Book - 2015 | First Night Shade Books edition.
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A quantum Brave New World from the boldest and most wildly speculative writer of his generation. Since the Introdus in the twenty-first century, humanity has reconfigured itself drastically. Most chose immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software. Others opted for gleisners: disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world of force and friction. Many of these have left the solar system forever in fusion-drive starships. And there are the holdouts: the fleshers left behind in the muck and jungle of Earth--some devolved into dream apes, others cavorting in the seas or the air--while the statics and bridgers try to shape out a roughly human destiny. But the complacency of the citizens is shattered when an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers and reveals the possibility that the polises themselves might be at risk from bizarre astrophysical processes that seem to violate fundamental laws of nature. The orphan Yatima, a digital being grown from a mind seed, joins a group of citizens and flesher refugees in a search for the knowledge that will guarantee their safety--a search that puts them on the trail of the ancient and elusive Transmuters, who have the power to reshape subatomic particles, and to cross into the macrocosmos, where the universe we know is nothing but a speck in the higher-dimensional vacuum.
Publisher: New York : Night Shade Books, 2015.
Edition: First Night Shade Books edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781597805421
Branch Call Number: FIC EGAN
Characteristics: 334 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

A science fiction epic that questions what it is to be human. Set in the distant future where humans have evolved into different biological and technological forms. Suggested by Isaac H.​

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Dec 15, 2016

The good: The hard science fiction concepts in this book were interesting. The idea of a distant future where some humans have digitized their memories and consciousness alone is an interesting-but-common concept in science fiction. What makes this book different is that this concept is extrapolated to an odd but believable end. Some of these digital humans live on in gigantic server stations in an artificial reality, and have even learned to reproduce human intelligence without physiology. Others live in our reality in robotic bodies, expanding into the cosmos without the risks that space poses for human biology. There are also remnants of biological humans that have that practiced cosmetic and adaptive biological engineering to such an extent that many cannot communicate with each other without intermediaries. Yet all remain 'human', and are subject to the same fears, motivations, and history driven cultures as modern humans. This was an interesting concept to read about.

The bad: As other reviewers have said, the jargon in this book is offsetting and will require research for readers without backgrounds in physics, computer science and psychology. Another problem was that it was hard to remain wrapped up in the story after the halfway mark of the book. I won't spoil it, but the relationships and history of the different humanities takes second seat to hunting the origins of a massive extinction event. This event takes the story on a philosophical path that was nice to read about, but nowhere near as interesting as the exploration of humanity the book starts off with.

ArapahoeElaine Nov 29, 2016

This is an interesting read, super-technical and jargon-filled. Get your notebook handy because it has biology, chemistry, robotics, astronomy, and physics concepts that will blow your mind, taking the description "richly detailed" to another level.

ChristchurchLib Jun 09, 2016

By 2975, Homo sapiens has evolved into three distinct subspecies: two, the disembodied polises and the robotic gleisers, are sentient AIs who exist in a purely digital state; the third, fleshers, possess human brains encased in organic bodies. Diaspora follows Yatima, a spontaneously generated, agender orphan whose consciousness evolves as ve searches for the Transmuters, an ancient and incorporeal race with profound knowledge of the universe. For more SF that explores issues of identity and the nature of existence, check out Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, which begins with Ancillary Justice.

dresdnhope Sep 08, 2012

This is definitely a difficult book. Greg Egan puts the "hard" back into the hard science fiction genre. The myriad of ideas in the book, however, is well worth the trouble.


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