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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews


Copyright 1992 by Greg Egan

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Good (3/5)

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 first.

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 about free-will.

Loaded on the 15th July 2001.
Cover of Quarantine
Cover art by Peter Gudynas

Reviews of other works by Greg Egan:
Schild's Ladder