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Zendegi

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  864 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
In 2012, journalist Martin Seymour travels to Iran to cover the parliamentary elections. With most would-be candidates disqualified this turns out to be the expected non-event, but shortly afterward a compromising image of a government official captured on a mobile phone triggers a political avalanche...
ebook, 300 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Night Shade Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David
This was a pretty good science fiction novel about virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and political reforms, made more interesting by being set in a modernized near-future Iran. It's also a fairly hopeful novel, rather than the more dark and gritty scenarios typical of its cyberpunk forebears. The main characters are an Australian journalist who is in Iran to witness the collapse of the old regime and the shaky birth of democracy there, and an Iranian expat neurobiologist who moves back t ...more
Sandi
Sep 01, 2011 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, e-books, 2011
I’m a sucker for a free science fiction novel, especially when it’s an author I’ve heard of and the book is published by a cutting-edge publisher like Nightshade Books. Zendegi was offered free, but would have been worth paying for. If we had half stars, this would get a 3.5 rating. The first half alters between the story of an Australian reporter caught up in an Iranian revolution in 2012 and an Iranian researcher in America who is working on a project to map the human brain. It takes well over ...more
Jason
Apr 01, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci fi fans, Transhuman Space fans
Recommended to Jason by: Wikipedia
Wikipedia mentioned “Zendegi” on the main English page for some reason. I remember seeing it at work, and I read a few sentences before I decided it was a story I wanted to read (partially because I needed something new). I was pleased when I found it in the Kindle store for 0.99 cents. I started on it after I finished “Neuromancer”.

SUMMARY
I really don’t want to give away too much of this story…

The book follows two characters that come into contact about halfway through…

Martin Seymour is an athe
...more
Alan
Nov 20, 2010 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ian McDonald fans and cultural imperialists
Recommended to Alan by: A back-page blurb
Greg Egan's foray into near-future science fiction feels like a departure of sorts; his gaze has been focused on much farther horizons of late. But I think this change of pace has turned out to be a really good thing; Zendegi is a taut, plausible future history which, even if it does turn out to be overtaken by events, still partakes of the best of hard sf—rigorous extrapolation from what is known into the dizzying ramifications of what-if.

Martin Seymour is a journalist who goes to Iran just bef
...more
Oscar
Quizás ’Zendegi’ sea el libro más asequible dentro de la bibliografía de Greg Egan, el famoso autor de ciencia ficción hard. Y digo asequible, que no simple, ya que aunque el peso de terminología científica es mucho menor en esta obra, las ideas que maneja son de gran calado. Egan deja esta vez las grandes ideas especulativas para centrarse en una historia más de ámbito social y ético, donde priman las experiencias y relaciones de los protagonistas. Parece que esta vez la ciencia ficción es una ...more
Mitchell
Wow. A lot in this one. Too much. And too complicated. First of all lots of near future guess of politics in Iran. But it doesn't quite depend on it coming out a particular way. It does make some guesses as to Human Uplift and AI and online virtual games. But when it gets to the virtual game part of the story it slows down to far. And Martin and his son don't exactly ring true. Still, looking forward to trying another by the author. 3.5 of 5.
Froggy
Apr 17, 2013 Froggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Greg Egan's books usually contain High science fiction, the sort of things that really makes the readers imagination sparkle with the wonder of the ideas they hold. His inclusion of "Wang's carpets" in his book Diaspora, for instance showing how 2 dimensional patterns ever moving on a football field sized map could be extrapolated into complex 3 dimensional beings living in a quite separate reality to the one we observe.

So upon starting to read Zenegi, I had high hopes about advanced intellige
...more
Raja99
Nov 04, 2010 Raja99 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-baen
Why I Read This Book: I'm a big fan of Greg Egan, and had been on my local library's waiting list for the hardcover for about a month before it arrived. Then I saw that it'd been added to the Kindle store—and, more to my tastes, Baen's ebook store (where it's cheaper, can be downloaded in several formats, and has no DRM).

I'd rate this 9/10. Egan's previous novel, Incandescence , is set in the far future and is somewhat inaccessible as a result. Zendegi has two parts; the former is set in the ve
...more
Ben Payne
Aug 20, 2014 Ben Payne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a near-future SF novel, set in Iran, dealing with the potential precursors for intelligent AI. It's possibly the most human book I've read of Egan', and certainly one of the most accessible. The science is definitely more background, here, compared to some of his far-future books, and the novel focuses more strongly on character. I've often thought criticism of Egan's characterisation was unfounded; to me he writes very believable, intelligent, three-dimensional characters, and that's ve ...more
Daniorte
Sep 30, 2015 Daniorte rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Simplemente no parece que sea Greg Egan. Es con diferencia lo más flojito que me he leido de el (Sin contar la diarrea mental de Diáspora). Una primera parte donde relata un conflicto iraní desde elk punto de vista de un periodista posicionado que se hace realmente pesada. Una segunda trama narra como se desarrolla un sistema de realidad virtual que debe ser el precursor de lo que vemos en muchos cuentos de Greg Egan y en su obra de Ciudad Permutación. Se ve el desarrollo de este sistema de real ...more
Derek
May 18, 2011 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, computers
When Greg Egan is good, he's great, and this one is a keeper.

Intertwining a perfectly believable near-term future of Iran with highly realistic experimentation into artificial intelligence, it covers human (and AI) rights, life extension, ancient Farsi stories, virtual realities and what it means to be a family; blending it all seamlessly into a touching narrative.

As a computer geek, I'm always eager to read stories about artificial intelligence, and naturally have a pretty high threshold of bel
...more
Ron
May 31, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5* Well-written, thoughtful, and sad story of Middle Eastern politics and the implications of modeling human minds (or characteristics of human minds) using virtual reality software (the title, "zendegi," means "life" in Farsi and also partly refers to the "Zendegi-ye Behtar" ("Better Life") VR system which many of the book's characters either help design or participate in. Well-drawn characters; my only real complaint about the book was that the ending felt somewhat abrupt.
Robin Edman
Oct 26, 2012 Robin Edman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I checked the other reviews, and most people like this book. I freakin' hate it! It's all about Iranian politics, which are boring, boring, boring! And a lot of morally superior crap, which I hate even more than Iranian politics. It's also not so very science fiction-y; my husband ( who is a patent lawyer) tells me more interesting things than this book imagines. I'm two thirds in and giving up on it.
Scott Beck
Apr 30, 2012 Scott Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really confused by this book being near future small scale sci-fi. I was sure it wasn't an Egan book at all but misspelled.

Still a good story but I prefer his larger scale stuff.
Ami Iida
Jan 08, 2016 Ami Iida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Greg Egan's novel is usually intriguing.
Ryan Lackey
Dec 17, 2016 Ryan Lackey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting Greg Egan book which makes an *excellent* audiobook. It's set in a post-Iranian reformation Iran, in a world with interesting VR and AI. As an audiobook, it's even better, since it's read by a Persian woman; it's cute how she gets all the Farsi words right and then has trouble with some of the more obscure English words.

Amusingly, it was written in 2009; I was going to fault it for being too "of the minute" if it had been written today. 6 years ago, it was fairly prescient.

U
...more
Scott
Jan 06, 2017 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read with a thought provoking topic. The evolution of the technology allowing NPCs to seem more human is believable and the characters we follow are themselves interesting, flawed and sympathetic. I would very much like to see where Egan thinks this world would go next.
Meor
Jan 30, 2017 Meor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a god novel but found the ending "quick" and disappointed. Not my favorite Egan, even if I liked the characters and their stories !
Outis
Feb 17, 2014 Outis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realistic near-future SF, more mainstream and accessible than what Egan usually writes.
This is a rare sort of book in that it dares to be serious in adressing real issues with technological developements and contemporary culture without deliberately making a joke or a literary game out of the whole thing (or being unwittingly laughable).
Oh, there is some of the usual Egan sarcasm at the expense people who've more than earned it. But for the most part, the characters are believeable.
Because of it
...more
Simon Mcleish
Mar 16, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in March 2011.

Science fiction is associated with prediction of the future in the minds of many. Few writers in the genre would feel that this is the main point of what they produce, but sometimes their work can be eerily prophetic. Zendegi is a near future SF novel (written in 2010, with the first part set in 2012), so it is perhaps less surprising that it is reasonably accurate; but actually its portrayal of a popular uprising in Iran has a huge number of si
...more
Tomislav
Nov 25, 2014 Tomislav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Australian SF writer Greg Egan is known especially as a hardsf writer, where the science/technology is meant to be realistically speculative. I have found much of his work to be more true to the concepts than to the characters, and of course that limits his appeal beyond a select subset of SF readers. However, this is a singular novel in his bibliography, in which the plot is driven by the characters, even while the science/technology maintains it in the hardsf category. Sort of the best of both ...more
Alexandra
May 28, 2011 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013

My e-copy of this book categorises it as "Fantasy; short stories." It is neither. Rather, it is a near-future novel about politics, virtual reality, religion, family relationships, and death.

No, it is not a Patrick Rothfuss or George RR Martin-style tome. It is elegant.

Two strands: Nasim is an Iranian woman living in America, working on the mapping of individual finch brains to try and create a generic brain map. Martin is an Australian journalist working in Iran, who gets to cover escalating po
...more
Meek
Feb 11, 2013 Meek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Los avances tecnologicos han pasado a definirnos. Hoy en dia vivimos dos vidas: tenemos una presencia en el mundo real pero se vuelve cada vez mas importante esa personalidad que construimos en el mundo virtual, desde un foro de discusion hasta subir fotos para que todos vean lo felices que somos. Pero no deja de haber una brecha enorme entre los seres de carne y hueso que en verdad somos y el mundo que edificamos en el cyberespacio.

Greg Egan nos ha llevado casi siempre con sus novelas tan adela
...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
I wasn’t looking to read this book. I was searching for something else and this popped up and it seemed like it could be a good break from the other ultra-serious stuff I have been reading for a year. A sci-fi book set in Iran!

The story is split into two parts. The first part is the revolution that topples the Iranian government which is like jerk-off porn for westerners. The young, freedom loving, peaceful Iranians causing the change of government who are full of tyrannical, old mullas. The aut
...more
Nicolas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Unwisely
The other list of books I'm pulling from is "books that caught my eye at Powell's last summer". This is one of those. But my list just has titles; when they come in at the library I have no idea what they're about.

The first half of the book made me check whether the book was really science fiction, as it was pretty much about a (fictional) protest that leads to the overthrow of the Iranian government. Which was interesting enough but not exactly space marines. There was a long part about music t
...more
Marvin
Hm, now this was not a bad book.
But reading Egan, I hope for harder science fiction. Here he moved further down the path taken with Teranesia: the science only provides a background on which social and political events unfold.

The first part of the book is mostly set in now contemporary Iran and briefly around the MIT. To me it felt like a rather lengthy introduction to the history and background of the protagonists.

The technological innovations envisioned in the second part of the book set in 20
...more
Peter
Zendegi starts during but is set mostly after a democratic revolution in Iran. Fifteen years after the fall of the theocracy, a scientist and an ill father living in Iran explore the possibilities of advancements in artificial intelligence, through the popular multiplayer game Zendegi.

This is probably my favorite Greg Egan novel to date. The setting of a near-future Iran is interesting, the characters real and relatable, and the science believable without being too overwhelming (unlike some of h
...more
Ruth Browne
Mar 07, 2015 Ruth Browne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been some time since I picked up a sci-fi novel heavy on the science and thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Perhaps that's partially because this novel couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to be: philosophical treatise, geeky odyssey or political drama. Of course it was all three, and more, but the sharp divisions in content and the jump-cuts through time could be disorientating. In a sense, Egan has no shame: he'll happily sit three scientists round a cafeteria table and have them discuss ...more
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Greg Egan specialises in hard science fiction stories with mathematical and quantum ontology themes, including the nature of consciousness. Other themes include genetics, simulated reality, posthumanism, mind transfer, sexuality, artificial intelligence, and the superiority of rational naturalism over religion.

He is a Hugo Award winner (and has been shortlisted for the Hugos three other times), an
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“If Zendegi was a frivolous indulgence, well, it was there alongside every other beautiful, forbidden thing that her contemporaries have risked their lives to regain” 1 likes
“As he walked past shops and teahouses he could still” 1 likes
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