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Quarantine [Paperback]

Greg Egan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Aug 1999
In the late 21st Century on Earth, Bioengineering and information systems have changed the face of humanity - you can be exactly who you want to be, but don't expect life to be any less uncertain in a world rife with religious cults and terrorism spawned by fear of the unknown. Then one night, the stars disappear - blocked out by 'The Bubble' which isolates the whole solar system. Humanity has been Quarantined - but why and more importantly still, by whom?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (12 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857985907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857985900
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,744,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Egan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has won the John W. Campbell award for Best Novel and has been short listed for the Hugo three times.

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

Book Description

'One of the genre's great ideas men' Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing! 11 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Greg Egan has come up with enough ideas in this book to get a lesser author through a career. His portrayal of quantum mechanics - a pretty abstruse subject - in real and visceral terms is something else, at points in the book i was genuinely astounded. As hard sci-fi goes this is granite; i have a physics degree and i can tell you that given his postulates, it's all rigorous stuff. in short, i can't recommend this book strongly enough.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't worry, it gets better... and better... 11 Oct 2000
Format:Paperback
I came across Greg Egan because someone had told me it was 'cyberpunk'. I'd finished Gibson and wanted more - more grit, more international megacorporations, more cyberwear.
And I got it, in 'Quarantine'. But that wasn't the point. The first quarter of so of the book is very cyber: neural modifications, private police, dodgy corporations all over the shop, and just when you think it's become boring, that Gibson did it first and better, Egan throws one of the best spins I've seen in recent science fiction and you find out what the raison d'etre of the book really is.
Whether or not you like cyberpunk as a genre has nothing to do with whether ot not you'll like Quarantine, although if you're already into it you'll get through the opening chapters better. It's really good old-fashioned speculative sci-fi, the sort that used to be set on alien worlds surrounded by spaceships, but which Egan has now set on a mid-21st century Earth - a brilliant fusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awsome book 13 Jan 2001
By paul
Format:Paperback
WOW, I was very impressed with Egan's use of science-fact in this book. But its where that goes, with the huge twist at the end that really makes this book great.
It's a great shame the book didnt end a few pages earlier though, i was quite let down the way the ending was all tied up. Thats the only reason i couldnt give it 5 stars.
It was the first book by Egan i have read, and i am looking for more...
P
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea 16 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just finished this, but to be honest was minded to stop with about 50 pages to go.

The book starts as a detective story, set on Earth in the nearish future. There are no spaceships, Space Marines, interstellar travel, different worlds or alien races (except some of these are hinted at). The Earth and society itself is fairly recognisable, with mention of wars and invasions and terrorism, but no real changes to day to day life. Apart from the neural mods (apps for the mind) which are very very similar to those in Infoquake (David Louis Edelman).

The future-set detective story is OK I guess, but I a not a fan of detective stories. Then in the second half the story shifts to being a hard-SF quantum physics thriller, which required too much brain power and concentration for me to enjoy, and once you take on-board the mind-blowing idea(s) the plot is quite simple and overall I didn't find the second half that interesting or enjoyable.

The writing itself is fine, and I can appreciate the idea of starting as a detective story then leaping to something else, but to me it didn't work. But that may be wholly because I like space opera (Reynolds, Banks, Hamilton) SF rather than gritty less-fantastic SF.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little hard to take 19 Nov 2010
By ChrisF
Format:Paperback
A few years back my first Greg Egan discovery was Diaspora which I love and have re-read a number of times. Since his books are hard to find in the U.S., I recently ordered several titles, including this one, from the UK amazon. Quarantine, copyright in 1992, is quite early Egan and makes a fine showpiece for Egan's creativity at this stage, and shows the potential for the works we now have. The reading experience, however, was a fairly difficult slog. Some exposure to quantum mechanics (as I have) may be handy, but didn't help untangle the obscure knots. I found myself calling out, enough already, get on with the tale! Once in a while a nice plot turn temporarily saved the day, but too much of the time I was reading just to finish it off.
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Format:Kindle Edition
This is my first read of a Greg Egan book. It is written in the first-person, present tense - which might be important to some readers. It is the first part of a loose trilogy, written in the early 1990's. I don't know the author's background but I'm fairly sure he has some qualification in the sciences.

The first third of the novel sets up a mystery surrounding a missing person and introduces the main character. It is an extremely well-written segment with that first-person, present tense style adding to the tension. The main character is developed slowly and thoroughly, though ancillary characters are less well described. The near future world of the setting is very imaginatively built; the technology of the time is inventive and believable.

The second two-thirds of the novel is very heavy on the science of quantum theory, with the story line suffering at its expense. I can't say that I always followed every aspect of the physics but the concepts under discussion kept me interested, even if they were overly drawn out. Unfortunately, the story didn't quite come together by the end, with the explanation of the science theory overwhelming the fictional "mystery".

Certainly, I enjoyed reading this book and found Mr Egan's ideas intriguing. Its a pity, though, that the underlying mystery story didn't maintain its prominence to the last page. I'll read the next in the series at some stage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Erratic nature of human consciousness "quarantined"
The first book of his I have ever read. It sets out at an investigative pace in 2034 that makes the reader start asking questions at the outset about how humans may engage with... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Verdana
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
Thoroughly enjoyable read. Does help to have some prior knowledge of Quantum Theory. Definitely a book that makes you think, which can only be a good thing.
Published 12 months ago by cheryl
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant
One of the best sci-fi books I have read in a long time - absolutely brilliant. However if you don't have some prior knowledge of quantum mechanics then you might find it tough... Read more
Published on 20 July 2010 by HardSciFi
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film-noir sci-fi spoilt by too much quantum mechanics.
On the whole, I think I enjoyed this book - film noir sci-fi, sort-of Sam Spade meets the Neuromancer. Read more
Published on 14 April 2010 by Willy Eckerslike
5.0 out of 5 stars !!!Concept Vertigo!!!
Firstly; watch out for plot spoiler reviews!!
(it's not a mystery tour if you know where your heading)

Egan's work is 'Hard' Sci-Fi of the highest order. Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2010 by numpty
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I like hard science fiction & am not daunted by scientific concepts being essential to the plot but this book just didn't work for me - it's well-written from the point of view of... Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2009 by Roger Cawkwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Courageous
Lively, well written SF which is packed with more than its fair share of ingenious, well presented ideas in the first 100 pages. Read more
Published on 1 Feb 2003 by Cornelius Driessen
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