like male and female. Who needs sexual dimorphism anyway?, If your mind is really running on a quantum computer ready to be transmitted to another starsystem?
And after all, if you want sex and death - surely even acorporals could try that out in some sort of simulation?

And then curiosity almost kills the cat. And how else than with a science experiment running amok. Creating a new vacuum. A new vacuum that begin to eat its way through the galaxy, destroying thousands of inhabited planets in its wake.

But not just any old, new vacuum. An intelligent vacuum that is a biosphere right down to the Planck scale. Intelligent. Begins to sound a lot like Hans Moravec's intelligent life on neutron stars doesn't it?
But better, with intelligence woven into the very space time fabric of the vacuum.

And again post humans must explore - and so goes the creator of this new universe (scientist Cass is the name of our heroine) inside to say hello to the beings she has created. A little difficult Egan admits - Such communication between different structures of mind, different nature of hardware and different laws of physics - but heck, where there is a will, there is a way.

And on and on.

Love it all the way! Surely it might not be loop quantum gravity precisely or even close. But never mind, surely there must be an Egan universe, somewhere out there in the multiverse! Not to have it would be shameful.

-Simon ... Read more

5. Luminous
by Greg Egan
Paperback: 304 Pages (1999-08-12)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$12.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857985737
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
LUMINOUS collects together one original story plus nine previously unpublished in book form.Greg Egan’s short fiction is at the cutting edge of the genre.His stories range from near future predictions to far future, far space improvisations.His grasp of the latest scientific breakthroughs is unparalleled in science fiction.The stories include 'Transition Dreams', 'Cocoon', 'Our Lady of Chernobyl', the title story 'Luminous' and 'The Planck Drive'.Egan's particular interests range from the farther shores of chaos theory and black hole science to bio-technology and cloning. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Plenty of oomph with Egan's heavy science & detail
Egan's other hard sci-fi books (Permutation City and Quarantine) have been read with much gusto while not being bogged down by all the new terminology and sciences. Likewise, many of the stories in the collection titled Luminous have a heavy hand in science but also have svelte figures of plots. The only story to go well over my head was the final story, Planck Dive. All the other were either fantastic is all regards (like Chaff, Luminous and Cocoon), had a semi-predictable ending but was still decent reads (like Mitochondrial Eve and Transition Dreams) or just lacked a certain amount of oomph at the end (like Mister Volition and Silver Fire). But the `bang for buck' factor is very high here!

Chaff - 5/5 - A cartel owned bioengineered section of the rainforest is resilient to any attack and produces useful substances as a b-product. An American geneticist has vanished from his government job and a spy is hired to track him down in this unforgiving jungle. 27 pages

Mitochondrial Eve - 4/5 - Humanity has been sampled and an organization declares that everyone has descended from one female from eons ago. Later, a rival group claims that everyone has actually originated from a sole male from the past. A study has been launched to find the truth. 29 pages

Luminous - 5/5 - The idea of a flaw in mathematics has turned into a reality and the proof its importance could either be harnessed or destroyed but who or what is actively pursuing the outcome? Surely the supercomputer Luminous can rummage through all the possible avenues! 41 pages

Mister Volition - 4/5 - A reality warping eye patch (ala Gibson's Virtual Light) projects lines of color into a man's world. The colors begin to make sense but the feedback (biofeedback to be more exact) is becoming overbearing. Is it volition or coercion? 20 pages

Cocoon - 5/5 - An improvement on the womb would allow it to block harmful drugs and other substances from entering the fetus. Who could possibly consider this an evil thing and blow up the research lab? By the way, please define `harmful substances' if you will! 38 pages

Transition Dreams - 3/5 - Prior to being downloaded into an android body, a man's is being given the speech about the process. Having been satisfied with the contract, he mulls the thought of trans-embodiment dreams which will occur but he will not remember. Dreams; they're a funny thing. 18 pages

Silver Fire - 3/5 - An endemic is popping up across the world and a local minor hotbed is in the American eastern seaboard. When the investigator tracks down a rave-like party which `caravans' to the west, which aspect of this party could possibly transmit the virus? 39 pages

Reasons to be Cheerful - 4/5 - A boy with a cancerous part of his brain becomes perpetually happy. However, when cured of the cancer he becomes plagued by the antithesis of bliss. Over the year he grovels through life until he is given the choice of selective enjoyment. Blessings are often double-sided. 41 pages

Our Lady of Chernobyl - 3/5 - An expensive relic is sought after. A detective is hired to hunt it down and solve the mystery of the courier's disappearance. If an obscure piece of art can cause murder, deceit and large monetary sums to change hands, how will the detective sift through the clout? 36 pages

The Planck Dive - 2/5 - A largely unintelligible story of black holes and the drive to dive into the hole to obtain infinite computation through digitizing the explorers' clones. That's about all I could decipher from it. 37 pages

5-0 out of 5 stars Visionary, Intelligent Hard Science Fiction
Egan has a magnificent imagination, because one hundred years from now this collection of short stories will still contain offerings within the realm of hard science fiction.I can read collections by Asimov and think 'how quaint, technology is already ahead of those assumptions,' but Egan writes centuries ahead.

The book challenged me as reader by making me think about issues I never considered, but may be relevant in a few dozen decades (Transition dreams, cortisone blockers in the womb.)I can't ask for more than that from my hard science fiction.

While I didn't like all the stories (Our Lady of Chernobyl), the good parts redefined my expectations.Five stars.A collection hard sci-fi fans should not miss.

5-0 out of 5 stars Luminous - Greg Egan
Luminous : Chaff - Greg Egan
Luminous : Mitochondrial Eve - Greg Egan
Luminous : Luminous - Greg Egan
Luminous : Mister Volition - Greg Egan
Luminous : Cocoon - Greg Egan
Luminous : Transition Dreams - Greg Egan
Luminous : Silver Fire - Greg Egan
Luminous : Reasons to Be Cheerful - Greg Egan
Luminous : Our Lady of Chernobyl - Greg Egan
Luminous : The Planck Dive - Greg Egan

An agent is sent to kill a geneticist who is working in a druglord controlled stronghold in the jungles of Colombia, and working on important brain altering research.

3.5 out of 5

An organisation is trying to trace a common maternal ancestor for recent humanity. A woman's geneticist boyfriend is dragged into this, and embarks on a long-term supercomputer project to track this.

A racist equivalent for men springs up, and the researching man decides to get subversive.

4 out of 5

A pair of researchers have found a defect in mathematics, where something can be true and false at the same time. This leads to them going on the run to keep the power of changing reality out of corporate hands, and leads them to a startling discovery.

"Alison gave me a strange look. "You still don't get it, do you, Bruno? You're still thinking like a Platonist. The universe has only been around for fifteen billion years. It hasn't had time to create infinities. The far side can't go on forever-because somewhere beyond the defect, there are theorems that don't belong to any system. Theorems that have never been touched, never been tested, never been rendered true or false.

"And if we have to reach beyond the existing mathematics of the universe in order to surround the far side . . . then that's what we'll do. There's no reason why it shouldn't be possible-just so long as we get there first.""

5 out of 5

A man steals a brain patch, and it is blackmarket, called Pandemonium, so no-one knows what it does. He tries it anywhere, and is quite severely affected.

4 out of 5

A private policeman investigates a bombing of a biological research centre looking into natal protection of babies, when he stumbles across the fact of the company moving anyone not died in the wool hetero away from the project, and realises they are also experimenting with preventing non-hetero births by controlling maternal stress factors.

4.5 out of 5

A man is creeped out when he finds out that while being frozen and scanned to be given software immortality as a Gleisner Robot, that there will be dreams involved.

3.5 out of 5

A CDC researcher looks into the agonising titular disease, and has to track it through a travelling dance and music scene, where a cult of sorts has grown up around it.

4 out of 5

A boy discovers he has a serious brain tumour, and it was causing him to be amazingly happy. Removed, he becomes despondent, and undergoes a new and extensive treatment eventually, with a form of brain network, to try and get back to a more useful life many years later.

4.5 out of 5

A man is hired to find a radiocative religious icon. The search turns deadly.

3.5 out of 5

Some polis residents, Diaspora style, perform a highly complex experiment regarding quantum physics and existence.

4 out of 5

4-0 out of 5 stars great NEW science fiction
greg egan is one of the few authors who's really breaking into new territory in "hard science" fiction. Luminous is a collection of shorts; like so much writing in that style, they just start to open up an idea, which can sometimes be frustrating, but it's all good stuff.

themes include speculation about the future results of our work with genetic manipulation, microbiology, neuroscience, genetics, nanotech.egan also has a website with 'supplemental materials' to back up the great stuff he writes about.

this is definitely not cowboys in space, or the same old robot stories.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gets the neurons firing double time
This is an excellent collection of hard sci-fi shorts. The stories start on a groudwork of scientific/mathematical speculations and soar from there, exploring a diverse range of themes. Egan can truly envelope you in another world, and show the consequences of the story's central idea.
Anyone with an innate curiousity for science/mathematics and a love of sci fi should definately check these out. I'm a little surprised that I'm the first reviewer. ... Read more

6. Quarantine
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 280 Pages (1995-01-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$150.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061054232
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it's all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034.

Some see the bubble as the revenge of an insane God. Some see it as justice. Some even see it as protection. But one thing is for certain -- now there is the universe, and the earth. And never the twain shall meet.

Or so it seems. Until a bio-enhanced PI named Nick Stavrianos takes on a job for an anonymous client: find a girl named Laura who disappeared from a mental institution by the most direct possible method -- walking through the walls.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars COLLAPSE THE FUTURE
ENDLESS REALMS of possibility waked through by a series of brain modifications...
of the three of Egans ive completed; Permutation city, Diaspora, and this, Quarantine; the latter elipsed the rest in terms of page turning anticipation and head of heals intrigue with egans spasms of technological jargon that sometimes are too deeper web to comprehend... the balance is perfect in Quarantine, a perverse tale winding alien restraining orders, Quantum mechanics and genuine origanal sci fi into my favorite Egan book so far...

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite multiple dimensions/ or multiple realities novel
You definitely have to read this book by Greg Egan. It's kind of the same idea as quantum immortality/quantum suicide theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_immortality) only expanded to include everything. Meaning that every thing that you can think of exists in some reality, and you only have to transport to that reality to make it reality. Therefore everything that can exist does exist. It's amazingly empowering, in a way, because all those great "what ifs" in your life are actually reality, really, according to this books' hypotheses.
If you are a philosophical type of Science Fiction reader, you will enjoy this book, though it still has plenty of action and intrigue.

4-0 out of 5 stars Lutheranism
Nobody has mentioned this in the reviews I've read so I will: When many of the novel's characters are drugged into being loyal to a corporation they used to hate, they escape the need to stay loyal to the corporation by inventing ... The Protestant Reformation!

That is, they convince themselves that the "real" corporation (or church) is an individual ideal, and not the mere organization they've been drugged into being loyal to. This is precisely the "trick" the original Protestants, like Luther, used to escape the emotional domination of the Catholic church.

There's no doubt Egan intended this, and it makes QUARANTINE one of his best novels. It's not all science fiction, and the philosophy is as up to date as a course in modern religion.

Just thought I'd mention it.

3-0 out of 5 stars 'Cos of Quantum
This is two very different stories, linked by two very different characters. Nick is a hard-boiled P.I., an ex-cop with a terrible past. He uses neural implants for this P.I. skills, and to manage his emotions. Substitute neural implants for Prozac and you have a pretty good idea. He's hired to find Laura, a 30-year old woman with the mental development of a 6 month baby. Impossibly, she has vanished from a locked room in a custodial facility. Nice is hired by an unknown to find Laura. So the story starts out as a locked box mystery for a P.I. who uses neural implants.

The Laura mystery faintly echoes the bigger mystery of the humongous grey sphere that, 30 plus years ago, cut the solar system off from the rest of the universe. The biggest locked box mystery of them all, so to speak.

But Nick is captured by the mysterious Ensemble while scouting out a lead. He is given another neural implant, making him absolutely loyal to the Ensemble. And then he is used as a security guard, protecting a woman who is developing very strange skills. Here we have the second story. And, I'm afraid, a great deal of speculation, angst and digression into quantum states and their possibilities.

What if a neural implant could allow manipulation of quantum states? Schroedinger's cat, in its locked box, is famously both alive and dead until you open the box and look. It's quantum state is "smeared" until observation locks its down. What is a human could hold a "smeared" state, preserving all possibilities, until the human chose to lock down a selected state? Of course, if all of those other billion possibilities were "destroyed" by choosing one specific outcome, you might feel a little guilty. If those billions other possibilities ever existed. Nick, the P.I. who uses neural implants to avoid facing his own emotional crises, implausibly spends pages - a lot of pages - agonizing over the inhumanity and improbability of it all.

The ending is messy, with a million corpses, a demolished city and almost all of the hard questions unanswered. The role in all this of the mysterious terrorist group that killed Nick's wife?Unexplained. Nick himself? Unexplained. The fate of the grey sphere and Earth's isolation? Unexplained.

Maybe the problem with quantum uncertainty is that at a macro scale it proves too much. If every conceivable option is possible, there's no room for plot tension. If you have the power to select from an infinite sheaf of possibilities at any instant, there's no room for a plot.

Terrific ideas, some nice efforts at linking plot elements, but ultimately the big premise wraps around the axle of the plot and whole story grinds to a halt. My review title is borrowed from Terry Pratchett. It pretty much summarizes the problem Egan faced.

5-0 out of 5 stars difficult, yet stimulating & challanging read
It's all to often that one becomes entertained by a novel. It's all too often when one hates a a pathetically poor book. But it's ever so rare to be intellectually challenged, mono-y-mono, with a character in a book. Nick's experiences through detective work, cyberpunking and ultimately turning into a loyal slave for a "greater cause." This all leads us into a surprisingly rich and diverse discussion into metaphysics.

What is consciousness and sentience?
How does quantum mechanics govern the universe?
Is there a connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics?
Does human consciousness collapse quantum symmetry?
What is reality?
Who am I?

All the possibilities brought up through the conversation about metaphysics sends one into a wonderful sea of self-discovery. Furthermore, the technology of mental "mods" shines light on human perception of common day reality is a variety of different ways. Mods help us with attention, boredom, grief and order-of-importance. The variety of mods in the character Nick gives him a special diverse depth, which would normally be impossible to create in a main character.

Fabulous. ... Read more

7. Diaspora: A Novel
by Greg Egan
Hardcover: 290 Pages (1998-01-31)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$26.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000C4T3OI
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars you can find anything
son's favorite author....not in Borders....Amazon to the rescue.New or used, great price, excellent condition, fast delivery....

4-0 out of 5 stars Starts with a fantastic exploration of minds, then changes to physics
The first chapter (which happens to be available for free from the author's website) was something I had to read twice - the way it described the birth and development of an artificial mind up to the point that it achieved self-awareness was so fantastic, smoothly using a dozen different concepts from cognitive science and developmental psychology. For a cogsci major, that was a great treat. The rest of the book continues on the same lines - the occasional stuff about astrophysics and four-dimensional geometry went over my head, but I couldn't help but loving the way that Egan describes life inside a computer in an entirely plausible fashion. At no time does he forget that his characters aren't human.

Some readers found the lack of drama in the book to be a turn-off, but for me, the detailed descriptions of the life and culture of digital entities more than makes up for it. (And the moments when the protagonist achieved self-awareness both made me smile and sent shivers down my spine, especially on the second reading.) That's only for the first third of the book or so, though - after that, the cogsci enthusiasm changes to theoretical physics enthusiasm and there's so much stuff about five-dimensional universes and elementary particles made up of wormholes that the society description becomes a distant second. To me, that's a pity - there were several pages worth of physics content that I basically just skimmed - but the first third is so strong that the book deserves four stars nonetheless. Combined cogsci/physics will no doubt give it five stars. ... Read more

8. Permutation City
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (1995-10-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$90.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006105481X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The good news is that you have just awakened into Eternal Life. You are going to live forever. Immortality is a reality. A medical miracle? Not exactly.

The bad news is that you are a scrap of electronic code. The world you see around you, the you that is seeing it, has been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. You are a Copy that knows it is a copy.

The good news is that there is a way out. By law, every Copy has the option of terminating itself, and waking up to normal flesh-and-blood life again. The bail-out is on the utilities menu. You pull it down...

The bad news is that it doesn't work. Someone has blocked the bail-out option. And you know who did it. You did. The other you. The real you. The one that wants to keep you here forever.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt the best science fiction novel of the past 25 years
I can understand why Greg Egan isn't more popular among the general public.As anyone who has looked at his website would know, he is unapologetic about his desire to concentrate on the science part of science fiction.There is no dumbing down with him- if science fiction is literature about ideas rather than people, then he is the genre's most representative writer.And yet, at the same time, I think the degree to which he is often stereotyped as a hard sci-fi writer is exaggerated.If Egan is consistent in his exploration of scientific ideas, he is equally consistent in considering how those scientific developments will impact humanity.Too often science fiction often presents us with worlds where the technology has changed but people haven't- in other words, the future is just like the present, but with more gadgets.Egan is at the forefront of a group of cutting-edge sf writers to tell us no, we are going to change as much as the technology.We may change so much, in fact, that we will be as unrecognizable to our future selves as we are to pond scum.

The chief conceit of Permutation City- humans leaving their bodies behind by uploading their consciousnesses into machines- isn't new to sci-fi, but Egan's exploration of the concept is simply the most realistic, provocative and well thought-out one I am aware of.From his prediction that uploading will first develop as a medical tool, to his examination of the role economics play in the virtual lives of the uploaded Copies, to the ultimate existential questions of identity and reality they face, there is no author who has pushed the envelope this far when it comes to virtual reality, mind uploading, and the Singularity.Given the fact we are actually on the verge of creating the technology Egan describes (the Blue Brain project in Switzerland is already modeling animal brains in virtual space), the questions raised by Permutation City will only loom larger in the public consciousness in the years ahead.

That being said, this is not a perfect book.Given the immense stretches of time and metaphysical space the novel covers, it's not surprising that the plot is a little creaky and disjointed.Again, this is a function of the fact Egan is more interested in exploring his ideas to the fullest extent possible than constructing a clear A to B to C narrative.The novel also showcases Egan's chief weakness as an author- characterization.Oddly enough, Permutation City features some of Egan's best and worse characters.The protagonist Maria has about as much substance as the Pretty Female Scientist who accompanies James Bond on some of his more recent adventures.Paul Durham is more intriguing, if only for his obsession with Dust Theory, but by far the most haunting character in the book (and all of Egan's work) is the German banker Thomas, who sentences himself to virtual Hell in order to punish himself for having murdered a girl in his youth.Although Egan no doubt believes in the inevitability and perhaps even the necessity of the Singularity, this character reminds us that many will simply use the technology to find new and inventive ways to torture themselves and others.

After all, there is always the possibility that the future won't change human nature as much as we may like to believe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled - this is a horror novel
It looks to be SF, but that is just the setting - this is actually a horror novel.

There are no monsters, there is no real evil, there isn't even any antagonist. But the desperate, hopeless isolation is palpable. The inevitable decent into insanity and self-destruction is overwhelming. If you can read this book and not feel the grip of terror close around you then you probably didn't understand it.

It's certainly made this transhumanist think twice about cryo-preservation.

Read it if you wish, as a horror novel it is outstanding. I couldn't put it down and called in sick to finish it in one day. But don't expect a pleasant reading experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dense hard sci-fi. Comp sci with sides of physics and biology to go!
Fourteen years later, and amazingly, this Computer based virtual reality sci-fi story hasn't aged. Also, Greg Egan is a physicist, yet this book reads like it was written by someone who has spent a lifetime immersed in computer science! (I know there's overlap, but still...)I found it amazing how thorough and correct even the biology references are- Egan not only knows Artificial Life, but exactly how it differs and relates to biochemical life! I found the characters and their interactions a little thin and hard to follow, partly because so many ideas are explored- virtual worlds within virtual worlds. The second half with its "Dust theory" variation of Many Worlds Interpretation will strain many readers suspension of belief, but note that Egan is an atheist, and he seems to be satirizing theism here-- the creators of the Autoverse are in danger of ceasing to exist because the artificial life forms they created are on the verge of proving their universe doesn't need a creator!!! Its done with a subversive sense of humor.This is the first Egan book I've read, and I'm certainly going to look for more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vague Nostalgia
I read this when it was released in 1995 and still have my copy. It unerringly makes my list of top 10 speculative fiction works.

At this far of a remove, I don't remember the details beyond modeling a slightly simpler universe inside of a computer, but It opened up a new world of science fiction for me. This was one of the first science fiction books that I read the year it was published, and thus the first without the "past looking forward through a present not my own" feeling that Asimov and Heinlein and many others gave me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grasp it, love it, revel in its depth
"Civilization wouldn't have deserted reality - just transcended biology." A quote from Permutation City which sums up what the plot is trying to grasp. Egan explores a near future (2045-2051) where advances in medical and computer science have resulted in an Autoverse- a reality so redefined which can mimic (or mirror?) the human consciousness.

Much like Egan's novel Quarantine, he confronts reality head-on and tackles the question without hindrance and without shame as he spills forth a brilliant scientific explanation which can answer the characters concerns about reality to conform to their subjective views. Egan takes a Buddhist-like/Quantum-like approach this time using `dust theory,' which "implies a countless number of alternative worlds: billions of different possible histories spelt out from the same primordial alphabet soup." Is our reality what it is simply because that is how we have defined it? Or has our reality already been defined yet waiting discovery? And, ultimately, would we know the difference between the two? Hmm.

Ensnaring ideas of a heaven and hell, exploring conflicts between ones self and ones ego and delving into the dreamscape of perpetually probing the definition of consciousness- Egan eagerly takes on all these obstacles and molds it into a mind-warping novel. And if you think just because Egan writes hard sci-fi then he couldn't possibly create deep characters; well, you're wrong there. The cast and their social intercourse are just as deep as the sciences and philosophies themselves.

It may be necessary to take bite-sized chunks of Permutation City, let it simmer then consume...otherwise you may burn yourself out or fail to seize the exotic pleasures Egan offers like no other. ... Read more

9. Distress
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 464 Pages (1998-02-01)
list price: US$6.50 -- used & new: US$4.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061057274
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Investigative reporter Andrew Worth turns down a documentary on a mysterious new mental illness -- "Distress," or acute clinical anxiety syndrome, for another assignment. He's on his way to the artifical island of Stateless, where the world's top physicists are gathering to decide on a new TOE, or Theory of Everything, to replace Einstein's outmoded legacy.

Chief among the scientists is the brilliant African Nobel laureate, Violet Mosala, the focus of Worth's story, who is the subject of mysterious death threats. Worth begins his own investigation, but it takes on even more urgency when he finds that Distress, the mental plague now affecting millions, is linked somehow to the approaching "Aleph Moment" when the TOE is finalized.The countdown has begun for a disaster that will reach all the way back to the Big Bang. And beyond...Amazon.com Review
After developing a lengthy exposé on"frankenscience," SeeNet reporter Andrew Worth is burntout. So burnt that he passes up a plum assignment covering the newdisease "Distress." Instead, he asks for a lower-key jobprofiling Violet Mosala, a scientist who earned a Nobel Prize at theage of 25 and who is about to announce her version of the Theory ofEverything. The TOE is an attempt to explain how all scientifictheories fit together, but it may actually be the catalyst thatcreated the universe, making Violet the "Keystone" of theuniverse. So much for the quiet assignment ... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read but unconvincing
If the story were some Philip K. Dick nightmare where the universe insanely revolves around the narrator, the premise of the novel would be very believable. But it seems unlikely that human beings a few hundred years from now created the universe. Maybe I need to have more faith in the anthropic principle, but this seems like unparalleled arrogance to me. What, we're the first species in the -universe- to get this advanced? That has the same amusing ring of ridiculousness as new religious movements claiming that God has come to earth in the year 2009 AD.

Note that this is being really hard on Egan. It's a great book, worth reading, but after Permutation City I know that Egan can do better.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pseudo-Scientific Garbage in Search of a Plot
Reading this book was a complete waste of time. I kept hoping based on the first 50 pages that there would be a plot. Between the hopelessly juvenile pseudo-scientific cosmological garbage, and the liberal anti-heterosexuality, vegetarian, anti-nature, preaching, the author never really gets around to a plot, and insists that quasi-military operatives will band together in opposition to a specific view of quantum cosmology, with full (or at least partial) understanding of the requisite equations in space-time. A grand, world-wide plot to subvert a "brilliant" cosmologist whose "theory of everything" will actually bring an end to the universe if published. Why publishing should be the trigger, rather than conception, is poorly glossed over. The end, which is poorly conceived and very thin, occurs precipitously, as if the author suddenly realized he needed an end to the story. Such literary incompetence and hubris combined should be shunned. Luckily, I got it out of the library - net cash = zero, net time wasted = about 4 hours. Not worth it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Distress - a look at the Theory of Everything
I warn you, the book is full of existentialist introspection; bio-technology and it's impact on people; Utopian ideals set in motion/reality; and most of all, descriptions of "deep" math, physics, and incomprehensible stuff for the layperson. I don't know if it's possible to summarize those concepts for someone with no math background, but it can be done, he didn't do it. Still, the book worked, until the end. I loved the existential feel and discussions in the book, and the way it made you stop, put down the book and actually think! about your life, and how you view it. Good read, at that time (3/4 through). How 100 pages can change your perspective 180°!

First of all the plot: a journalist, who has trouble with relationships, is finishing up a piece for the netzine he works for, SeeNet, called Junk DNA. It's about four extreme uses of DNA, which he calls "frankenscience."

In Andrew Worth's near-future world, he is surrounded by technology - notepads that function as a wireless computer, with a built in dataminer, called Sisyphus. He has an implant in his eye, that he can "invoke," called Witness, and it will date/time stamp and record any event for future use. It is then later simply downloaded, through an umbilical implant attachment, to his notepad, or other device. The cities are deserted as nearly everyone works at home on-line. The cities are figurative"ruins" that can be full of gangs and criminals, but a few have tried to revive parts and brought in theatres and restaurants, many featuring "experimental cuisine," a bio-engineered food substitute, made from various things that are made to taste like regular food, although they look completely different.

The book is full of existential themes and angst. In one crucial scene, while he is going over the demise of his latest relationship, his friend, who had long ago declared he would never marry, but now has a wife and kids, said: "I used to think that if you changed from ... valuing one thing to valuing another, it was because you'd learned something new, understood something better. And it's not like that at all. I just value what I'm stuck with. That's it, that's the whole story. People make a virtue out of necessity. They sanctify what they can't escape."

This passage made me really think - to put down the book and examine my own life. So, an existential question - does "life' have meaning by itself, or is just a series of compromises we make with what we have?

The title of the book comes from a disease called "Distress," a disease that is growing, and has nightmarish consequences - the victims live in a perpetual state of distress - sort of a PTSD taken to the limits, and are filled with dread, fear, and anxiety, which manifests itself in thrashing about, muttering and moaning, etc. The importance of the disease seems to be irrelevant for most of the book - which makes the title puzzling, even after the book is done.

Andrew is asked to do a piece on Distress, but is seemly afraid (the reason he chooses not to do this prestigious piece is not fully realized in the book) and instead "steals" a different piece from a junior reporter on a major physics conference on TOEs (Theory of Everything) and other theories/models, and Egan does a fine job (although maybe not from a lay perspective) on describing these mathematical and physics models, and the reason for their importance in not only physics/math, but in life as well. The heart of the conference is that one of the speakers might present a true, complete TOE, and that might be the "end" of physics as we know it. Of course that's not true - it is just the starting point, but all sorts of "ignorance" cults have come to the island nation of "Stateless" to take a stand.

Stateless is a "rogue" nation, boycotted by most countries because of it's origins. A group of scientists stole some bio-specimens and bio-tech, and "grew" their own island in the South Pacific. The island is full of artists, musicians, and scientists, etc. There is no government, and people have formed into various knots of cultural ties/religions, but there is no government - it's an "anarchy" in the basest sense. What Andrew can't figure out is why it stays that way, and why the residents feel it always will - why they don't worry about the next generation dissolving into absolute anarchy.

Andrew is assigned to interview and tape one of the TOE presenters, Violet Masala, from South Africa. What starts out as being an easy "vacation" piece becomes fraught with information overload, bizarre fringe cults that impact the conference and himself, and various other things that bring the focus away from the "easy" interview and into the realm of a major assignment. He was not prepared for what he found, and the reporter who did all the background work won't return his calls.

What he makes of it all, you'll have to read. But, except for a lack of information on the titular disease (later explained in the book in some part), and a few other missing details, Egan does a marvelous job of world-building in the near-future. The ubiquitous cults, the island, the existential crises his friend, and later himself, go through, are all intricately detailed and held out for our inspection, and it passes mine. It's the ending that left be feeling that I'd been robbed.

And the characters were flat to me - to me, I have to have someone I can root for, and I just couldn't get anywhere with Andrew - although his personal life and existential crises are detailed out, it never rings quite true, and indeed, his one rant (when he was ill) was quite odd. And Violet Masala - she started out as a witchy sort - later became "cool," and at the end finally, seemed to thaw. But she never was more than a buzz in his ear, and his ostensible reason for going to the conference, as well as a vehicle to truly describe the TOE that is the heart of the book.

I'd give it a 6 (originally an 8, and that was because it's premise is slight, but it's treatment was first class, until those last 100 pages).

SPOILERS REMOVED! In order to do justice to my opinion of the book, I would have to give some stuff away, but don't want to do that here. If you want all the "good stuff" check out my review at http://thehouseai.wordpress.com.

There is much discussion of some of the cults that exist, throughout the book, and in particular, a few which attend the conference to protest the TOEs. One of these Mystical renaissance, is a front-runner, but in the last 100 pages, sort of disappears, and you're left wondering why they were given so much space.

Another important cult are the Anthrocosmologists, one of the cults embracing "technolibération, which means the "empowerment of people through technology, and the 'liberation' of the technology itself from restrictive hands" - in other words, supporting technology in all it's bizarre applications (like in Junk DNA), but also taking it away from the White Male West, and into the hands of the people, especially science starved Africa.

ACs, as they are called, believe (at least the moderate wing) in merging information theory, an old science, with the TOE, to achieve what they believe is the "end" result. As the books explains "Imagine this cosmology...take as your 'starting point' the fact that there's a living human being who can explain an entire universe, in terms of a single theory. Turn everything around, and take it as the only thing given that this one person exists."

"From this person, the universe 'grows out' of the power to explain it: out in all directions, and forward and backward in time. Instead of being blasted out of pre-space - instead of being 'caused' inexplicably at the beginning of time - it crystallizes quietly around a single human being."

Then there are extremist ACs, who believe that only ONE person is designed to be the Keystone and that person is predetermined, and they will go to any lengths to fulfill their mission.

In Violet Masala's TOE, she uses the concept of forgetting the fine-tuning of the Big Bang theory. Taking our own existence as given, which in some ways parallels the AC's views, she uses various experiments in which she knows the variables, etc., and assigns them a probability of existing as 100%, something the other TOE theorists won't do - they want to start with a clean empty slate of physical constraints, and bring it down to pure mathematics. She takes these established facts (the results and conditions of known experiments) as a kind of anchor for the math.It's her TOE that is the focus of the ACs

The last 100 pages differ dramatically from the first 400+. What happens in the end, in the crazy environment he created, becomes an exercise in self-indulgence. It's as if the author is experiencing a mystical look into the cosmos. The TOE becomes something grander than a mere physics exercise. He describes it in lyrical prose, and it simply doesn't fit the tone of the earlier 3/4 of the novel, which relied heavily on science and physics/mathematics in particular. It's as if "The Little Prince," "What the Bleep! Do We Know," and "The Secret" suddenly all melted into the end of the book, a SciFi novel, and becomes an author's over-indulgent rapturous look at the cosmos, the universe, ourselves, and the interconnectedness of it all. For when the Toe is eventually "read," what happens is pure New Age. and the epilogue is bizarre for a HardSF book.

The book is replete with little "mysteries" and lots of red herrings that have no real part of the story - they are interesting in their own right, but end up just "floating" in the story line - not a part of it at all. But this isn't a mystery novel, it's Hard SciFi.

It was a disappointment, in a novel that held much promise, from an author that has been widely touted. It was just too mystical and New Age for my tastes. That part spoiled the book for me.

A somewhat enjoyable book for the most part, especially if you can skim across the more detailed math and physics and focus on the interactions, the sociological implications of the ubiquitous cults, and the notion of a "stateless" state. The book is a study in near-future - what SciFi SHOULD be, when done right (at least the first part). This is the first book of his I have read, and it definitely will NOT be my last, as I'm curious if this is a fluke, since others have thoroughly enjoyed his books, and even gone so far as to say "since when is there a BAD Egan book."? Well, I might quibble with that, but later reflection might find that the ideas presented outweigh the negative ending, and move it up a notch.s

5-0 out of 5 stars Super Reader
A journalist living in a decentralised, seven gendered world is asked to make a documentary of an important conference on an island that is sort of a big versio of Sealand, but bioengineered. A famous physicist is set to unveil her Theory of Everything.

Needless to say, the loons are out in force for this, whether quasi scientific or quasi religious nuts, and some of them are violent. A particular version is worried that if this is actually presented the universe will go bye-bye. It seems there is a non-zero probability they are right.

Philosphy, media, inland diving, and a bit of offhand savage political criticism of Australia make this an excellent novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars a review of Distress
Distress is a story set in the not-so-distant future where "franken-science" and real science are pushing the boundaries of people's comfort levels.This sci-fi book has several unique ideas about the future, science and the universe that make it well worth reading.

Our main character, Andrew, is a reporter who covers many of these hot topics in the science arena.He quickly finds himself entangled in a controversial conference where the world's greatest minds in physics are convening to hash out a Theory Of Everything, or TOE for short.Things quickly escalate to code red as Andrew discovers that some hardcore cults are planning on disrupting the conference, fearing the fate of the universe is in danger if a TOE is successfully created.

The book is well written and, though it has some wild ideas, Egan clearly put some intelligent thought into them.This is one of the few sci-fi books I've read where I hardly had to cringe much at the science and plot.Also, Egan really tries to push the boundaries of contemplating what the universe actually IS; no small feat.I was shocked that he actually came up with a unique idea that I'd never come across before.After finishing the last page, I found myself pondering some new ideas about the universe.Not too often a book does that for me. ... Read more

10. Axiomatic
by Greg Egan
 Paperback: 293 Pages (1997-12)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$59.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061052655
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From junkes who drink at the time-stream, to love affairs in time-reversed galaxies; from gene-altered dolphins that converse only in limericks, to the program that allows you to design your own child; from the brain implants called axiomatics, to the strange attractors that spin off new religions, Greg Egan's future is frighteningly close to our present.
Amazon.com Review
Axiomatic is a collection of Greg Egan's short storiesthat appeared in various science fiction magazines (mostlyInterzone and Asimov's) between 1989 and 1992. Like mostof Egan's work, the stories focus on science and ideas, sometimes atthe expense of the writing. But although Egan may lack a certainstylistic flare, he more than makes up for it with his wonderfulvisions of the future. Some of the more interesting stories include"Into Darkness," the tale of a rescue worker whose territoryis a runaway wormhole, and the title story "Axiomatic,"which is about a man looking to find meaning in the senseless death ofhis wife. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is one of the books that every SF fan should own!
My title says it all. This is one of the best short story collections I have ever read.I have now gone and ordered all of Egans' books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stupendously great
Some of these stories are so brilliant that if I win the lottery I will not hesitate to find Egan and beg/bribe him to turn "The Safe-Deposit Box" and "A Kidnapping" and "Learning to be Me" and "Seeing" and "The Moat" into novels.And I'm not even done with the book.

Which brings me to my other point. This is a book that should be savored. Most of the stories contain an idea/concept that is worth savoring for a few hours before moving on to the next one.I'm trying hard to make the remaining stories last.

4-0 out of 5 stars solid hard sci-fi

Greg Egan always delivers solid, hard sci-fi. This book of short stories is worth it for "Learning to Be Me" alone, which has never failed to make each person I've ever given it to feel squeamish and creeped out. I can't say that about many stories. The other stories are not quite as good, but still, good for thought. In general, most of the stories seemed to fall into one of two themes. One of them is morality and the consequences of one's actions. The other was riffing on identity and self. The latter category, of which "Learning" is one are the more interesting, in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Australian SF Reader
Egan's first collection of great mind bending and mind melting stories. Really high quality at a 3.94 average, and a major talent of the form.

Axiomatic : The Infinite Assassin - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Hundred Light-Year Diary - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Eugene - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Caress - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Blood Sisters - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Axiomatic - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Safe-Deposit Box - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Seeing - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : A Kidnapping - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Learning to Be Me - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Moat - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Walk - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Cutie - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Into Darkness - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Appropriate Love - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : The Moral Virologist - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Closer - Greg Egan
Axiomatic : Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies - Greg Egan

Multiversal murder tango, at a Cantor.

4.5 out of 5

Foreknowledge failure.

3.5 out of 5

Micromanaged kid just a tad nihilistic.

4 out of 5

An enhanced policeman gets entangled in a billionaire's bizarre Dr Moreau creations as art and save the child schemes.

4 out of 5

Placebo death override.

4 out of 5

A man who lost his wife in an armed robbery shooting, and is a complete believer in the sanctity of life wants to get a brain implant so he can do something about his wife's killer, now released from jail.

4.5 out of 5

Jumper, no wild card or evil lawyers, but crppy base situation.

4 out of 5

Bullet in body, bullet out of body, seat of consciousness partially likewise.

3.5 out of 5

Copy deception reality frozen.

4.5 out of 5

A man learns to come to terms with the Jewel or Ndoli device - which is also mentioned in Border Guards, and has a bit of a different reaction with a glitch to others.

3 out of 5

Immigrantproofing the wealthy.

4.5 out of 5

Assassin death rligion victim choice.

4 out of 5

Paternal pang kit cure destruction.

4 out of 5

Hyperspace saviour run record.

4.5 out of 5

Brain baby.

4 out of 5

A crazed and expert biologist creates a virus that will ensure non-monogamous sx will kill you. He fails to account for pregnancy correctly.

3.5 out of 5

Another 'jewel' story, this time, two people meet at work, and one of them has a fetish that he wants to know what it is like to be someone else, so they do some body swapping, and use identical clones as well, to experiment.

3.5 out of 5

Strange society not attractive.

3.5 out of 5

5-0 out of 5 stars How about an alien Mind-fck? The future is here!
Surely, in the future we will need brain implant technology
to provide instant language skills for
business people and tourists etc. And surely the
next generation of implants - Egan calls them
axiomatics - will all be sexual in nature.
Rewiring the brain to crave something new.
And to top it all - when implant technoloy
is firmly in the hands of entertainment
conglomerates - "the Alien Mind-fck":
"a mental state so bizarre that even as
you experience it, you won't know what it is like!".

There is a certain logic to Egans universe.

Take Death - Death has always been rather unwelcomed
in human society.
So surely we will want some kind
of high resolution imaging technique that gives a detailed
map of the body, down to the cellular level
- a map which includes, among other things, a
description of every neuron in the bran, every synaptic
That way we purchase a kind of immortality. Whatever happens
to the original, the copy can always be resurrected in virtual reality.
We would have a double which would share all
our memories, all our beliefs, all our
goals and all desires. Someone to live in that castle
- in RAM - we always dreamed of.

And surely our friends and families can be transferred
to virtual reality. After all - all what we can have of each other is an imitation, an idea in our heads.

But what about our bodies and its slow, but unstopping decay?
What to do if we really want to go on for ever? If we want something out here in "reality", for ever.

Obviously there is an Egan fix:
"My organic brain was removed and discarded
and control of my body was handed over to my
"jewel" - a computer that has learned to
imitate my brain down to the levels of neurons.
My old biological brain was a kind of bootstrap device,
nothing more, and to mourn its loss would be as
absurd as mourning my emergence from some
primitive stage ofembryological development.
Switching to the dual was something everybody did

The brain is removed, discarded and replaced
with a spongy tissue-cultured object. Replaced
by an immortal jewel=dual.
A little upsetting for children when
parents are switched:
"My parents were machines. My parents were gods,
that will live for a billion years."

and anti- progress people will perhaps think it is
better to die at 90, than kill yourself at
30 and have some machine marching around, taking
your place, pretending to be you.
But thats the nature of anti progress people.

We will eagerly await our wife returning
from the operation:
"There was nothing to fear after all.
I'm exactly the person I've always been.
Your loving robot wife

What is there to fear:
"Yesterday, they scraped my scull clean,
and inserted my new, non sentient, spacefilling
mock brain."

And if it gets all to much we can all, ALL,
have new biological children:

"A patch of skin and muscle was
locally anaesthesised, and then
a quicky plunging needle delivered
the prepackaged biological complex
for the abdominal cavity. And he was

Perhaps we will need to catch the latest play
to make sense of it all:
"We went to the theater for a performance
of "Waiting for Godot" by augmented


Wonderful stuff !!!

... Read more

11. Teranesia: A Novel
by Greg Egan
Hardcover: 295 Pages (1999-11)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006105092X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Welcome to Teranesia,
the island of butterflies,
where evolution has
stopped making sense.

Prabir Suresh lives in paradise, a nine-year-old boy with an island all his own to name, to explore, and to populate with imaginary monsters stranger than any tropical wildlife. Teranesia is his kingdom, shared only with his biologist parents and baby sister Madhusree. The unexplained genetic mutation of the island's butterflies that brought his family to the remote South Moluccas barely touches Prabir; his own life revolves around the beaches, the jungle, and the schooling and friendships made possible by the net.

When civil war breaks out across Indonesia, this paradise comes to a violent end and his family is broken apart, leaving Prabir with nagging feelings of guilt and an overwhelming, almost irrational, sense of responsibility for his sister. The mystery of the butterflies remains unsolved, but nearly twenty years later reports begin to appear of strange new species of plants and animals appearing throughout the region--species separated from their known cousins by recent, dramatic mutations that seem far too efficient and functional to have arisen by chance from pollution, disease, or any other random catastrophe.

Madhusree is now a biology student; proud of her parents' unacknowledged work, and with no memories of the trauma of the war to discourage her, she decides to join a multinational expedition being mounted to investigate the new phenomenon. Unable to cast off his fears for her safety, Prabir reluctantly follows her. But travel between the scattered islands is difficult, and Madhusree's expedition is out of contact. In the hope of finding her, Prabir joins up with an independent scientist, Martha Grant, who has come to search for clues to the evolutionary mystery and whatever commercial benefits it might bring to her sponsor. As Prabir and Martha begin to untangle the secret of Teranesia, Prabir is forced to confront his past, and to face the painful realities that have shaped his life while also dealing with the implications of an unprecedented biological revolution.

A scientific mystery, an adventure story, and a meditation on the origins of love, Teranesia is Greg Egan's most ambitious and accessible novel yet. Amazon.com Review
Nine-year-old Prabir Suresh lives alone with his baby sister, Madhusree, and his biologist parents on a tropical Indonesian isle. Teranesia is so small and remote, it's not on the maps, and its strange native species of butterfly remained undiscovered until the 21st century. Prabir never wants to leave, but war forces him to flee with Madhusree. He believes he has saved his sister--until she returns to Indonesia, a grad student seeking to carry on their parents' forgotten work, pursuing reports of strange new plant and animal species. Prabir follows, to discover birds and orchids even stranger than the butterflies: mutants that are evidence of frightfully sped-up evolutionary changes with no discernable cause.

Greg Egan has received the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He was widely considered the best SF author of the '90s, and one publication (Science Fiction Weekly) has named him "perhaps the most important SF writer in the world"--high praise, but not unjustified. For evidence, check out not only Teranesia, but works like Diaspora, Distress, and Quarantine. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fiction science - a somewhat different Egan book
Greg Egan is best known for writing mind expanding books with a strong physics basis. This time the emphasis is on the fiction rather than the science.

It works for me.

Egan is stretching on this one, but I think it works. I liked his portrayal of a 9 yo's mind. True, Prabir is a very bright 9 yo, but he's not the typical adult-child of most science fiction. He's a child with somewhat magical thinking, and a tragic ignorance of the rules of the world.

I liked how Egan plays with gender throughout the novel. Both Prabir and his father are honorable, compassionate and likeable people, but the steely jawed rambos in this book are the women in their lives.

There's a point in the novel when Prabir seems to act out of our character, to have abruptly changed his preferences. Egan plays it casually and we seem to move on. Pay attention and see if you can figure out what it means before Egan tells you. Hint: it's not a good thing.

Although it's a novel of biology there's some quirky physics in here as well. Egan is reaching, but it does qualify as mind expanding. So we even get some of that.

As to the philosophy, I think he overdoes his attack on post-modernism. On the other hand, I sympathize with his hostility towards "evolution". Gaia cares not for us.


3-0 out of 5 stars Australian SF Reader
Mutants amok. Or there will be, by the end of this. A couple of kids grow up on their own idyllic not yet Island of Dr Moreau.

Their parents are top-line biological researchers looking intro strange goings on in the local butterfly population.

It appears evolution is going nuts, and mutations happen almost in reverse.

As far as people go, this can be bad things, man. I definitely didn't like this one as much as most of his other work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Egan's best
I'm a big fan of Greg Egan, so I was looking forward to reading Teranesia.The novel relies less heavily on technobabble than Egan's other work, so the author is forced to explore his characters more deeply than he has in the past.For the most part, Egan pulls this off, though some of Prabir's actions towards the end of the novel stretch the reader's credibility.The author's handling of Prabir's sexuality is also the most well-done I've ever seen in a sci-fi novel.The novel tends to suffer in its conclusion, however, which seems rushed and ultimately unsatisfying.Egan may have resolved Prabir's problems, for the most part, but exactly what is going on with the island is never really explained.If the author was going for a sense of mystery, he didn't really pull it off.I can almost recommend the whole book, though, on the strength of its hilarious satire of postmodernism.It would be even more amusing if so many of the ideas he satirizes didn't sound like they were lifted from papers delivered at last year's Modern Language Association convention.

3-0 out of 5 stars Amok evolution
Poor Prahir grows up with fosterparents Keith and Amita.
People who do dodgy Science - Keith
with a Ph.D. in X-Files studies and Amita
with a Masters in Diana studies -
surely making a mockery of science and
degrees in science.
And Egan makes it pretty clear what we are to
think about Keith and Amita - before
we leave for the Amok Evolution on the
indonesian island of Teranesia.

But somehow Egan doesn't manage to make the
Teranesia amok evolution
anymore plausible than Keith and
Amitas X files studies. I miss the
outrageous idea, that you find in so many of
his other books, that makes you go
"yeah, thats it. Thats right. Thats how it is going to be".
Here it is just plausible, but nothing more.
You doubt the amok evolution plot a little as we go along,
but are interested in the characters.
Perhaps evolution in itself without the Egan
augmentation is simply more than weird enough?

But still the book is an exciting read and would
make an excellent movie.


3-0 out of 5 stars Notwhat I expected
I have read a few books by Greg Egan, such as Distress. I expect some serious science and good character development.

This book did not impress me at all. The story was somewhat interesting, but the conclusion was unsatisfying.

The main theme seemed to be built on a guilt complex. I found the rationale for the character quite illogical, and I did not like it much. ... Read more

12. Dark Integers And Other Stories
by Greg Egan
Paperback: 232 Pages (2009-05-05)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596062193
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Greg Egan's first new collection in a decade contains five stories, set in three worlds. In "Luminous," two mathematicians searching for a flaw in the structure of arithmetic find themselves pitted against a ruthless arms manufacturer. In "Dark Integers," their discovery has become even more dangerous, as they struggle to prevent a war between two worlds capable of mutual annihilation. "Riding the Crocodile" chronicles a couple's epic endeavor a million years from now to bridge the divide between the meta-civilization known as the Amalgam and the reclusive Aloof. "Glory," set in the same future, tells of two archaeologists striving to decipher the artifacts of an ancient civilization. In the Hugo-winning "Oceanic," a boy is inducted into a religion that becomes the center of his life, but as an adult he must face evidence that casts a new light on his faith. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Too short!
Interesting but too short. I wished the main short stories - Illumination and Dark Integers - were built-up more.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Science, Great Fiction
This is Greg Egan's first book since 2002, and his first short story collection for a decade.It was worth waiting for.There are five longish stories in this collection, including the previously published Luminous and its sequel Dark Integers, two stories set in the far future world of the Amalgam (the setting for Egan's upcoming novel Incandescence) and the award-winning Oceanic.

Although there are a good many Egan stories that have yet to be collected, it was worth reprising Luminous in this collection because the title story has more impact when you have Luminous fresh in your mind.Together they make an exciting double.Not many writers could take two stories about the most abstract of mathematical concepts and turn them into such thrilling reading, but Egan has done it really successfully here.

The standout story in the collection is Oceanic.Although the science vs religion debate is far from a new theme, it remains fertile ground for thought-provoking SF.Oceanic deals with the nature of faith and does it in a poignant way.Although science eventually proves to be the more compelling belief system for the young protagonist, it's done without malice and without smugness.It's a wonderful story.

For me, the Amalgam stories were less engaging, though still fascinating enough to have me looking forward to the new novel.

Egan's reputation for intelligent, ultra-hard SF with a philosophical edge will be enhanced by this new collection.For lovers of literary SF that stretches the imagination, it's a must.And you don't have to be physicist or a mathematician to appreciate them.If, like me, you're unschooled in these disciplines, Egan will help you to get your head around some pretty mind-bending concepts without dumbing them down or blinding you with science.That's quite a feat.And Egan is quite a writer!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Speculative Stories
I am a Greg Egan fan from way back. It is absolutely ludicrous that this Hugo and Campbell award-winning author, who has written some of the most engaging and challenging science fiction novels and stories to be found anywhere, is almost nowhere to be found on the shelves of the chain bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Noble, while the shelves are dripping with soft-porn vampire novels and Heinlein ripoffs. Their buyers should be shot.

Anyway, the stories collected in this volume are "Luminous", "Riding the Crocodile", "Dark Integers", "Glory", and "Oceanic." This is a relatively small number of stories -- it's certainly not an omnibus of Egan's work, or even a "best-of," although these are longish stories. If you want to dig deeper into Egan's stories, I recommend the collections "Axiomatic" (older) and "Luminous" (newer). If you buy those in addition to this book, you'll wind up with two copies of "Luminous," the story, but they don't overlap other than that. It is shameful that so much of his work is out of print, but you ought to be able to find these two collections used.

"Luminous" and "Dark Integers" are set in the same world-line, in which it is discovered that some of the fundamental mathematical properties of the universe can be altered by doing computer-driven proofs using one chain of reasoning versus another -- in other words, the actual set of provable mathematics is malleable depending on your starting point, and not just necessarily incomplete, as Godel showed. This is a fascinating conceit, a bit like the idea that manufacturing a new molecule, or a new isomer, may be hard to do the first time, but once it is manufactured, it can easily be replicated elsewhere in the world because somehow the rules of reality have shifted. Whether either of these conceits is factually plausible above the quantum scale is hard to say, but it is thought-provoking, and that's what Egan's fiction does best. They even become grim and thrilling, like the best spy stories! Egan is great at turning a very abstract premise into a gripping human-centered story. I read both of these originally in Asimov's, but it is nice to have them in one place.

"Riding the Crocodile" and "Glory" are set in the world of his next novel, Incandescence. I wound up making myself late for work this morning because I got engaged in "Riding the Crocodile." The setup for that story that in world that has achieved pretty much the penultimate level of technology, a couple that has experienced ten thousand subjective years together is flirting with suicide because they can find no more to look forward to, until they settle on the idea of trying to make contact with the Aloof -- a civilization that seems to inhabit the galactic core. But the Aloof won't communicate with anyone, hence the name; all probes sent in are carefully bounced out unharmed. In fact, it isn't really clear if there are still sentient beings remaining in there, or just their automated defenses.

When Egan creates a world, he doesn't mess around -- he does his homework! (See his web site for some insight into what I mean). In this he is a bit like some of the best hard science fiction writers from yesteryear, like Robert L. Forward and Hal Clement, although Egan is much more "balls-to-the-wall!" "Riding the Crocodile" involves relativistic velocities, encryption, and data networking, but it is primarily a human story about the two characters trying to decide how to engage with a world that is driving them mad with ennui.

"Glory" is again a story about two people facing the universe, but this time the set-up involves one of the mostbizarre but scientifically feasible spacecraft imaginable, and a head-on approach to a first contact scenario that results in another set of ethical dilemmas. "Glory" is up for another Hugo award and seems likely to win it.

"Oceanic" is his previous Hugo award-winning story about an alternative sexuality on an alien world. It is also excellent, although a little disturbing and not for children. Oh, and not for close-minded fundamentalist religious persons of any type. I also read this story in Asimov's, although again it is nice to have a more permanent book.

I'm removing half a point because, on the subject of permanence, I'm not terribly impressed with this hardcover. After receiving some recent Charles Stross hardcovers put out by Golden Gryphon press and Philip K. Dick's volume from Library of America, I am spoiled -- these two presses show that it is possible to manufacture small, durable hardcover books with _sewn_ bindings. Dark Integers is glued, like most so-called hardcover books produced these days. It feels sturdy enough, but I'm sick of this trend towards cheap binding.

The other half a point is because of the slipcover design. It is an embarrassment. It looks like it is trying to be evocative, even erotic, with arms and legs and what appear to be Curta calculators (look them up!) over some kind of logo, but why do the limbs appear to be amputated, and what's with the blue floating brain? (Note: there are no giant blue floating brains or amputated limbs to speak of in these stories). I was embarrassed to have my co-workers see this book cover. Even an abstract fractal or a cliched rocket ship or alien landscape with three moons would be far more attractive than this depressing Photoshop train wreck. Note to publisher: people who read science fiction may, believe it or not, still have taste. Egan deserves better! Don't judge this book by its cover! ... Read more

13. La Cité des permutants
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 435 Pages (1999-12-01)
-- used & new: US$29.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2253072249
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14. Blood Sisters (Great Science Fiction Stories)
by Greg Egan
Audio CD: Pages (2004-07-25)
list price: US$10.99 -- used & new: US$10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1884612334
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Why waste years designing viruses for biological warfare when blind mutation and natural selection was all that was required? The theory was, they'd set up a few trillion copies of their system. The theory also included 520 people all sticking scrupulously to official procedure, day after day, month after month, without a moment of carelessness, laziness or forgetfulness. Apparently, nobody bothered to compute the probability of that or of finding wonder drugs. ... Read more

15. Diaspora.
by Greg Egan
Paperback: Pages (2000-02-01)

Isbn: 3453161815
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Australian SF Reader
A castastrophic astronomical event means living on Earth is a no go. As in a black hole zapped my planet.

Thus created is the Diaspora, and humanity separates into people that live in different modes. In virtualities, as robots, or points on between.

The main thrust here is these extreme posthumans trying to work out what is still important. For example, do we make children - how do we make them, what do we make them? Things like that.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great meditation on mortality and immortality
I haven't read science fiction in years, and this happened to be one of the first new books I picked up. When I was younger, I read science fiction for its escapist qualities, but a lot has changed since then. Diaspora is as much an introspective journey as it is an entertaining romp through new worlds.

That said, there's no getting around the fact that this is a difficult book to get into. On the very first page, the author invents a new set of pronouns: "vis" and "vers," as analogs for a virtual "his" or "hers." Since an early usage of the word "Vis" is capitalized, I first thought it was a posessive name: "Vi's" or "Violet's" with the apostrophe missing. Science fiction authors often invent new nouns or adjectives, but new pronouns were a bit much for the first page. Once I began to follow what was occurring, however, Diaspora made for a wonderful journey.

Other than escapism, science fiction can be viewed simply as another backdrop for the only drama that counts, the human experience. Any argument can be done as a "reductio ad absurdum," an idea taken to an extreme and perhaps illogical conclusion. It is for this reason that science fiction is often used as vehicle for delving into the human psyche. Through an exploration of simulated reality and transhuman experience Greg Egan does just that. Because the human mind can ponder neither oblivion nor infinity, both are nearly absurd from our perspective, resulting in a paradox: oblivion itself is a sort of infinity. In an examination of that question, Egan takes the reader on a journey into the bounds of existence, and embraces its logical conclusion. Diaspora serves as an ontological lesson in the guise of fiction.

While the journey and its conclusion are both wonderful, and it is a pity that the novel appears to be out of print, I can't say it is a surprise. Diaspora is hard science fiction, with an emphasis on science. Without a mathematical background and knowledge of multi-dimensional topology, I would imagine that the book would make for a tough read. If you're comfortable reading a book that uses concepts like the tesseract in a pursuit of what Greek philosophers called "logos," though, Diaspora makes for a mindbending adventure.

3-0 out of 5 stars What do ve think ve are doing?
This is a far-flung futuristic blast that fails to deliver.I consider myself a scifi fantatic and have experienced a taste of it all - punk, hard, visionary, fantasy, time travel, end of world.But in this one I could never really identify with the characters.Perhaps it was their almost alien existence, so radically different from ours, that made the connection difficult.

First of all, one had to wade through the new creatures - both biological and artificial.There is the writing- cautious, certainly not lyrical or poetic.Then there is the language, meant to be representative bof a future Earth but coming offhokey.Finally the plethora of new terms and abbreviations boggle the mind and are hurled at the reader so fast that simply absorbing and remembering them was a task unto itself. The (biological) beings here seem almost placid, curiously non-human in their incredible strangeness.Maybe another read would have improved my evaluation but why should reading be a burden? ... Read more

16. Crystal Nights and Other Stories
by Greg Egan
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-09-30)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$22.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596062401
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The nine stories in Greg Egan's new collection range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants.

In "Lost Continent", a time traveler seeking refuge from a war-torn land faces hostility and bureaucratic incompetence. "Crystal Nights" portrays a driven man s moral compromises as he chases an elusive technological breakthrough, while in "Steve Fever" the technology itself falls victim to its own hype.

"TAP" brings us a new kind of poetry, where a word is more powerful than a thousand images. "Singleton" shows us a new kind of child, born of human DNA modeled in a quantum computer who, in "Oracle", journeys to a parallel world to repay a debt to an intellectual ancestor.

"Induction" chronicles the methods and motives behind humanity s first steps to the stars. "Border Guards" reflects on the painful history of a tranquil utopia. And in the final story, "Hot Rock", two immortal citizens of the galaxy-spanning Amalgam find that an obscure, sunless world conceals mind-spinning technological marvels, bitter factional struggles, and a many-layered secret history.

Greg Egan is the author of seven novels and over fifty short stories. He is a winner of the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hard Science and Deep Philosophy
One of the problems with brilliant writers is that some of their short stories can find themselves duplicated in different collections of theirs. This book in an excellent example of such an occurence. The contents of both collections 'Crystal Nights' and 'Dark Integers' can be found in the larger 'Oceanic' collection, available from amazon.co.uk, except for two stories: 'Luminous' already present in Egan's previous anthology of the same title, and 'TAP' available online at the author's site. Of course, one might argue that two smaller volumes are easier to handle than a larger one, although acquiring the two may end up costing you twice as much. There can be no argument however about the sheer scientific brilliance and the profound philosophy in which Greg Egan continually excells. I thought of giving this book four stars because of this publishing duplication, but after all, there is only one Greg Egan. (Grand Master Egan, again I bow down at your lotus feet!) ... Read more

17. Teranesia
by Greg Egan
 Hardcover: 352 Pages (1999-08-19)

Isbn: 1857985745
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

18. Téranésie
by Greg Egan
Paperback: 308 Pages (2001-11-12)
-- used & new: US$49.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 222109378X
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19. L'Enigme de l'univers
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages (2001-06-20)
-- used & new: US$32.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2253072338
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20. Isolation
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback: 382 Pages (2003-06-18)
-- used & new: US$29.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2253072508
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars love it
great source of hard to find authors; -I couldn't find my son's favorite SCi FI author any of the in book stores.I've gotten new and used through amazon and they are always fast delivery and great condition ... Read more

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