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Quarantine Paperback – 12 Aug 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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: 11.1 x 1.9 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,256,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

The debut novel of the master of hard SF reissued

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 July 2001
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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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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Format: Paperback
I was hoping for something a bit more when I decided to read Quarantine by Greg Egan. The concept was excellent, and it started off well. But in the end, it descended into technical explanations that ruined the story for me. Those who are less into story and more into "thinking" might love it, however.

The basics of the story work for me. In the future, you can download your brain to live online, and that's a big business. The story revolves around a private investigator who has to figure out the disappearance of a mentally disabled lady. She has the ability to escape from seemingly secure holding areas, and that means she's found a way to manipulate the concept of parallel universes. This has to do with the ability to collapse universes that have spawned as part of all the billions of possibilities that could happen with every choice that someone makes.

Egan does a good job of playing with the Schroedinger's Cat situation... at what point does your observation become the reality that you see and that actually happened. The only problem I had is that too much of the story ended up devolving into theory related to that angle. For those who want to think deeply about that scenario, this would be a good read. For those who are more interested in the story line, it slowed dramatically at that point, and I could have done with less of that.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
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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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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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