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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  473 ratings  ·  42 reviews
“Instantiation” is a collection of eleven science fiction stories by Hugo Award winning author Greg Egan:

• “The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine”
• “Zero For Conduct”
• “Uncanny Valley”
• “Seventh Sight”
• “The Nearest”
• “Shadow Flock”
• “Bit Players”
• “Break My Fall”
• “3-adica”
• “The Slipway”
• “Instantiation”
Kindle Edition, 413 pages
Published January 23rd 2020 by Greg Egan
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May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Greg Egan writes brilliant, mind bending, hard SF. More often than not the maths and the science go over my head but I love the ideas and he also has great characters, fully human (even the AI ones! Which is kind of the point, one of the great SF themes is :what is consciousness, what makes us human?). He often takes stories into a different direction to what I’m expecting. This first story in this collection, The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine ,is the perfect example, an easy 5*. It asks ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a collection of hard SF short stories, quite diverse in scope and quality. I read is as a part of monthly reading for August 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group.

Greg Egan is one of just a few relatively popular SF authors, working in the sub-genre of hard-SF, unlike more popular softer SF with interpretations of modern political issues (which are important), which seems in favor right now. These stories have been already published by Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, Tor.c
Matt Hodson
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it
A good but unspectacular read. I’m a big fan of classic Greg and these modern short stories are interesting and clever, but it’s striking that his stories from 25 - 30 years ago were more visionary of the future than these. Frankly it was difficult to believe his early insights into the future, now they are almost humdrum.

Perhaps it’s just that short stories are wrong for him- not allowing enough meat on the bones. That is borne out by the fact that by far the highlight of this collection was a
Arturo Serrano
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's a lot of rubbish circulating around in the science-fiction market. A treasure like this book is what makes it worth one's time to browse through the rubbish. ...more
Antti Värtö
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Egan has written very large-scale SF, where civilization has spread out throughout the galaxy and traveling at near-light-speed is an everyday occurence (e.g. Schild's Ladder). Lately he's been writing stories where due to unusual circumstances or weird physics a relatively low-tech society can achieve feats impossible to us, such as generation ships or space elevators (The Clockwork Rocket, Phoresis).

But most recently he's been focused on stories like Zendegi: near-future stories about te
Simona Vesela
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is Greg Egan. Need I add more?
If I was to recommend only one story it would be:
-for people with maths or physics backgrounds: The Slipway-It all starts with a peculiar astronomical observation
-for others: Seventh Sight-Colours are cool, but what if there were more of them?

Pavel Lishin
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a ding-dong, I had not realized that Bit Players and 3-Adica were set in the same universe until I read this collection. ...more
Claus Dohrn
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Delicious warping of my mind

I hope this author proves industrious. Fast-working. Because I want MORE! (flashing Megalodon smile)

Excellent. Buy it. If you don't like it, stamp 'FAILED, DISCARD' across your forehead and fade gracefully.
Anthony O'Connor
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not bad

But not his best. Most of the stories just drag on a bit, ramble around, and fail to really grab the attention. I did enjoy the ones about sentient non-player characters mapped from real brain scans and trapped in games/simulations serving the needs of perverse overlords and desperate to escape their lot. Aren’t we all?
Kshitij Dewan
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved that (almost) every story could stand alone, but that they all took place with reference to each other. that they all built on the preceding ones.
Kam Yung Soh
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of Egan's recent stories, this collection shows the strength and breath of the author's imagination in stories that span from personal crisis, financial and biological, to ones that envelop the whole world and involve characters that think about and solve complex problems. “The Slipway” stands out as a story that involves scientists solving an astronomical problem, yet remains personal by showing that scientists are human and argue about but finally agree on the solution to a Hard S ...more
Teo 2050


Egan G (2020) Instantiation

01. The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine (2017)
02. Zero For Conduct (2013)
03. Uncanny Valley (2017)
04. Seventh Sight (2014)
05. The Nearest (2018)
06. Shadow Flock (2014)
07. Bit Players (2014)
08. Break My Fall (2014)
09. 3-adica (2018)
10. The Slipway (2019)
11. Instantiation (2019)
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Greg Egan’s latest short story collection “Instantiation” consists of 11 hard science fiction stories that were published between 2013 and 2019.

His ideas on how technology and science might evolve are as interesting and mindblowing as ever, and you get a quite diverse set of them here. Just to name a few examples:

-What would happen if gravity would pull you sideways instead of downwards?
-How would life in a universe look like if its geometry were 3adic instead of euclidian?
-What if you could tra
Richard S
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Egan doesn't give the same level of care and attention to these stories as he does to his novels. They almost read like abandoned novels, ideas that aren't fully developed and explored. Still, "bad" Greg Egan is better than - well just about anything else sci-fi out there - so this was well worth reading, and as usual, his ideas, rather than the characters, carry the story. Nothing really stuck out as being particularly good (or bad) for that matter. Egan is not a "stylist" or even arguably an " ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it

Seventh sight - quantum dot camera retinal implants that let you see far more of the visible spectrum and in far more detail. Really cool concept and the story flowed really well.

The nearest - a rash of people suffer a brain defect where even the people closest to them - husband, wives, kids - appear as strangers whom they don’t recognize - automata that have replaced their loved ones. Reminded me of an Oliver Sacks story about a particular kind of damage suffered by someone who’d
Carol Chapin
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While I'm a long-time fan of Greg Egan's work, his prose was somewhat lacking from a literary perspective. While his ideas are always fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing itself was not as well executed. Not so with this book. This book is a collection of short stories, themed mostly about the near future and AI (but not exclusively). The stories are well written, and each and every one of them has an interesting character dynamic as well as the author's brilliant take on some social a ...more
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm so torn on everything Greg Egan. Every once in a while, a short story of his will absolutely blow me away with its premise and storytelling - but just as often, he'll delve into a detailed thought experiment revolving around pure mathematics or physics and never surface back into any sort of plot.

I loved "The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine", "The Nearest", and "Uncanny Valley" (although the last two are available to read for free through his website). "Seventh Sight" was kind of intere
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Collection of short stories with a near-future hard sci-fi that focus on human condition in the post-AI period.The last few stories made up for the stultifying earlier ones. Few ideas explored in multiple interlinked stories really stood out for me:
* Multiple recycled human memories combined into a single entity called "composite" are digitized as bits to play host to real consumers in VR games. They become sentient and try to prolong their “life” by exploiting bugs in the software to migrate th
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
High points:
• “The Slipway”
• “Zero For Conduct”
• “Bit Players” / “3-adica” / “Instantiation” (effectively a novella in 3 parts)
• “Seventh Sight”
• “Break My Fall”

Mixed points
• “The Discrete Charm of the Turing Machine” - strong premise, but feels like an anti-tech-industry author screed instead of a real exploration of the idea
• “The Nearest” - great premise, love the afflicted viewpoint, but the resolution feels implausible

Low points
• “Uncanny Valley”- just dull, supposed to be about searching f
This is the second collection of short stories by Greg Egan I read (and a third book of his), and it proved to me how masterful he is with short form.

Most of the stories, despite them being as hard sci-fi as could be, were accessible and enjoyable. Only "3-adica" and "The Slipway" stories matched Egan's reputation for fiction requiring STEM degree to fully enjoy. I, for one, would certainly enjoy them more if I had a STEM background and could understand better what was going on.

Highly recommend
Dreaming Though Awake
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a great collection, but I had read the best of them, ie, the Sagreda trilogy , Uncanny valley and Zero for Conduct already in the Best of Greg Egan.

The remaining stories however were not near as good.
The best among them was The Discrete charm of the Turing machine. I quite loved it's concept.

Seventh sight was great as well.

The Nearest was great but not sure it classifies as sci fi.

The rest however were unfinished constructs with good conceptualization but not delivering all it could. The
David Chess
Mar 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Pretty good hard SF, AI and cosmology and etc.

These are definitely fun reads. Some of them get slow at times, especially if you aren't into scientific and mathematical exposition. The author writes characters who are all sort of rational and smart and similar to each other, because what he's really interested in is the ideas, more than the people. But given that, these are well written, interesting, and thought provoking.
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bria by: Michael Raimondi
I think the titular story and the others in that universe were the most compelling - unnerving really - and the rest of them were mildly interesting vignettes focusing on one aspect of modern technology in society that were fine enough of themselves if they had been by a different author, but out of Egan I usually expect something much more far-reaching in both time and scope.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved old Egan; new stuff still has some good ideas but seems overwhelmed with melancholy. I also sense a lot of political influence in the way he designs characters now. Nearly every one seems set up to prove a point rather than explore an interesting science fiction question.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really strong hard sci-fi!
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not a patch on Axiomatic.
Steve Pearson
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Not great, but good.
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Egan has still got it!
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Most of these stories started way too early and then ended unsatisfyingly abruptly.
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SFF Hot from Prin...: August 2020 - Instantiation (No spoilers) 24 18 Sep 03, 2020 10:05AM  

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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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