From Publishers Weekly
Hugo-winner Egan (Schild's Ladder
), champion of ultra-hard SF, devotes most of this slim novel to the efforts of the Arkmakers, who live in a neutron star's accretion disk at the center of the galaxy, to develop orbital physics from first principles and save the artificial world created by their more sophisticated ancestors. Meanwhile, Rakesh, a more or less human member of a distant posthuman society, sets off on an unrelated quest to find the Arkmakers and is soon trying to save them from their current danger. Whole chapters are devoted to physics problems and include a variety of diagrams and cited sources. Egan's briefly sketched characters and cultures are interesting, but this one is all about the science and won't have much interest for those without at least some understanding of celestial mechanics. (Oct.)
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All critics who considered Incandescence
were fascinated by it. They loved Egan's descriptions of a galaxy-spanning, posthuman civilization and the intellectual acrobatics necessary to understand how bugs on a splinter of rock think about their universe. But as with many of Egan's books, one's enjoyment may not be complete unless one can keep up with the physics, of which there is no shortage. "Especially when he's showing how Roi's people derive what amounts to Einstein's theory of relativity in a very different gravitational field from Earth's, readers may feel compelled to skim," noted the critic of Io9.com. Reviewers did not exactly criticize this feature of the book but merely noted it as an essential feature of the "hard" science fiction of which Egan is one of the leading lights.Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC