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Diaspora: A Novel Paperback – January 6, 2015
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
By the year 2975, humanity has wandered down several widely divergent evolutionary paths. "Flesher" life is that which resides in a basically human body, though genetically engineered mutations have created communication problems throughout the species. In the "polises," meanwhile, disembodied but self-aware artificial intelligences procreate, interact, make art and attempt to solve life's mathematical mysteries. Then there are the "gleisners," which are conscious, flesher-shaped robots run by self-aware software that is linked directly to the physical world through hardware. Throughout, Egan (Distress) follows the progress of Yatima, an orphan spontaneously generated by the non-sentient software of the Konishi polis. Yatima gains self-awareness, meets with Earthly fleshers and, when tragedy strikes, becomes personally involved in the greatest search for species survival ever undertaken. Though the novel often reads like a series of tenuously connected graduate theses and lacks the robust drama and characterizations of good fiction, fans of hard SF that incorporates higher mathematics and provocative hypotheses about future evolution are sure to be fascinated by Egan's speculations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This story made me spend more time alone. All I wanted to do was read. What beautiful images he conjured up for this beautiful work of art (which is, in my opinion, canonical literature).
I finished the novel in tears. I can't put into words how I feel about this novel (not sure I could be a writer). Just read it.
Someday SOMETHING by Egan has to be a film. PLEASE within my lifetime. And PLEASE can I help make it.
Diaspora is written in a mostly straightforward manner, but it almost feels avant garde just because the concepts are so mind-blowing and Greg Egan goes so far with them. This is a story of scientific discovery, of pushing the boundaries all the way, of surviving the ultimate catastrophe. Yes, the characters are not the focus of the story, and yet I felt more connected to them than characters in many other books. I wouldn't trade a single sentence in this book for more "character development". Greg Egan pushes the limits of the imagination so far that I was left speechless in awe and wonder at the worlds being described... which gave me a taste of what the characters might be experiencing, and thus I connected to them strongly.
His descriptions of universes with more dimensions than ours got me closer to being able to imagine those higher dimensions than anything else I've read. The way he imagines life on other planets stimulates my imagination beyond the traditional earth-bound imaginings of other books I've read. The AI and virtual reality settings blew so far past my usual thinking that just about anything else seems tame. This is what sci-fi should be, to my tastes - pushing the limits of imagination so far it overwhelms my connection to this reality and I end up fully absorbed in the world being created by the writer.
The biggest drawback to this book, for me, is that it has forever shifted my standards for appreciating sci-fi. Fortunately Greg Egan has written several other books, and I'm already looking forward to reading Diaspora again. This book is written for a particular kind of reader, and if you think you might be such a reader, read this book immediately!!!
The AI spend decades trying to figure out if the carpets are at all sentient, until one of the AI's realizes that the carpets are actually growing and moving in patterns that is computer code... Upon further investigation the the carpets are just one slice of a sixteen-dimensional sentient species...
This is just one amazing part of this crazy book. If you're at all into futurism, physics, AI, math and or programming, you need to read this.