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Diaspora

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,787 ratings  ·  189 reviews
By the end of the 30th century humanity has the capability to travel the universe, to journey beyond earth and beyond the confines of the vulnerable human frame.

The descendants of centuries of scientific, cultural and physical development divide into three: fleshers — true Homo sapiens; Gleisner robots — embodying human minds within machines that interact with the physical
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Published January 1st 1997 by Orion Books Ltd
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aaron Arnold
Ever since I read Permutation City, Egan has been one of my favorite hard sci-fi authors, and when I cracked open this book and saw that the first forty pages were a hardcore blow-by-blow of an AI becoming self- aware that would do Marvin Minsky proud, I knew that I would love it too. Brief plot synopsis: in the near future where humanity has trifurcated into AIs, sentient robots, and flesh-bound transhumans, an unexplained binary neutron star collision and subsequent gamma ray burst forces the ...more
Ben Babcock
I want to give this book five stars. I want to give this book one star. It’s amazing. It’s terrible.

Keeping Earth habitable is a pressing concern today. Even if we manage to avoid eco-catastrophe (and I’m optimistic on this), that’s only a small hurdle in the grand scheme of the cosmos. We only have about a billion years left before the Sun swells so much that it cooks the atmosphere. A few billion years after that, the Sun will engulf Earth itself—bye, bye, homeworld. Even if we manage to emigr
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David
I love the super-technical approach in this book. There is a rich combination of hard-core chemistry, biology, particle physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics; and that is on top of technologies like super-computing, artificial intelligence and bio-engineering. The first section on the pre-birth development of Yatima is mind-blowing; bio-engineering, psycho-engineering, just a wealth of concepts that left me breathless.

There are three types of "people" in the story. There are regular human b
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Oscar
Nov 28, 2013 Oscar rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans de la ciencia ficción hard
Hablar de Greg Egan, es hablar de la ciencia ficción más hard que se pueda encontrar en nuestros días. Cuando Egan pone su imaginación en marcha es difícil de igualar. ‘Diáspora’ es una de las novelas más duras a las que me he enfrentado, no tanto por el argumento, sino por el lenguaje científico que maneja, que abarca matemáticas, física, biología, metafísica, cosmología, astrofísica o química. Egan no dibuja en profundidad a sus personajes, son meras piezas en su desfile de teorías, a cual más ...more
Courtney
If you come to hard sci-fi in search of ideas about how humanity might change as we integrate with our machines, or how the universe (or universes) might fit together well beyond the observable world we know, you might well love this book. It's got some interesting ideas. Unfortunately, it's so bogged down by over-the-top "science-ish" writing, weak character development and two oddly stitched together plots that I kept cursing in annoyance as I read, rather than delighting at the novelty of aut ...more
Jesús Redondo Menéndez


Comienzo del libro:
El comienzo del libro es duro, definitivamente es duro y puede disuadir a más de uno a seguir leyendo (aunque no a mí).
La originalidad de la propuesta del autor (no se parece a nada de lo que yo haya leído hasta ahora, que no es poco) es uno de los alicientes que me impulsó a seguir, ya que el lector comparte la confusión inicial del protagonista cuando viene al mundo, un mundo con una Humanidad muy distinta (y diversa) a la que se plantea en la SciFi generalmente.
En este prin
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Peter
Something else entirely: In his previous novels, Greg Egan's hardcore scientific speculation has always seemed to be shoehorned, slightly awkwardly, into his decently imagined, elegantly written plots. A less brave writer might have reined in the science, and created a more conventional novel. Egan, instead, turns it up to 11, and may, in the process, have kickstarted an entirely new kind of writing.

Hundreds of years from now, 'humanity' is mostly a collective of self-generating, autonomous soft

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Adam
one of the few books I'd rate a 6.
Gyula
In the past few weeks this is the second book I could not finish.

It has some great ideas, such as the birth of an artificial intelligence, and the state of humanity nine hundred years later (and others I will never discover now). My problem was the way they were presented.

The first forty pages were about the birth of an AI. The text was very technical. I can imagine that someone with more knowledge on informatics or other related sciences could enjoy it, but I didn't understand what was going o
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Óscar
Es el primer libro de Egan que leo y me ha costado bastante. Ha sido una elección un poco a lo loco pero no me arrepiento, los demás resultarán más fáciles de leer. Para este en concreto me ha venido bien tener algunas nociones de física, agujeros negro, cuántica y algunas cosas más.
Me quedo con una sensación como de no haberme enterado de todo lo que he leído pero con ganas de empezar otro título de este autor y eso es una cosa que me impulsa a seguir leyendo.
Charles Hay
Absolutely stunning concepts are fired at you every couple of pages, coupled with a writing style which makes hard science-fiction just about comprehensible. The feeling of the vertigo of extreme knowledge reminds me of Arthur C Clarke and Olaf Stapledon at their unsettlingly cognizant best.

Importantly, it's worth noting that this is a narrative leap forward from it's spiritual predecessor, Permutation City, which tended towards being quite dry, despite it's philosophical enormity. In Diaspora,
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Paul 'Pezski' Perry
May 07, 2011 Paul 'Pezski' Perry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Paul 'Pezski' by: open minds, hard sf fans, science nerds


My memories of when I used to subscribe to the science fiction magazine Interzone in the 80s and 90s are largely of two types of stories. The magazine had a penchant for a brand of rather gloomy anti-cyberpunk futurism (especially in the 80s, with Britain under Thatcher's iron heel when everything looked bleak, and era which also gave rise to such wonderfully dark comics as V for Vendetta and Crisis) of a sort that made Jeff Noon's books look positively utopian (I'm sure Noon must have had stor
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Mikołaj
Probably one of the most important s-f book I've read, it's so completely and utterly amazing... A dark and thrilling hard-sf story about a very distant future, post-humanity and evolution of (post)human consciousness... Packed with very convincing extrapolations concerning evolution of science and civilization, space travels and (im)possible contacts with other forms of life. Absolutely recommended for fans of Lem, Clarke, and all those interested in philosophy of mind, A.I., and cognitive scie ...more
Keith
God, this book blew my mind! Especially the end... the journey this person goes on, and how FAR s/he goes... AAAH!!!
SciFi Kindle
This novel is full of fascinating consequences of post-corporeal humanity, and rigorously pushes ideas to extremes that few authors are willing to extend. For that reason, it can become daunting at moments for some as distances stretch into cosmic scales and time is examined and experienced at epochal durations. An unprecedented and unexplained disaster drives the software descendants of extinct humanity to seek reassurance and safety from any future re-occurrence to lengths unforeseen and wondr ...more
Daniorte
"EL ABSTRACIONISMO DESBOCADO" El solo se podría definir así en la novela cuando hace referencia de las "Macroesferas".

Sabía que me enfrentaba a lo que es una de sus novelas más complejas. Leí Axiomático y me parece asequible y recomendadísima para todo el mundo, luego con "Cuarentena" en algunos momentos se le va pero la novela la disfrutas y sigues el hilo sin ningún problema. Quise ver a qué se referían con su parte más dura y me puse con Diáspora.

Lo Mejor: La idea es original, me gusta much
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Karen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian
Wow. One of the most daring and inventive science fiction books I have ever read. I was enthralled from the beginning, where the creation of a sentient personality existing entirely in software is described. The story starts in the 30th century and the human race has diverged into 3 separate camps: fleshers, who still inhabit the human biological form; gleisners, humans who have transferred their consciousness into robotic bodies; and citizens who live in polises, virtual worlds created by softw ...more
Youssef
If you don't have a mind for hard speculative science, you might want to give this one a miss. The book is rife with very complicated stuff, and if you're like me, you'd have absolutely no idea if it was brilliant or absurd. Simply put, large swathes of this novel were inaccessible to me, and that's neither the authors fault nor mine, we were not meant to be.
On the other hand, the "story", or what I might have enjoyed is rather non existing. Hopping from character to character, or different vers
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Pat Rondon
The cover promises "the greatest adventure of all is about to begin",
which is pretty cliched and hokey, but it's hard to argue that this
novel, with its artificial intelligences exploring this physical
universe, computational universes embedded in it, and an infinite
hierachy of universes beyond ours, all in the name of avoiding just
about the largest imaginable natural disaster, doesn't deliver on the
promise. There's so much interesting stuff that the only dull moments
here are when the author focus
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Noah M.
As far as I can tell, this is a prequel to the stories "Glory" and "Ride the Crocodile." It documents the early days of interstellar exploration by post-singularity humankind. If this really is a prequel, that means the later Amalgam stories do not take place in our universe. I can't recall if there were explicit references to our galaxy in either of those short stories, but in the end it doesn't really matter.

Scope is not one thing this novel lacks. It takes place across more than a trillion di
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Christopher Owen
I really haven't read any other hard science fiction other than Egan's "Schild's Ladder", so I may be lacking the breadth of experience to identify exemplars in this genre, but Diaspora would seem to be amongst that set. It is really quite a breathtakingly vast, beautiful universe that Egan describes and at a cracking pace which I find more and more desirable of late. As far as I can tell, Egan has a very solid grounding in physics and mathematics, and he uses it with great effect to transport t ...more
Kieran
I am an avid hard speculative fiction ( formerly known as SciFi) and a science educator. Diaspora was a tough read but perhaps I am a bit slow. I thought the concept was powerful and certainly one possible future but the computer jargon became very tedious and I felt it was distracting.
Elen
Extremely My Shit
E. Newby
This is an incredible vision story--an idea so epic that it spans more than one universe. Egan is a master of hard scifi, laying down complex, mind boggling ideas as if they were nothing more substantial than colorful Legos. He knows his stuff, and what's more, knows how to use these (often) far-reaching ideas in a story. Most nifty. Unfortunately, the story suffers in a few domains, which I will detail below.

First, his characters aren't exactly human: they're our highly modified, digitized desc
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Ivan
Utter bunk.

A breathless and stupid newagey gnostic/esoteric text, cloaked in offensively crude technobabble.

There is nothing "scientific" about this book of fiction; if you're in any way versed in math and/or physics, the contents of this book will make your eyes bleed.

If you're a liberal-arts kind of person, with a penchant for new-age or gnostic tracts and a belief that technobabble is a way to convey authority, then go for it, this book is for you.

Alexandra
The same caveat applies to this book as to every other Egan novel. If you are neither inherently fascinated by mathematics and physics taken past the bleeding edge, nor willing to tolerate possibly pages of physics discussion that you don't get, then don't read this novel. It's not the book, it's you - and that's ok, it's just not worth your while getting frustrated.

That said, if you're willing to dive in, I think this is another of Egan's awesome novels. Spoilers coming.

The premise is that at t
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Pants
I don't feel like I can properly rate this, so much of it went so far over my head that I can't really tell if it was brilliant hard SciFi or simply well spoken nonsense.

Struggling to conceptualize 5 and 6 dimensional universes and beyond makes my brain feel a bit stretched and abused. However this is immensely preferable to a book that assumes I'm dumber than a rock.

I don't feel like I've got the science necessary to fully understand and appreciate this book. I enjoyed the effort I made, regard
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Andrew Price
Totally mind-blowing sci-fi. It manages to be plausible but audaciously imaginative. The characters tend to be a little stiff and hard to connect with, but that sort of fits with the world Egan has built and for me, the ideas in the book more than make up for the somewhat thin relationships. In some ways, I felt this was a more interesting, realistic, and vivid description of a post-Singularity world than Kurzweil could come up with.
Rodrick Macdonald
Jan 28, 2014 Rodrick Macdonald rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any hard-sf fan
Recommended to Rodrick by: The world's biggest bookstore, Toronto (you will be missed).
Could this be the greatest book ever? OK, maybe not but it is the best book I've read recently and it is amazingly good. Just finished my re-read of this masterpiece from the reclusive Australian author and it was definitely better the second time around.

Perhaps this isn't for everyone, but if you like hard-sf and you are fascinated by the possibility of humanity evolving into software based intelligences, and if you're not too put off by having some of the story set in a universe with 4 or fiv
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Reddit SF Book Club: 'Diaspora' by Greg Egan is the March Selection 1 15 Mar 05, 2012 11:22AM  
  • Manifold: Space
  • Schismatrix Plus
  • The Golden Age (Golden Age #1)
  • Newton's Wake: A Space Opera
  • Echopraxia
  • Accelerando
  • Ventus
  • Blood Music
  • Engineering Infinity
  • The Ophiuchi Hotline
  • White Light
  • Aristoi
  • Across Realtime
  • Neverness (A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, #0)
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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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More about Greg Egan...
Permutation City Quarantine (Subjective Cosmology Cycle, #1) Axiomatic Schild's Ladder Distress

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“Amidst all this organic plasticity and compromise, though, the infrastructure fields could still stake out territory for a few standardized subsystems, identical from citizen to citizen. Two of these were channels for incoming data—one for gestalt, and one for linear, the two primary modalities of all Konishi citizens, distant descendants of vision and hearing. By the orphan's two-hundredth iteration, the channels themselves were fully formed, but the inner structures to which they fed their data, the networks for classifying and making sense of it, were still undeveloped, still unrehearsed.
Konishi polis itself was buried two hundred meters beneath the Siberian tundra, but via fiber and satellite links the input channels could bring in data from any forum in the Coalition of Polises, from probes orbiting every planet and moon in the solar system, from drones wandering the forests and oceans of Earth, from ten million kinds of scape or abstract sensorium. The first problem of perception was learning how to choose from this superabundance.”
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