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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Incandescenceby Greg Egan
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.
Though the many races of the Amalgam are spread throughout the galaxy, one place they do not visit lies at the brilliantly hot galactic center, known as the "bulge." One race, called the Aloof, dwells there in polite but firm isolation. But when Rakesh is asked to travel to the Aloof's realm in search of a lost race, he and a few trusted companions accept the opportunity. Meanwhile, Roi, one of the members of that unknown race, turns away from her life of constant toil and joins with a group of pioneering "thinkers" to solve an intriguing mystery fundamental to their world's existence and that may portend its destruction. Hugo Award winner Egan (Permutation City; Quarantine; Diaspora) writes clearly and vividly about the cutting edge of science yet doesn't forget that characters are the windows through which the world is viewed. His latest novel, a whirlwind foray into the world of science theory coupled with the urgency of a doomsday scenario, belongs in all sf collections.
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Meet the Author
Greg Egan is the author of the acclaimed SF novels Diaspora, Quarantine, Permutation City, and Teranesia. He has won the Hugo Award as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. His short fiction has been published in a variety of places, including Interzone, Asimov’s, and Nature. Egan holds a BSC in Mathematics from the University of Western Australia, and currently lives in Perth.
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I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I got it. I'd never read any of Egan's other work. I just finished it and now am trying to decide which of his others I read next. If you like your sci-fi heavy on science then it should be right up your alley. Compares most easily maybe to Stephen Baxter. You get a believable story with well drawn characters and a science lesson on top.
This book can be hard to follow if you dont remember your high school physics. There are also rwo plot lines that never intersect which is a bit of a let down. Still quite a creative piece of work and the writing itself was good.
This book was very, very difficult for anybody other than a scientist or mathematician to read. I persisted, however, because despite all the jargon, the basic plot was quite interesting. I don't know why I bothered. The book had two separate story-lines, giving the impression that these would eventually come together. This did not happen. The two stories were not properly combined, leaving the reader with the sense that the book just ended suddenly, as though the author just ran out of words. This would be disappointing at any time, but after wading through all the maths and science to get to this point, I feel as though I wasted my time. The first set of characters came into contact with a world like that on which the second set reside, but we are left wondering if this is a similar world, the same world in the past or the same world in the future. This book just wasn't worth the effort.