Greg Egan, an Australian, is a master of intellectual dazzle who can still amaze hard-SF readers who know all the tricks and demand to be shown a new one. Quarantine
(1992) was his first novel, though his short stories in Britain's SF magazine Interzone
had already caused a stir. The quarantine of the title is a gigantic space-time bubble placed around Earth's orbit by unknown hands in 2034, making the stars and outer planets invisible and unreachable. Why? Investigating a pointless kidnapping, a resourceful cyber sleuth with a head full of computer add-ons stumbles on--and is forcibly recruited into--a technological conspiracy whose researches hint at the reason for the Bubble. It's there to protect the universe, or rather an infinite multiplicity of universes, from the destructive effects of human minds. In a ferociously intellectual argument Egan tackles the central weirdness of Quantum Mechanics, which is both the most successful and worryingly inexplicable theory of modern physics. Suppose it were possible for a thinking being to be consciously "smeared out" over the countless simultaneous probability states that according to QM are "collapsed" into a single reality when observed or measured? This happens to our hero, and the results are very strange indeed. Dizzying concepts and hardware overshadow the slightly flat characters, but it's a terrifically impressive book. - -David Langford
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'One of the genre's great ideas men' Times