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Axiomatic

(Collected Stories #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  4,174 ratings  ·  323 reviews
Axiomatic is a collection of Greg Egan's short stories that appeared in various science fiction magazines (mostly Interzone and Asimov's) between 1989 and 1992.

Contents:
The Infinite Assassin (1991)
The Hundred Light-Year Diary (1992)
Eugene (1990)
The Caress (1990)
Blood Sisters (1991)
Axiomatic (1990)
The Safe-Deposit Box (1990)
Seeing (1995)
A Kidnapping (1995)
Learning to Be Me
...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by HarperPrism (first published July 1990)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  4,174 ratings  ·  323 reviews


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Kevin Kelsey
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hugely original ideas, not every story is a home run but there are enough 5/5 stories here to make this very recommended for any fan of hard science fiction. The concepts are extremely unique even 20 years later. Very similar to Ted Chiang’s writing. I have no idea why Greg Egan isn’t a household name in SF.

“As the unknowable future becomes the unchangeable past, risk must collapse into certainty, one way or another.”

“We think of our lives as circumscribed by cultural and biological taboos, but
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Manuel Antão
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


Symplectic Geometry : "Axiomatic" by Greg Egan


"The Hundred-Light-Year-Diary" Story: Physics -> Time-Reverse Universe (5 stars)

“I climbed out of bed and started dressing, although I had no reason to hurry home [he’s shagging someone other than his wife]. Alison [his wife] knew all about us; apparently, she’d known since childhood that her husband would turn out to be a piece of shit.”

“The ignorance cults say that knowing the future robs
...more
Glenn Russell



Eighteen science fiction short stories collected here, mind-expanders blasting out to the frontiers of futuristic biochemistry, physics, pharmacology, electrical engineering and most everything in between. Greg Egan is a terrific writer. As a way of opening the door into these unique and startling worlds, rather than saying a little about a number of pieces, I'll focus all my words exclusively on the title story - Axiomatic. SPOILER ALERT: I analyze this story from beginning to end.

AXIOMATIC
Imp
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Glenn Russell



"One thing never changes: when some mutant junkie on S starts shuffling reality, it's always me they send into the whirlpool to put things right." First line from the first short story in Greg Egan's collection - Axiomatic. The title of this fifteen-page SF tale is The Infinite Assassin, surely one of the most bizarre, freaky stories a reader will ever encounter, extraordinarily complex and involved, certainly warranting its own review.

So much information is packed into the first few pages, it r
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Claudia
“Everyone is manipulated; everyone is a product of their times. And vice versa.
Whatever the unchangeable future holds, I’m sure of one thing: who I am is still a part of what always has, and always will, decide it.
I can ask for no greater freedom than that.
And no greater responsibility.”

This book goes straight to no. 1 in my personal top of collections. I never read anything like it, and I doubt there is another out there to match it (except, maybe another one of his, which I'm yet to read
...more
Brian
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of sci-fi short fiction, told in the key of Philip K. Dick but with much better characters and dialogue. Some of the ideas presented in this collection are haunting and seem day-after-tomorrow possible; Egan seasons his stories with just the right amount of science and technology to give the reader a sense of realism amidst the unfolding dystopia.
Tom
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Axiomatic is an absolutely incredible collection of hard science fiction short stories, comparable to Ted Chiang's best work. Reading this book meant being bombarded by idea after idea, challenging my imagination as well as thoroughly taxing my scientific knowledge. The biologically-leaning stories were the easiest to comprehend for me, as I have tertiary biological education. High-school physics (and my history of reading sci-fi) was enough to arm me for the rest of the stories, although some c ...more
Mr. Windup Bird
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For some reason, I never read short story collections, but I decided to give Axiomatic a try. What a great surprise! So many great ideas, all executed so well. I liked all the stories, and a few of them managed to hit home in an original and unpredictable (for me anyway) way. I liked it so much, my next book will be another short story collection. A few of the ideas were fairly complex, and it took a little thinking to understand them to my satisfaction, but probably not an insurmountable challe ...more
Gavin
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
(Probably 5 stars on re-read)

Phenomenal. (Usually not nice phenomena, but always strong phenomena.) Every one of these produced an effect in me, from deep grimace to snort to total pathos. It took me a month to read 18 stories, because it is stressful to encounter characters this vivid in scenarios this brutal.* Every story has an actual logic - often a fantastical one, like the retrocausal literally-hypothetical boddhisatva posthumans of 'Eugene'. He has few peers in thinking this hard and maki
...more
Derek
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, sf
If there's a common thread in this collection of short stories, it's "what makes me, me?"

From the opening story, in which a man travels the multiplicity of parallel universes, assassinating the people who cause breaches between them; to a pair of tales involving the use of neural implants to change what a person believes; to the stories about the Ndoli Jewel: a device that everybody has implanted in their skulls at birth, that learns everything they do, and is eventually used to replace the brai
...more
Ben Loory
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
brilliant. every story is literally amazing and his voice is one of a kind-- so calm, understanding, intelligent, and rational, while still being fun (not funny but actually fun). there's a part of me that wishes he could actually land an ending, but i'm not sure it's even really possible in this mode. so don't wait for the big cathartic moment; i think he probably sees catharsis as a low-level trap.

anyway, i'll certainly be reading this book again. as well as all his others.
Matthew Gatheringwater
Who are you, really? It isn't always easy to tell, especially when you live in a society where 18-year-olds routinely have their heads scooped out like melons and replace their brains with computers. Sure, the computer does everything the brain did and it is less likely to malfunction, but what if something does go wrong, just every now and then?

This is the premise of one of an interesting collection of stories by Greg Egan. Most of the stories have something to do with the way technology shapes
...more
Peter Tillman
I'm pretty sure I wrote a review of this back in the day, but be damned if I or Google can find it. Anyway, a near -great collxn that I should reread. Here are 2 good reviews online:
Christina Schulman: http://www.epiphyte.net/SF/axiomatic....
"Egan's ideas stretch your head the way the better cyberpunk does, without cyberpunk's self-indulgent grime and alienation."
Danny Yee, http://dannyreviews.com/h/Axiomatic.html
"Egan's Axiomatic is a collection of short stories solidly in the classical traditi
...more
Adam
I've only read some of this guy's stuff online, and once his short fiction appears in affordable versions i will snap it up. A hallucinatory, mind warping, and terrifying combination of Triptree jr.,Ted Chiang,Ballard, and Borges. Hard Science and painfully realized concepts that will effect the way you view each moment of your life.
Manu
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
I have always been amazed at Neal Stephenson for being able to write Snowcrash and The Diamond Age in 1992 and 1995 respectively. I am now equally amazed that Greg Egan wrote this in 1995. In fact, even more, because while the first two books were novels and dealt with a smaller number of concepts, this book is a collection of short stories, and except for a (connected/repeat) couple, are unique concepts. Imagine, 18 stories with ideas that would still be regarded as science fiction!
In addition
...more
RG
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing collection of short stories. My first reading of anything by Egan. Complicated ideas but extremely well written and alot of fun. At times quite in depth with his knowledge of the scientific topic but it challenges the readers ideas and perceptions which I love about Scifi.
Miriam Cihodariu
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australia
My second read from Egan, after Luminous, which I also loved very much. This second collection of short stories just deepened my affinity to his ideas. The style is also very much up my alley - very sciency and abstract but not hard to follow or chaotic.

There are plenty of ideas in this hard sci-fi collection that was praised for having somewhat of an anticipatory nature, and it's easy to understand why. Egan deals with questions surrounding mind over matter, limitless experimentation, what act
...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
William Gibson said the future is here just unevenly spread about. Perceptive and imaginative science fiction collects pieces of future lying about in our world and crafts interesting mind blowing stories based on concepts and nuggets of the science we know. Greg Egan's collection of short stories explores the consequences of ideas we speculate upon in his fictional worlds. They are a great example of the genre on step ahead of people right now. Really enjoyable.
Jose Moa
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think it one of the best hard sf tales collection,full of wild but plausible ideas
Mark
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stories of science, medicine, and I guess rescue operations.
Aaron Arnold
Great stuff. My favorite author as a kid was Isaac Asimov, and his Foundation and Robot novels gave me a permanent appetite for books that try to take ridiculous ideas about the future as seriously as possible, factory-farmed MFA-approved "literary" qualities be damned. The average story in this collection of 18 is twenty pages long, but each one has an absurd number of nutcase ideas per page, and it's wonderful. There's no way I can summarize all of the stories so I only want to talk about two, ...more
Jason
Nov 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: nodozejoze
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Outis
Egan is evidently a remarkably clever author. And he's got a clue. It makes for a most satisfying read.
Looking at the publication dates, I've got to say he was ahead of his time as well.

There are naturally a few duds among these stories but enough really good ones to make up for them.
Peeking at the other reviews, I noted with interest that some people loved stories I hated and vice-versa so I'll play the game: my faves are The Hundred-Light-Years Diary, The Safe-Deposit Box, Seeing, Learning to
...more
Olivia Newton
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Silber
A heady collection of hard sci-fi short stories mostly revolving around themes such as identity, free will, and the nature of consciousness. Egan's prose isn't the greatest, but his ideas are so unique and fascinating that the pages fly by. Some of these stories will blow you away. Highly recommended.
Fábio Fernandes
This collection contain some of Greg Egan's best stories. From "The Safe-Deposit Box" and "The Hundred-Light Years Diary" to the title story, "Axiomatic", they are all superb examples of Egan's unique way of writing, building stories with strong scientific premises and sense of wonder in everyday settings.
Wayne Mccracken
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Physics buffs and hard sci-fi fans
A great introduction to Greg Egan.

In my view Egan is simply the best "hard sci-fi" author ever. Some stories are based on current "bleeding edge" science and others are bordering on fantasy. But always, they are plausible. At times he invents his own physics principles but again they are always plausible extensions of the current state of the art in physics.

Highly recommended.
Sonya Christine
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for hard sci-fi lovers. Mr. Egan knows his business and his ideas are mind-blowing!
Alan
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Abyss-gazers and cellular automata
Recommended to Alan by: Peter T. this time, I do believe
"Whatever makes you think I'm as rational as that?"
—"Closer," p.265
And, whatever made Nietzsche (or anyone else) think there was only one abyss worth gazing into?

But I digress...

Greg Egan's science fiction collection Axiomatic is a landmark, the kind of work that can cement a reputation—and, indeed, upon reading this book for a second time after more than 20 years, I still think it showcases some of Egan's best stories.

It's still cold too, though. After all, Egan's great strength as a science fi
...more
Katherine
What a great collection of stories. If I were a producer of a TV series, I would buy the rights to all these stories and do a Black Mirror like show, because quite a few of these felt like they could be episodes. I took some notes as I went, so here we go:

Infinite Assassin: probably the hardest to wrap my head around. Felt like something from The Quantum Thief.

100 Light Year Diary: Interesting musing on predestination, with some ideas that gave me a headache.

Eugene: Almost like literally disappe
...more
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1,659 followers
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
...more

Other books in the series

Collected Stories (3 books)
  • Luminous
  • Oceanic

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