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(Subjective Cosmology #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,218 ratings  ·  279 reviews
It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it's all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034.

Some see the bubble as the revenge of an insane God. Some see it as justice. Some even see it as protection. But one thing is for certain -- now t
Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by HarperPrism (first published 1992)
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Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, australian
Mods, Moods, and Modes

To measure something is to change it, to cause it to become fixed by eliminating its infinite possibilities. This is a well-established principle of quantum mechanics. If that is true, human beings have much more to answer for than we thought. As our techniques of measurement have become more refined and better able to reach further into the far reaches of the cosmos, we have left a path of destruction literally as far as the eye can see.

The really spectacular advances in a
Manuel Antão
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Eigenstates: “Quarantine” by Greg Egan

“[character referring to quantum entanglement and wave function collapse] ‘so, what should they call it?’ ‘Oh...neural linear decomposition of the state vector, followed by phase-shifting and preferential reinforcements of selected eigenstates.’”

In “Quarantine” by Greg Egan

“’So...where’s the problem?’

‘The problem is: before you make a measurement in either of these cases, the wave function doesn’t
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've had Greg Egan on my radar for a long time but aside from a lucky chance encounter with a novella, it still took me almost two decades to finally break down and read him! It wasn't his fault. That lies entirely with me. I'm absolutely ashamed.

Why? Because this hard-SF novelist is unashamedly tackling some of the hardest quantum physics interpretations, (smearing possibilities and collapsing the wave functions of reality) to very, very courageous levels.

The writer runs with a loaded gun with
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-egan
I was twelve, […] the night the stars disappeared from the sky. (Spin)


I was eight years old when the stars went out. (Quarantine)

Had Robert Charles Wilson read this prior writing Spin or is just that great minds think alike? Anyway, despite the initial surprise at this similarity, the resemblance between the two works stops here.

Quarantine starts out as a detective story: our main character, Nick, a private investigator, is hired to find Laura Andrews, a thirty-two years old woman who es
David Katzman
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What improbable collapse of quantum potential states has resulted in the fact that immediately after reading a science book about confronting the measurement problem in quantum physics that I should read a science fiction book that is centrally about the measurement problem in quantum physics???

Quarantine is an extremely odd book. It’s a book of ideas. It’s bizarre, surreal and mind-bending and also grounded in quantum physics. As I discuss in my review of What is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for
Larry Lennhoff
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a huge Greg Egan fan. But that may well be because he outgrew me, and I stopped keeping up with the right varieties of science to really appreciate his work. However, Quarantine, one of his first novels, is one of my favorites. I reread it over the past few days, but I first read it when it came out. We older SF fans talk a lot about the sense of wonder (aka sensawonda). But over the years, I got less and less of that sense from the physics/chemistry parts of SF and more from things like ...more
Quarantine: Cool quantum mechanics, pedestrian plot
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Greg Egan is an Australian writer of hard science fiction who specializes in mathematics, epistemology, quantum theory, posthumanism, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc. When you pick up one of his books, you know you will be getting a fairly dense crash course in some pretty outlandish scientific and mathematical ideas, with the plot and characters coming second.

The cover blurb advertises Quaran
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
My head still hurts from reading this one, is it my head or one of my eigenstates' head?
A book that takes the idea of each individual choice creating a separate path or separate you to an extreme AND tries to define it mathematically.

Egan is sort of like PKD with a Physics degree, there is an incredible amount of interesting commentary packed into this, less than 300 page, book from bio mods changing who you are, but who cares because it is the same as drinking a cup of coffee, to this whole c
Sarah B
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book to complete my ABC challenge, as the only letter I needed was a "Q"...but to my surprise I liked the book a lot more than I had ever expected. Also I had no idea what it was about; only that it was science I was surprised to find out the main character was an ex-cop who was now doing detective work.

This story takes place in the future where advance tech is common. One type of this tech that is central to the story is mods that are downloaded into your brai
Roddy Williams
At the very hard edge of hard sf's furthest boundary is Greg Egan. One could describe Egan as one who writes fiction for scientists to read. This should not deter anyone else from reading his work though.
The premise here is that (as in Robert Charles Wilson's 'Spin') an impenetrable barrier has been thrown around the Solar System, blotting out the stars.
Nik Stavrianos is an ex-cop private detective in a near future Australia where many residents have been gene-sequenced to produce melanonin and
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
The story revolves around the concept of the "observer effect" in quantum physics (the idea that what occurs in the world is based on multiple possible variants each of which exists simultaneously until some sort of "observation" causes a single version to become the only reality).

Readers who can experience the bizarre consequences of Egan's interpretation of quantum physics as magic - and can flow with the magic making its rules as it goes along - will find a unique and incredible landscape.

Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this while I was in high school and it blowing my mind. I didnt understand some of it. Might be inetersting to re read to see what my older self thinks.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
4 Stars

I am giving the overall of this book 4 stars only because Egan is not afraid to write hard science fiction. This is my second Egan novel that I have read, Clockwork Rocket (a book that I loved) being the first. Greg Egan is not afraid to use fiction to explore real science, physics, quantum mechanics, and deep philosophy.

This book Quarantine, a first in a trilogy is focused around quantum mechanics, specifically around a measurement known as Schroedinger’s Cat. “Quantum mechanics descri
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it
If you really like quantum mechanics and philosophizing on all of the strange reality that it entails, then you'll love this book. Otherwise, it's basically a mind f---. The ideas explored here aren't novel, but they are taken to such an extreme that it's hard to enjoy the book as a story instead of a thought experiment. And a challenging one at that - even with quite a bit of qm theory under my belt, I still ended up re-reading pages to make sure I kept everything straight. As a result, I only ...more
neko cam
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good sci-fi should, 'Quarantine' takes an existing area of scientific study, asks the reader to accept a key concession, and turns the dial up to 11. In this instance, the area of study is the observer effect in quantum physics and the concession is that the collapsing of a quantum wave function is a process that is triggered specifically in the brain of the observer. From there it explores all kinds of nuanced philosophical implications, which I won't detail for fear of spoiling the fun.

Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
An Egan novel, I’ve learned, follows a particular structure. It begins, like every other novel, by establishing the setting and characters and their aspiration & motivations. Usual stuff. Nothing crazy. Just ease the reader in, a normal sci-fi novel, nothing to worry-


Animated gif of Goku powering up

-and then it unleashes the math and science THUNDERSTEM! Egan lets loose with the true sci-fi aspect, building a wild ride out of an imaginative extrapolation of some major science idea.

Same story with Quarantine,
Ami Iida
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
There are three themes in the novel , it is so called
Dyson sphere , quantum mechanics and nanotechnology.
At the beginning of it the descriptions are drawing
strongly and high technology is written in detail. (less)
Jan 05, 2016 12:57PM · delete
40590836 Ami Iida " Schrödinger's cat" appears in it.
If human being discovered quantum mechanism ,
we could not prosper consumer electronics products computer and ICT.

But at the end of story is boring..................
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
3.5 out of 5 -- Futuristic hard Sci-Fi with a great premise and so-so characters.

Warning: Not treadmill safe. Listening to or reading this book while on a treadmill could lead to injury when the reader gets totally immersed in the ideas presented and stops to ponder them. You have been warned.

After enjoying the Nexus series, a friend thought that I would enjoy Quarantine and other works by Greg Egan. I can't say that I was disappointed, but I wasn't as bowled over as I thought that I might be. I
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I think - in all my vast understanding of the world - that one of the things that really sets Greg Egan apart is his willingness to drive real physics to its ruthless end.

This is not to say anything against his plots or his characters. On the contrary, I think Egan does utterly absorbing plots and some remarkable characters. But so do other SF writers. There are few others, though, who combine this with a determination to take real-world physics and drive them a long, long way.

Quarantine is a
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I picked this up because I was drawn in by the private investigator/missing persons description, which the book definitely started with. Ironically, I had trouble concentrating on this book until it ended up taking a screeching turn away from a PI storyline and turned into a mindf*ck of a speculative science fiction novel; then, I was intrigued and reeled in until the end of this short "big idea" book.

It's incredibly difficult to describe what this books is about, but contrary to my experience
Alan Zendell
Aug 19, 2012 rated it liked it
As always, Greg Egan's writing is excellent. I find, though, that I'm having difficulty with some of his story content. The concept of Quarantine is uniquely clever. I can't fault that at all. And the tag line for the book, "A Novel of Quantum Catastrophe" is as accurate as any I've ever seen.

I found Quarantine a lot easier going the The Clockwork Rocket, in which Egan invented his own version of physics. (Had I read his blog, or had I read the Afterward before the story, I'd have known that and
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Interesting read, even for people who aren't huge QM enthusiasts.
For some reason I kept thinking about the impossibly of gigantic ants with top hats dancing around.
Richard S
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I remember in college I took an honors physics course and we did the double slit experiment with a laser. I still remember my astonishment as reality no longer fit the reality I was accustomed too. The results of the experiment were absurd, and very disconcerting, like watching a magic trick and being told it wasn't magic, and in fact, it wasn't magic. This unsettling moment led to a long-time fascination with quantum mechanics and things like spooky action at a distance, things that even Einste ...more
Thomas Duff
Jan 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Greg Egan

I was hoping for something a bit more when I decided to read Quarantine by Greg Egan. The concept was excellent, and it started off well. But in the end, it descended into technical explanations that ruined the story for me. Those who are less into story and more into "thinking" might love it, however.

The basics of the story work for me. In the future, you can download your brain to live online, and that's a big business. The story revolves around a private investigator who ha
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is exactly what you expect a book written by a mathematician to be. A living stereotype of Wigner's friend quantum mechanics explained to death.

The good side: the hard sci-fi concepts are really cool and interesting and the world building is awesome.

The bad side: sadly, the writer isn't experienced as a writer but he's using his books as a method to push his high flying concepts to people. The characters fall flat and I couldn't care much about the MC even though the book is written in fir
Myka Dubay
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
The pace of Quarantine was such that I burned through it in no time. The reveals of various threads set up in the beginning were marvelously delightful; while I had to set the book down and think through a couple of sections, I had few problems following the train of thought Egan set out for the premise of this story. It's a fascinating concept I won't delve into as the natural discovery it through the plot is part of the magic.

There are a lot of other 'what makes the self the self' concepts to
Ian Casey
It's a pleasure to read a book by a local author that's capable of competing on the world stage ('local' being Perth, Western Australia). And whilst Greg Egan's Quarantine doesn't shove the western and northern Australian setting down one's throat, there are some nice moments of local flavour.

At first glance, one thinks they're reading a detective story with a near-future setting, and starts to envisage comparisons with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Altered Carbon or Leviathan Wakes. But
West Hartford Public Library
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glenn, mystery, scifi
With Egan, you get your sci-fi hard and weird, just the way I like it. It's 2068 and the solar system has been quarantined inside a huge bubble for decades. Nick is an ex-cop private eye hired on a missing persons case. His anonymous client wants to find a profoundly retarded adult who was kidnapped from a care facility, the same one she escaped from twice previously. In the absence of a ransom demand, Nick imagines all kinds of reasons why this woman would be valuable and how she would be trans ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is Australian writer Greg Egan's first science fiction novel. It starts as a mystery set in the late 21st century where a widower retired-cop-turned-private-investigator Nick Stavrianos is hired to locate a missing mental patient. Egan packs a lot into his vision of a future Australia, including purchasable brain mods, a runaway ozone hole, a global religious/terrorist movement, and a huge bubble artifact that seals off the Solar System from the rest of the universe. He doesn't just stick t ...more
Daniel Smith
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Quarantine, by Greg Egan, is a sci-fi story that is based on the idea that the sun has been covered up. The world has advanced by the time the book takes place (2040s), and people now have mods and technology that can be put into their bodies. One of the people who owns many of these mods, Nick Stavrianos, is given a job by an anonymous client: find a mentally ill woman named Laura. Laura had escaped from a high security hospital by walking through a wall. His search for Laura takes him around t ...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

Other books in the series

Subjective Cosmology (3 books)
  • Permutation City (Subjective Cosmology #2)
  • Distress (Subjective Cosmology #3)

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