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Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan

Schild's Ladder (2001)

by Greg Egan

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Recently added byprivate library, ObiWanCanOweMe, lyrrael, shh, rmc28, JaredMcLaine, edwincoleman
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    Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds (AndrewL)
    AndrewL: Similar far-future story device

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The math/physics quickly lost me, but I really love Egan's far-future people and their moral dilemmas about what it means to be human. And the evolution of sex/gender makes me happy. Basically fantastic world-building, less fantastic plot, especially toward the end where things get so utterly weird it's hard to relate to anything. But also that's kind of the point, so. Solid Egan book, not my favorite of his but I still desperately want his vision of the future to come true.

The absolute best thing about this book is the eponymous concept: a way to ensure that, as you grow and change, you are still true to yourself. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
Science fiction (is that what you kids still call it these days?) has a tough time keeping itself out there ahead of where real science is already treading. I suppose that is why fantasy fiction so dominates the market.

Egan posits a far future galaxy where Earth is the sole source of evolved life and where the pace of discovery and knowledge has not slackened one jot from the 20th century. Our knowledge of quantum particles, effects and theory has moved on in a, well, quantum leap. Faced with a cataclysmic quantum event that is slowly swallowing the known universe humanity has split into two factions, big-endian/little-endian style if you ask me, bent on destroying the phenomenon or forcing mankind to adapt and thus re-energize a stagnating culture.

Most of this book was incomprehensible to me, dealing with technical arcana I could not possibly follow and social intercourseI was not sure if I was supposed to gasp at or accept as just another cultural evolution. Perhaps this was the point - putting the reader into a world so advanced that much of what passes as normal is incomprehensible to us.

The characters and their inner worlds are there to guide us through this strange land, but in this case I found none of them attractive, none of them really worthy of support and none of them that I cared about at all, let alone enough.

Maybe this book is for the hard-core genre reader rather than the casual dipper like me, but I found myself glad not to live in that universe and have to read books like this about it. ( )
  pierthinker | Jul 21, 2012 |
Brilliant, just brilliant.............................very original, stimulating, well-written........................loved it! ( )
  malcrf | Jan 13, 2012 |
Nice transhuman world, but an average story. ( )
  JurviZ | Oct 15, 2010 |
To quote some country singer or other "baby did a bad, bad, thing". This is bad in the Sister Alice bad sense of the word.

As in screw up, destroy large chunks of galaxies.

The posthumans here have awesome technological capabilities at their fingertips, the ability to back up, live outside bodies, and all that stuff, but they still have to relate to each other.

They also have to come up with a way to stop this much greater than minor problem they have.

This one is mind melter taggable.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/04/schilds-ladder-greg-egan.html ( )
  makenew3 | Aug 18, 2009 |
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"In the beginning was a graph, more like diamond than graphite."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 006107344X, Paperback)

Greg Egan became the hottest new science-fiction author of the 1990s and won the Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial awards by extrapolating cutting-edge quantum physics and consciousness theory to create rigorous and radical new visions of the posthuman future. Schild's Ladder affirms Mr. Egan's place, with Olaf Stapledon and Poul Anderson, among the giants of cosmic-scale SF.

In Schild's Ladder, humanity has transcended both death and Earth, and discovered its home world is nearly unique as a cradle of life. As it spreads throughout the galaxy, humanity enjoys an almost utopian existence--until a scientist accidentally creates an impenetrable, steadily expanding vacuum that devours star systems and threatens the entire universe with destruction.

Tchicaya is a Yielder, member of the faction that believes this "novo-vacuum" deserves study. The opposing Preservationists--among them Mariama, his first love--seek to save worlds and destroy the novo-vacuum. Discord heats to terrorist violence; then enmities and alliances are turned upside-down by a discovery that may mean the novo-vacuum is, instead, a new and very different universe--and one which may contain life. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"For twenty thousand years, every observable phenomenon in the universe has been successfully explained by the Sarumpaet Rules." "Now Cass has stumbled on a set of quantum graphs that might comprise the fundamental particles of an entirely different kind of physics, and she has travelled three hundred and seventy light-years to Mimosa Station, a remote experimental facility, in the hope of bringing this tantalising alternative to life. The 'novo-vacuum' is predicted to begin decaying the instant it's created, but even a short-lived, microscopic speck could shed light on the origins of the universe." "Cass's experiment turns out to be wildly successful: the novo-vacuum is more stable than the ordinary vacuum around it, and a region on which the new physics holds sway proceeds to expand out from Mimosa at half the speed of light." "Six hundred years later, more than two thousand inhabited systems have been lost to the novo-vacuum. On board the Rindler, people have come from throughout inhabited space to study the phenomenon. Most are Preservationists, hunting for a way to turn back the tide, but a few belong to another faction, the Yielders, who believe that the challenge of adapting to survive on the far side of the border would reinvigorate a civilisation that has grown stale and insular." "Tchicaya has come to the Rindler as a Yielder, but when Mariama, a childhood friend who inspired him to abandon his own home world and traditions for a life of travel, arrives soon after, he is shocked to discover that she wants to destroy the novo-vacuum." "As a theoretical breakthrough reveals the true richness of the world behind the border, tensions between the opposing factions grow. Then a splinter group responds with violent, unilateral action, and Tchicaya and Mariama are forced into an uneasy alliance, travelling together through the border, balancing old and new loyalties against the fate of two incomparably different universes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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