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Crystal Nights and Other Stories

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The nine stories in Greg Egan's new collection range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants. In "Lost Continent", a time traveler seeking refuge from a war-torn land faces hostility and bureaucratic incompetence. "Crystal Nights" portrays a driven man s moral compromises as he chases an elusive technological The nine stories in Greg Egan's new collection range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants. In "Lost Continent", a time traveler seeking refuge from a war-torn land faces hostility and bureaucratic incompetence. "Crystal Nights" portrays a driven man s moral compromises as he chases an elusive technological breakthrough, while in "Steve Fever" the technology itself falls victim to its own hype. "TAP" brings us a new kind of poetry, where a word is more powerful than a thousand images. "Singleton" shows us a new kind of child, born of human DNA modeled in a quantum computer who, in "Oracle", journeys to a parallel world to repay a debt to an intellectual ancestor. "Induction" chronicles the methods and motives behind humanity s first steps to the stars. "Border Guards" reflects on the painful history of a tranquil utopia. And in the final story, "Hot Rock", two immortal citizens of the galaxy-spanning Amalgam find that an obscure, sunless world conceals mind-spinning technological marvels, bitter factional struggles, and a many-layered secret history. Greg Egan is the author of seven novels and over fifty short stories. He is a winner of the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.


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The nine stories in Greg Egan's new collection range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants. In "Lost Continent", a time traveler seeking refuge from a war-torn land faces hostility and bureaucratic incompetence. "Crystal Nights" portrays a driven man s moral compromises as he chases an elusive technological The nine stories in Greg Egan's new collection range from parables of contemporary human conflict and ambition to far-future tales of our immortal descendants. In "Lost Continent", a time traveler seeking refuge from a war-torn land faces hostility and bureaucratic incompetence. "Crystal Nights" portrays a driven man s moral compromises as he chases an elusive technological breakthrough, while in "Steve Fever" the technology itself falls victim to its own hype. "TAP" brings us a new kind of poetry, where a word is more powerful than a thousand images. "Singleton" shows us a new kind of child, born of human DNA modeled in a quantum computer who, in "Oracle", journeys to a parallel world to repay a debt to an intellectual ancestor. "Induction" chronicles the methods and motives behind humanity s first steps to the stars. "Border Guards" reflects on the painful history of a tranquil utopia. And in the final story, "Hot Rock", two immortal citizens of the galaxy-spanning Amalgam find that an obscure, sunless world conceals mind-spinning technological marvels, bitter factional struggles, and a many-layered secret history. Greg Egan is the author of seven novels and over fifty short stories. He is a winner of the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

30 review for Crystal Nights and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teo 2050

    2014.09.10–2020.02.15 Contents (note: all of these—except my favorite, TAP—are contained in the larger collection Oceanic) Egan G (2009) Crystal Nights and Other Stories 1. Lost Continent (2008) 2. Crystal Nights (2008) 3. Steve Fever (2007) 4. TAP (1995) 5. Induction (2007) 6. Singleton (2002) 7. Oracle (2000) 8. Border Guards (1999) 9. Hot Rock (2009) 2014.09.10–2020.02.15 Contents (note: all of these—except my favorite, TAP—are contained in the larger collection Oceanic) Egan G (2009) Crystal Nights and Other Stories 1. Lost Continent (2008) 2. Crystal Nights (2008) 3. Steve Fever (2007) 4. TAP (1995) 5. Induction (2007) 6. Singleton (2002) 7. Oracle (2000) 8. Border Guards (1999) 9. Hot Rock (2009)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arkuat

    I don't know of any short-story collection by Egan that I don't love, but I am really enjoying my second reading of this anthology, particularly the final story, "Hot Rock", an Amalgam story like "Riding the Crocodile", and very reminiscent of Egan's novel /Schild's Ladder/, which is one of my favorites of his. (ETA: Just finished, and the ending is satisfying as well.) I don't know of any short-story collection by Egan that I don't love, but I am really enjoying my second reading of this anthology, particularly the final story, "Hot Rock", an Amalgam story like "Riding the Crocodile", and very reminiscent of Egan's novel /Schild's Ladder/, which is one of my favorites of his. (ETA: Just finished, and the ending is satisfying as well.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Agenor

    Some stories were really good, some a bit less.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Miles

    Just read the titular story, rating based on that

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sullyaugustine

    2 stars out of 5 - I read a hardbound from the library over the past few evenings. A couple of the stories were excellent, but I struggled with others, and I abandoned a couple of the stories which got so abstruse as to be unreadable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    The first thing you need to know is that Greg Egan has axes to grind. His science fiction is as hard and sharp-edged as he can make it. He extrapolates rigorously, and stares unflinchingly at the implications of quantum theory, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and personality uploading for human beings and human societies. Sometimes this makes Egan seem really rather angry, as in the collection's title story, with its titular allusion to the events of 9-10 November 1938. The story is di The first thing you need to know is that Greg Egan has axes to grind. His science fiction is as hard and sharp-edged as he can make it. He extrapolates rigorously, and stares unflinchingly at the implications of quantum theory, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and personality uploading for human beings and human societies. Sometimes this makes Egan seem really rather angry, as in the collection's title story, with its titular allusion to the events of 9-10 November 1938. The story is didactic —all of these stories are, to some extent—and yes, Egan's urge to teach us is sometimes so powerful that it gets in the way of the tale, weakening instead of strengthening Egan's points. We are supposed to equate the forced evolution of artificial intelligences in a simulated environment with Kristallnacht—with multiple Kristallnachts, and while Egan makes a good case for this belief, he also manages to Godwinize himself in the process. But... even with all of this sturm und drang, Egan remains capable of telling a good story. Ali, the protagonist of "Lost Continent," is a likeable character whose sidestep through time makes for some poignant commentary on refugees closer to home; Robert Storey, the embattled British mathematician and veiled parallel of "Oracle," evokes sympathy; and I stayed up late to finish "Hot Rock," the story that concludes the collection (with its worldbuilding worthy of Hal Clement or Robert L. Forward), to find out what happened to Azar and Shelma. For even though Egan peppers his tales with cutting-edge science, and despite his uncompromising (and sometimes fiercely disapproving) view of human frailties and beliefs, he never forgets to give us characters who are warm, compassionate beings—people we can care about. And it's that, quite apart from the speculative pyrotechnics, that keeps me reading his work.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kolya Matteo

    Most of these stories are really 3-stars ("liked it"), but the last story "Hot Rock" is very good, and "Steve Fever" and "Lost Continent" are also probably worth 4 stars. A nitpick: In "Oracle", people apparently take their mother's last name as their own—so Turing is named Stoney, and Lewis is named Hamilton—but this doesn't actually make sense, since if their mothers had also been given their own mother's last names, and so on, they'd have different family names going back to generations immemo Most of these stories are really 3-stars ("liked it"), but the last story "Hot Rock" is very good, and "Steve Fever" and "Lost Continent" are also probably worth 4 stars. A nitpick: In "Oracle", people apparently take their mother's last name as their own—so Turing is named Stoney, and Lewis is named Hamilton—but this doesn't actually make sense, since if their mothers had also been given their own mother's last names, and so on, they'd have different family names going back to generations immemorial.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alea Teeters

    Most of the setups were phenomenal. Follow through varied: one was amazing, most were pretty good, and one ending was a terribly over-moralizing cop-out. Overall, I was intrigued by the imagination coupled with hard science.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pedro Marroquín

    Ningún relato es especialmente memorable, porque en los que la ciencia es interesante/accesible la ficción ni importa demasiado; y en los que la ficción/personajes interesan, la ciencia es aburrida/inaccesible (para mi). Solo a destacar el relato que da nombre a la colección y el último- Hot Rock

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cyborgemu

    (3.7) Lost Continent (4.8) Crystal Nights (4.3) Steve Fever (4.8) TAP (3.9) Induction (4.8) Singleton (4.2) Oracle (4.4) Border Guards (4.5) Hot Rock

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Read the title story. Good, plug in modern science at high speed evolution. Techies stuff, but no awe.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rich Brown

    2.5. Tedious. Several of these stories do the same thing — make the once-amazing idea of the many-worlds *dull*.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike Sullivan

  14. 4 out of 5

    N F

  15. 4 out of 5

    D_Malik

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Archer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lois

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Clark

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dylan McLaughlin

  21. 4 out of 5

    ZenithRV

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Littlefield

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan Armstrong

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack Sharp

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill Reynolds

  28. 4 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Q

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathir Kavi

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