By the year 2975, humanity has wandered down several widely divergent evolutionary paths. ""Flesher"" life is that which resides in a basically human body, though genetically engineered mutations have created communication problems throughout the species. In the ""polises,"" meanwhile, disembodied but self-aware artificial intelligences procreate, interact, make art and attempt to solve life's mathematical mysteries. Then there are the ""gleisners,"" which are conscious, flesher-shaped robots run by self-aware software that is linked directly to the physical world through hardware. Throughout, Egan (Distress) follows the progress of Yatima, an orphan spontaneously generated by the non-sentient software of the Konishi polis. Yatima gains self-awareness, meets with Earthly fleshers and, when tragedy strikes, becomes personally involved in the greatest search for species survival ever undertaken. Though the novel often reads like a series of tenuously connected graduate theses and lacks the robust drama and characterizations of good fiction, fans of hard SF that incorporates higher mathematics and provocative hypotheses about future evolution are sure to be fascinated by Egan's speculations. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998 Release date: 02/01/1998 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 346 pages - 978-0-575-08209-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-18687-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-06-105798-4
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.