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Permutation City Paperback – 7 Feb 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (7 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082076
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 2.5 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

What would happen if you could copy your memories and personality into a computer generated universe, live there, and return? Greg Egan, author of Quarantine explores the possibilities in this suspenseful book. Battles rage on different levels as computer personalities on a locked chip fight to escape. Meanwhile sticky legal questions are raised in the real world. Think about the copyright laws, and what about the legal rights of computer programs? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 10 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
In the twenty first century it has become possible to noninvasively scan a human brain and implement the resulting data on a computer: Copies of human beings are alive and well in virtual reality.
Few science fiction writers can run as far with the implications as Greg Egan. Copies are just the premise, and before long we are in much deeper waters as one man begins to question the fundamental nature of reality. It's a magnificent exploration of the true implications of computationalism. If you feel the same when you're scanned and run on a supercomputer, would it feel the same to be run on a billion abacus over a billion years? To be accidentally implemented by the random shuffling of atoms across countless universes? Go read it and feel your mind boggle.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in 1994. It still crops up daily in my mind. What would you do if your soul was offered immortality? Would you accept the offer? If not, why? And if you do, how would you spend the rest of eternity? There are passages in the book that I find I live my life by. I don't want to give the plot away - but if you are at all interested in the riddle of where the border between external and internal reality lies you will enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
Set in the mid 21st century, this sci-fi novel, like Egan's later novel Diaspora, ties together many fascinating scientific and metaphysical ideas in a single book (The emphasis is very definitely on the "sci"). However, unlike Diaspora, there is a strong central theme underlying the story, a baffling idea called the "Dust theory". Any attempt to describe that theory here would be pointless, but I can say that it compels the reader to ponder some fundamental questions about the nature of reality. The theory is completely absurd yet not all that easy to refute. It has certainly caused me a few headaches... The dust theory is motivated and explained via another key theme in both this book and Diaspora - the concept of having a human "download" his mind onto a computer. Aside from the suspension of disbelief required in order to accept that such a thing is possible, Egan presents us with a well-thought-out and plausible scenario regarding these downloaded humans or "copies".
There are several other themes, of lesser importance, but fascinating in their own right, notably the "Autoverse": A piece of software that allows you to have complete control over your own virtual mini-universe - a world capable of modelling objects as complex as bacteria, down to the level of individual atoms.
Well that's the sci part. The human story behind all this doesn't have much intrinsic interest - the characters are vehicles for the ideas, and often one gets the impression that it is Egan who is speaking, not the character (they all seem to be uncannily good at making detached, intelligent comments on whatever is happening). This aspect didn't really bother me, as I think the ideas deserved some detached, intelligent commentary anyway.
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Format: Paperback
This book introduces the concept of running 'Copies' of people on computers on the very 1st page. But it is about so much more than Artificial Inteligence. Greg Egan explores concepts of existance and consciousness that I never knew existed.
This is just a SF book, but it has still changed my perspective of the world.
Read it and then think.
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Format: Paperback
This is not just sci-fi. It's a philosophical masterpiece.

If the following terms mean something to you, then you will absolutely love this book. If not, you should Google each of them, then read this book as quickly as possible. You will never think the same way again.

Cellular automata (Conway's Game of Life or "Wolfram NKS")
Turing test
Universal computer
Solipsism
Relativity
Quantum suicide

MMcA
"I exist because I exist." (You'll get it, trust me...)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really don't know why Greg Egan is not that famous. In fact, I have recently found a whole article in tor.com with the title: "Why Isn’t Greg Egan A Superstar?" I suspect this is because he focuses on making his stories so scientifically consistent that it becomes a bit difficult for a reader to understand without any background to the related scientific fields.
However, myself being a research student in the field of brain-inspired artificial intelligence, this is definitely my favourite scifi book so far and I totally recommend it!
It has evoked countless discussions with my friends about various philosophical issues and changed my views on many things.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I actually had a tear in my eye reading the final scene in this book... and if you ever get there you'll understand how strangely ironic that is.
Can't recommend this one highly enough. And as someone else here says, it gets better with every read. The tiny details you may skip over the first time play such an important part in the ideas Mr. Egan is trying to convey.
The opening anagram poem is fantastic in itself... almost a perfect description of the concepts in itself, and presented as the work of a 'madman'.
Beautiful work 10/10
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Format: Paperback
Utterly brilliant book. Logical, scientific, exciting. I can't be bothered to write more but if you are the kind of person who would watch something like the Matrix but wish it was more scientific or took concepts further then this is a great book. But to compare it to the matrix is an insult. I just want to get something down so I can give it 5 stars. Give it a read.
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