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Quarantine by Greg Egan

Quarantine (1992)

by Greg Egan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (asalamon, moietmoi)
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    In Search Of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality by John Gribbin (hungeri)
    hungeri: A good scientific book and a sci-fi based on the same subject. The scientific base of the sci-if is strong, but as it is a fiction, you can relax and enjoy it without a worry about "but is it true", "can it be true?". That worry is for books on science.

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English (9)  French (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Early classic Egan -- the stars disappeared when the solar system was enclosed in the Bubble, but that's many years past when the book starts. Instead the novel begins with a simpler disappearance, that of a young woman of very limited intellectual capacity. Told in full sf-noir fashion, from the mysterious client to the obligatory "knock the hero unconscious" scenes, Egan eventually works his way back to the Bubble and resolves both mysteries but that's not what the story is about. Think Bear's Blood Music rather than Effinger's When Gravity Fails. Two science fictional concepts dominate: the observer effect on multiple quantum states, and behavioral modification technology that enables conscious control of emotions, a theme explored so well in Egan's short story Reasons to be Cheerful. Though the novel became less effective for me as the "quantum catastrophe" of the subtitle played out, this remains a worthwhile read. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jul 8, 2013 |
Good hard SF ( )
  SChant | Apr 27, 2013 |
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
Egan is one of the few writers who knows enough physics to put the science in science fiction. He does it with enough credibility to make it interesting even to experts. At the same time, he goes to great lengths to make the subject intelligible to casual readers as well.

The novel takes seriously a certain scenario proposed to interpret quantum mechanics. At issue is so-called "collapse", which is the process through which the quantum world appears classical to our senses. The subject of interpretations of quantum mechanics is rich with different possibilities for implementing collapse. Egan picks one of the more dramatic ones and logically extrapolates its consequences. A brilliant piece of hard SF, even if the scenario explored in it does not quite correspond to the real world.

At the same time, he does not fail to paint a realistic picture of a near future world, where bio- and neuro-technologies have had significant impact on human lives. Sometimes technology makes our lives better, but sometimes it only reinforces some of our pathologies.

As usual, there is also a moral point (if it can be called that) tackled by the story. Egan explores the introduction of an unsubstantiated axiom into the human thought process. Anyone familiar with basic logic can realize that simply throwing in an extra axiom (aka assertion or belief) may render the entire logical system inconsistent. In that case, a person can in principle be convinced of anything, no matter how morally reprehensible, with disastrous consequences. Although the situation described in Quarantine is both fictional and somewhat artificial, it is not hard to see a cautionary line of dots pointing to the many very real irrational beliefs held by regular people, including religion and superstition.

As always, highly thought provoking. ( )
1 vote igor.kh | Feb 18, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Eganprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Békési, JózsefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bollinger, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gudynas, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Only the most paranoid clients phone me in my sleep.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061054232, Mass Market Paperback)

It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it's all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the late 21st century life can still be uncertain, even when one takes account of the amazing advances in bioengineering and information systems. Then, one night the stars disappear and the Earth is in quarantine but nobody can work out why. Originally published: London: Legend, 1992.… (more)

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