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The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Camille is desperate to escape her home on colonized asteroid Vesta, journeying through space in a small cocoon pod covertly and precariously attached to a cargo ship. Anna is a newly appointed port director on asteroid Ceres, intrigued by the causes that have led so-called riders like Camille to show up at her post in search of asylum.

Conditions on Vesta are quickly deter
Hardcover, 89 pages
Published November 2016 by Subterranean Press (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  353 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
What a surprisingly fun read! It looks like I've neglected this author for far too long.

This novella was full of sharp prose and even sharper ideas, turning the old ethical quandary of the many and the few into a pretty harrowing conflict.

These are just people whose ancestors may or may not have profited by intellectual capitalism, and yet the modern society has decided to culturally and lawfully punish the current innocents. What happens later is nothing less than a fight for doing the right th
Althea Ann
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'd heard good things about this one, running up to the Hugo nominations, but didn't end up having time to read it before the voting deadlines. It's a good, solid science fiction story - very idea-oriented, but not to the detriment of the plot. There are actually two ethical concepts that Egan asks the reader to consider here.

One is that referred to in the title; and has to do with the ethics of endangering the 'few' when the lives of the 'many' are threatened. It's a dilemma familiar to most s
Manuel Antão
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Frog in a Pot of Cold Water Over the Fire: "The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred" by Greg Egan

After reading the latest Egan’s work, I got thinking about the Caribbean Islands. I understand that the Caribbean Islands were discovered by successive explorers from Europe. I understand that Slaves from Africa were taken to these Islands as were White Indentured Workers, a polite name for White Slaves, by the people that had purchased Estate
The novella tries to breathe life in an old ethical scenario, The Trolley Problem , by putting a variant of it into a story with characters. As the driver of a trolley with failed brakes, do you let it mow down five workers in its path, or divert it onto a spur with one man in the way, thereby becoming an active participant in killing a bystander. An older variant makes the result of the latter type of choice a family member. In this story, the equivalent of the latter situation corresponds to 8 ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting short story which escalates from an ethics issue in an asteroid-based society right into a variant of the classic ethical question of the Trolley Problem.

The asteroid of Vesta has a political situation where a persecuted minority are fleeing to Ceres. Ceres itself seems to be heading down the same road after the population narrowly passes legislation which makes second-class citizens of the same minority (depressingly familiar story at the moment). Then a situation comes up where
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, scifi
"I seriously need to hear that this can't happen."
Egan is one of my go-to authors for thought-provoking stories. He has a gift for bringing "what-if" questions to life, and his novella The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred is no exception. The story alternates between the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. Centuries ago, when Vesta was colonized, the Sivadier syndicate brought only intellectual property rather than material goods. Members of the New Dispensation Movement see an injustice that they seek t
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-egan
A story about conscience and choices, spinning around the subversive faction of people from Vesta and their try to sabotage the system.

Interesting idea but I found the story somewhat flat and could not connect with most of the characters. Usually, when there is a choice like this to be made (not telling which is it), the reader should be tormented as the character in question; however, not even empathy was there for me.

But, despite all these, I liked the line of the story, Camille and the socie
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was ok

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publishing Date: November 2016

ISBN: 9781596067912

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: With “The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred,” acclaimed author Greg Egan offers up a stellar, novella-length example of hard science fiction, as human and involving as it is insightful and philosophical.

Review: Early Vesta colonizers are getting persecuted and fleeing into the void, strapped to rocks while chemically suspended to s
a "cold equations" for our times (ie a person in a position of some power must choose if to save the four thousand away or the eight hundred close) with a little more back story; not really my kind of story and characterization (which this story depends crucially on to make us care) is not the author's strong suit, so a readable but not particularly exciting or memorable story
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: llegits-2016
An interesting novella, easier than other works I´ve read by this great author. The sociological speculation about migrations and refugees in space is very original.
Review in english:
Review in spanish:
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: f-sf
Trolley problem in space. Barrel of laughs it was not.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred is a sci-fi novella by Greg Egan. It’s rather dense, exploring the themes of otherness, of democracy, disenfranchisement, and the role of a moral centre. It also talks about asteroids used as building materials, and explores the social norms of societies on other worlds. Yes, that does mean rather a lot is going on.

There are two worlds on display here – one a seemingly egalitarian society, work apportioned to thos
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novella length work (96 pages in hardcover) was first published in the December 2015 Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine, and will soon be released stand-alone in hardcover and kindle format by Subterranean Press. I received a kindle format ebook at no cost, prior to release, in return for publishing an honest review.

The setting is on the two largest asteroids Vesta and Ceres, each of which has a significant settlement involved in asteroid harvesting. Interestingly, the economy is inverted – people
Mike Bruce
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I expected more science and less politics from Greg Egan.
Patrick Moore
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Modern Tragedy

The title of the book refers to a type of thought-experiment often used in moral philosophy (that I won't spell out in case you haven't read the book yet), an ethical dilemma that a philosophy student must argue. However, Egan (thank you!) does not try to prove or slant one view over another in his telling.

A long short-story from 2016, I think Egan wished to respond to things going on in our own time. While this book addresses Refugees, Oppressive Governments, Identity Politics,
Tsana Dolichva
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan is a science fiction novella set on two large asteroids out in the asteroid belt: Vesta and Ceres. It is a quick and compelling read more about morality than technology, although of course there is technology in it.

I enjoyed this book and found it interesting, but I wouldn’t call it a happy read. The story follows a few characters on Vesta where something akin to racial tensions are coming to a head. Of the founding families, one has been singled
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A human story wrapped in solid science fact and a challenging moral dilemma, this is Greg Egan's short fiction at its best.

Social conditions are deteriorating on Vesta, a settled rock in Earth's asteroid belt, spurring waves of refugees to ride the cargo stream of shaped boulders from Vesta to Ceres. Port administrator Anna of Ceres is in charge of receiving these refugees, but when Vesta demands she refuse docking for a transport shuttle full of people, she is thrust into a moral dilemma: turn
James Garman
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. This book was a novella, and was only 89 pages long. I will say I am very glad I didn't just run across it in the library because I would have likely not checked it out. I read about it on line, it sounded good and I ordered it though the library system.

The reason I wouldn't have normally checked it out is that the blurb on the cover refers to HARD Science Fiction. I don't really like that type. I don't want to waste time trying to understand the "science" because I don't understand science
Sarah B
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I had really wanted to like this book by Egan, but it was missing the fascinating science that I had liked in his other book I read. In fact I actually found the story slow and rather dull. The majority of the plot dealt with politics and planning a rebellion, and well, I just find politics very boring! The message in the book is great, that I agree, it's just that the majority of the book was not interesting to me and it was putting me to sleep. Which is very sad. As I had really hoped it would ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2017
If you're not familiar with the Trolley Dilemma, it goes like this:

You're on a train that's traveling toward a group of five rail workers. You have time to force the trolley onto another line, where only one worker is standing, so you can either do nothing and kill five people, or make a choice and actively kill one person. It's an ethical dilemma that presents choice as the factor in guilt.

The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred is a short book that sets the Trolley Dilemma in space. Anna is a new
R. Andrew Lamonica
This is not a typical Greg Egan story. His works are usually thoughtful, long, and full of impromptu math lessons. The amount of consideration the characters give to their plights is decidedly less than normal while the brevity of the story makes it seem incomplete. I'm not sure I miss the maths. But, the lack of something odd doesn't make up for the other lacks.

There is one element of the story that I found fascinating and wish something (anything) had been done to resolve it....

(view spoiler)
Laura Newsholme
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I found this book very difficult to follow. I didn't know from one chapter to the next which planet we were on and which timeline we were dealing with. Egan has crafted some interesting science-fiction ideas and these are integrated in the novel with no explanation - we as reader are assumed to have enough intelligence to understand the concepts as we follow the story. I like the notion of this. Unfortunately, maybe I am not intelligent enough! Also, I felt that the political aspects of the nove ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Greg Egan is the best in the business for my money, and this book is another shining example of why.

Whereas Egan's longer works tend to the arcane and even incomprehensible, his short work has always been a forum for his strong character and plot sensibilities. Camille, Olivier, and Anne are all densely written human beings in a profoundly human conundrum. The story's nonlinear timeline is carefully sculpted so that the reader feels the impact of every dramatic punctuation. Egan even manages to
Richard Thompson
I like Greg Egan's hard science fiction writing. He comes up with ideas sufficiently based in real science to seem possible at first glance, even though the scientfic soundness of his premises evaporates once you scratch a millimeter below the surface. Still his books are fun to read and get me thinking. This one follows the usual hard science angle, but it isn't really so much about the implications of the science as it is to posit a social situation that creates the groundwork for a Kobayashi ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. Greg Egan, who I normally love for the hardest of hard sci-fi, decided to write the worst kind of sci-fi: something with a 'preachy' message about some political issue of the modern day world, loosely garbed in a story. Think of the worst of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There was no interesting science, shallow characters, and nothing but a pretty transparent allegory to current refugee/immigration issues.

I'm still giving it three stars because it was short and I tend to love Greg Egan s
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: space, sci-fi, novella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well paced and written, and as always with Egan, a very good job on detailing opinions and feelings in all their complexity, without ever being manichean or politically biased.
The story grasps and reads with more and more focus until the end.

But it lacks the uniquely imaginative technological prospects and vertigo almost every Egan texts have, those things which make him exceptional.
Good in itself, but a little disapointing when you know Greg Egan and what to usually excpect from him. He clearl
Ian Mathers
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, rt
Swift and brutal, by the time I belatedly realized what the title was fully referring to this one already had me by the guts. The limits of what you can do in the fact of this kind of situation, both practically and emotionally and what it costs you to do it (or not do it) are things I'm going to be thinking about a lot next year. It'd be great if this didn't feel so timely, but Egan does an excellent job of making you feel the real moral peril here.
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
This was not an easy story to read or review. It says a lot about human nature and what we will do or not do to our fellow humans. Although set in space it has elements that are applicable to today. I found it very disturbing and a little depressing. Not the kind of story I usually like to read. No happy ending here.
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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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