Jason's Reviews > Permutation City

Permutation City by Greg Egan
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's review
Mar 27, 11

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Read from March 08 to 27, 2011

This book takes some time to absorb, and I'm probably doing it a great injustice by reviewing it so quickly after finishing it (and with such a rushed reading by such an uneducated reader). Greg Egan clearly knows what he's talking about when it comes to theoretical physics, and I certainly don’t, so the main bits of Permutation City intimidated me to a point that I may have taken the book too seriously. Some of the reviews I've read now that I've finished have lead me to believe some irony and perhaps even humor were completely lost on me in my reading.

But aside from the subtle and scientific points I missed (of which there was little to no overlap), there was plenty left to entertain and impress me. Egan handles ideas surrounding brain copies, digital consciousness, and immortality more realistically and satisfyingly than most sci-fi writers I've known to attempt it. However, I feel like some of the more enjoyable, interesting, brain copy aspects of the book were swallowed up by the more less-interesting-to-me theoretical parts, and find myself wishing this had instead been written as two complementary novellas (mostly so the concepts I enjoyed reading about could have been given more time and also a leading role in a story instead of a lead-in).

Regardless of how you felt after reading Permutation City, you should check out Eliezer Yudkowsky’s short unofficial sequel to Permutation City, The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5389450/1...). Yudkowsky loved Permutation City (as shown by his review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3RHGO7Y...), but suggests a replacement for one of the book’s central concepts. At the very least it left me with a better understanding of Permutation City (and also a drastically different color of ending).
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Reading Progress

7.0% "Loving it so far. Wish I didn't have to visit the dark corners of the Internet to scrounge up a digital copy. Foolish publishers."
53.0% "I finally hit a point in the book where I have to pay closer attention (i.e. it was previously a typical "easy read")."
72.0% "So it's back to an easy read. There's just one concept in the book I struggle with (as do some of its main characters) and I only need to work at reading it when that concept comes up."
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message 1: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Eilers Nice, thorough review.

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