Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Axiomatic Paperback – December, 1997
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Having just finished reading it, I can only say I feel a bit numb and let-down. Sure, some (but nowhere near all) of the ideas are fascinating, but the storytelling leaves much to be desired. Conceptually, I suppose it's above-average science fiction fare, but in terms of the execution, pretty much everything is run-of-the-mill SF. Nearly all of the stories could be given a one-paragraph "wouldn't it be cool if..." treatment, and not be much worse off for it. The pacing is disappointing (sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow), the characters are like cardboard (which is disastrous in stories that are primarily first-person), and Egan even allows some of the ideas, however brilliant, to fizzle out ("The Moat" is the most extreme example of this).
There are three or four gems here ("Learning To Be Me" comes to mind), but for people looking for moving or cleverly-plotted stories, I would have to recommend looking elsewhere. Nonetheless, for hard SF enthusiasts, this is a decent collection, so long as you're not looking for style to go with the substance.
Edit (9/7/2013): I just realized I wrote this almost eight years ago. Here's the thing though, while at the time I was looking for another Ted Chiang (a tough order indeed!), many of the ideas in these stories, including the core idea in "The Moat", which I poo-poohed a bit above, have stuck with me ever since.Read more ›
list back in 1995, when the Commonwealth edition was published,
and missed the US release.
Better late than never -- it's a terrific collection, a must-read for
short-story and Egan fans. And I do mean *short* -- the longest story
here is 28 pages, and the average length is 16. All were first published
in 1990-92, when Egan was making his reputation. If you read the
Dozois Year's Best, you've seen "The Caress", in which a leopard-
woman chimera is created by a millionaire with way too much time
on his hands, to "realize"the eponymous, & famous, 1896 Belgian
Symbolist painting -- Egan's harried policeman-protagonist is drafted
to play the male caressor. This was his sixth(!)-published story, and it
has many of his trademarks: more good ideas than most novels, an
understated future-Australia setting, clean, transparent prose and a
Well -- I could rattle on about individual stories, but in my usual
slothful fashion I'll refer you to others who've already done so --
personally, I don't find 2-3 line summaries of short stories to be
helpful (but YMMV). What I *can* say is, you'll find all of the
virtues of Egan's novels here, and few of the faults. There's really
not a weak story in the bunch. You can sample the excellent
scientific-romance "Closer", and "The Moral Virologist", a rather
loathsome Tiptree-inspired ("Last Flight of Dr. Ahn"/ "Screwfly
Solution") piece (plus some later stories) at Egan's website. Check them out!
Peter D. Tillman
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A couple of the stories in here are basically: awesome. It's likely you've already heard of the Greg Egan phenomenon: just go ahead and buy this collection. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love Greg Egan's short fiction and this is his best collection (in my opinion).Published 4 months ago by J Franklin Horn
Loved this. Thought it was one of the finest SF collections I've read in awhile. Greg Egan takes mind-blowing SFnal premises and then mines them for the simplest and most elemental... Read morePublished 6 months ago by R Kanakia
Solid hard sci-fi stories. Good airplane reading (which is what I used it for). Some stories are slightly dated, but all are still good.Published 6 months ago by Bruno Richard Hauptmann
Probably the greatest collection of SF short stories getting around... at least that I've read. (If you know of better please tell me. I'd love to read them! Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bobby V
This collection of stories contains scifi-philosphical reflections on determinism, self, AI, measure theory (! Read morePublished 11 months ago by John