Copyright 1992 by
I first read this in 1994 and most recently in July 2001.
On 15th November 2034, the stars disappeared. To the world's
uncomprehending astonishment, a mysterious and impenetrable spherical
barrier came into existence, enclosing the solar system and blocking
access to the rest of the galaxy. No-one knows how or why this happened,
or who could have done it.
Nick Stavrianos is a private investigator. He was once a policeman but
quit when his wife died. Although she's dead, she's with him still as
a mental projection from an implant in his brain, providing some comfort
against his grief.
Nick has just taken on a new missing person job. The search takes him
to New Hong Kong where he finds the victim, but unfortunately also finds
himself caught and enslaved by a secretive scientific organisation, the
"Ensemble". Slowly, he finds out the secrets of their research, and
more about the victim who was abducted,
The research the Ensemble are conducting is truly earth-shattering.
It's profoundly dangerous but may offer the power to break through the
barrier enclosing the solar system, if they don't destroy the universe
So it's up to our Nick to free himself and save the world.
Well, if you ever wanted to know about quantum physics this is the
primer. It also gives an excellent preview of what biocomputing may be
like in the future: nanotechnology providing enhanced mentation by
reserving unused brain cells for specific computational tasks. Egan,
most entertainingly, even gives the product listings and prices - place
your orders now.
This was Greg Egan's first book, and even the plot reads like a bad comic
book, it's a rather enjoyable work. Half hi-tech detective thriller,
half classic SF, it's a most entertaining and thought-provoking read.
What's it got? Biocomputing and nanotechnology, excellent and imaginative
hi-tech gizmos, bundles of stuff on quantum mechanics and some thoughts
Loaded on the 15th July 2001.