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Preview — Incandescence by Greg Egan
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 gal ...more
I love Greg Egan. I love his hard science fiction. I enjoy his near lecture style of his novels. Unfortunately, this book left me unable to bond with any of the characters. I kept putting this book down do to how slow I felt that it was going. As a result of start up and start again, I really lost most of this novel. I skim read, blanked out, and totally forgot things as I went along....
Oh well, I will reread this another day if I decide to give it a second chance.
Greg Egan continues to write about the far far future in an intelligent thoughtful creative manner.
On the other hand, you have to be ready to deal with things like a large portion of the narrative of this book focusing on the discovery of newton/einsteinian laws of motion and relativity by an alien race. What made it more annoying to me was that all the terms were made up. So you have to remember that template mathematics means... algebra? and memorize (if you are real ...more
Egan's tale of an alien species, in the process of cultural transcendence triggered by resolute need, is really interesting. It's hard to complain about characterization when you're reading about aliens, their thoughts, actions and words, but Egan did a fairly good job with that. While the tiny world of the aliens, the Splinter, is fairly simplistic, I was 90% of the way through the story before I really had a good picture in my mind about its nature. Whether ...more
The story of the inhabitants of the splinter feels like a visit to a more substantial version of Abbott's Flatland. Even ...more
Minus one star for incomprehensibility. The cardinal directions in the splinter could easily have been named north/south/east/west but were instead alien sounding words that were simply harder to keep straight. I found this ironic because there's even a plot p ...more
It comes pretty close to a lyrical exploration of the physics of the General Theory of Relativity.
Not knowing much of the physics, I found some of it a little hard to follow, but overall it was fun, and it looks like on the author's webpage www.gregegan.net there's some nice supplemental material to help understand what's going on.
I'd heartily recommend the book to anyone with an interest in physics, but even ignoring that, it was still a fun, beautiful ...more
This book is hard work! Through the eyes of primitive insect-like inhabitants of a small asteroid, it tells the story of the development of modern astrophysics. The progress seems a little facile, as these creatures never seem to take a wrong turn, or get mired in politics and religion. But then, they're not huma ...more
The second plot, a quest for knowledge - and ultimate survival - of very strange centipede-like creatures who live inside a hollowed asteroid the Splinter t ...more
I think this roughly takes place after Diaspora, but WAY after. In a galaxy where to get from point A to point B (if B is unexplored) you first end out nano machines at high speed, and when they've built a receiver, you transmit your consciousness digitally. Makes sense to me. If you like, you leave a backup behind just in case something goes wrong. You use quantum encryption so that you can know i ...more
In the other thread, two travellers are invited to enter the territory of the ...more
Perché il libro di Egan questo è, e nient ...more
At the core of the galaxy live the mysterious Aloof, who have rejected any attempts by the Amalgan to expand into their territory. The Aloof allow the Almalgam to travel through their territory, but not to stop.
Rakesh is a bored member of th ...more
I don't think much of an interest in physics or math is needed to follow the narrative or understand what's going on. Certainly no education beyond high school and popular movies is required. An interest in geometry and the history of physics would however definitely make the book more interesting.
It seems many readers were either put off or very impressed because some characters are scientists and a small part of the book narrates their work in simple terms. While that ...more
It's almost impossible to imagine a galaxy-spanning civilization in a universe still bounded by the absolute limitation of the speed of light, but Egan manages to do it, and do it well. Yet, the galactic civilization is almost a throwaway in this tale. The true story is about a microcosmic society in a hidden backwater.
The people of the Splinter (from the start, clearly recognizable as some kind of orbital habitat) are clearly post-apocalyptic, their scie ...more
Incandescence is a textbook example of all three kinds of hard—the textbook in this case being something like Rediscovering Classical and Relativistic Physics. If extended descriptions of orbital mechanics and exposition about f=ma, thinly leavened with characteri ...more
Let me explain.
In the far future, a bunch of awesomely advanced creatures, some descended from humans, some not, are crazy whizbang brilliant. Plus, they've got a lot of cool technology- crazy far future technology that still manages to follow a few of the basic laws of physics, such as the one prohib ...more
The main characters are interesting and "human" enough. In fact, I could empathize with Roi to a greater degree than with some of the human protagonists of his other works. Of course side characters only serve the plot progression, but I can't really criticize this. At the very least, it's better than stretching the narrative even more - d...more
There is a decent story (lost alie ...more
He is a Hugo Award winner (and has been shortlisted for the Hugos three other times), an ...more