Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
Bring Your Mind, But also a Magic Marker
am 5. Juli 1999
In "Distress", Greg Egan has provided a thought-provoking vision of the future, and a chilling view of the essence of reality. He creates a world filled with biotechnology wonders, and has created a place, "Stateless", based on these wonders. He then takes this world and weaves in a plot that dives into a stark philosophy of existence. His view point is that man can assume he is no more than matter and information. But Egan does not despair at that view, but rather uses his two main characters, Violet Mosala and Andrew Worth, to show its power. As Mosala, the physicist, finishes a Theory of Everything, Worth takes his experiences in the book to reconcile the implications of the theory. Alone, the TEO would reverberate through time causing a fatal illness "Distress", but Worth solves that dilemma, and opens a new perspective for mankind.
But don't think you can read this book casually (I made that mistake). The physics is unforgiving (brush up on the integration of the forces of nature, and on the latest theories of space as a dance of virtual particles). And bring a magic marker. The first time you hit a new name, or ANY time there is a reference to one of a myriad of anti- or pro-science groups, highlight it. That will allow you to go back and understand how the actions of that person or group from two hundred pages back, motivate what is happening where you are reading.
This type of book demonstrates that the fiction novel market should break convention and include (heresy here) indexes and tables in books to help the reader. It is this problem of complex and distance references, plus some dangling plot threads, that keep me from rating this higher.