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Luminous Paperback – Feb 7 2008

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Greg Egan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has won the John W. Campbell award for Best Novel and has been short listed for the Hugo three times.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Gets the neurons firing double time Dec 17 2004
By monkey mind - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent collection of hard sci-fi shorts. The stories start on a groudwork of scientific/mathematical speculations and soar from there, exploring a diverse range of themes. Egan can truly envelope you in another world, and show the consequences of the story's central idea.

Anyone with an innate curiousity for science/mathematics and a love of sci fi should definately check these out. I'm a little surprised that I'm the first reviewer.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Luminous - Greg Egan July 31 2007
By average - Published on
Format: Paperback
Luminous : Chaff - Greg Egan
Luminous : Mitochondrial Eve - Greg Egan
Luminous : Luminous - Greg Egan
Luminous : Mister Volition - Greg Egan
Luminous : Cocoon - Greg Egan
Luminous : Transition Dreams - Greg Egan
Luminous : Silver Fire - Greg Egan
Luminous : Reasons to Be Cheerful - Greg Egan
Luminous : Our Lady of Chernobyl - Greg Egan
Luminous : The Planck Dive - Greg Egan

An agent is sent to kill a geneticist who is working in a druglord controlled stronghold in the jungles of Colombia, and working on important brain altering research.

3.5 out of 5

An organisation is trying to trace a common maternal ancestor for recent humanity. A woman's geneticist boyfriend is dragged into this, and embarks on a long-term supercomputer project to track this.

A racist equivalent for men springs up, and the researching man decides to get subversive.

4 out of 5

A pair of researchers have found a defect in mathematics, where something can be true and false at the same time. This leads to them going on the run to keep the power of changing reality out of corporate hands, and leads them to a startling discovery.

"Alison gave me a strange look. "You still don't get it, do you, Bruno? You're still thinking like a Platonist. The universe has only been around for fifteen billion years. It hasn't had time to create infinities. The far side can't go on forever-because somewhere beyond the defect, there are theorems that don't belong to any system. Theorems that have never been touched, never been tested, never been rendered true or false.

"And if we have to reach beyond the existing mathematics of the universe in order to surround the far side . . . then that's what we'll do. There's no reason why it shouldn't be possible-just so long as we get there first.""

5 out of 5

A man steals a brain patch, and it is blackmarket, called Pandemonium, so no-one knows what it does. He tries it anywhere, and is quite severely affected.

4 out of 5

A private policeman investigates a bombing of a biological research centre looking into natal protection of babies, when he stumbles across the fact of the company moving anyone not died in the wool hetero away from the project, and realises they are also experimenting with preventing non-hetero births by controlling maternal stress factors.

4.5 out of 5

A man is creeped out when he finds out that while being frozen and scanned to be given software immortality as a Gleisner Robot, that there will be dreams involved.

3.5 out of 5

A CDC researcher looks into the agonising titular disease, and has to track it through a travelling dance and music scene, where a cult of sorts has grown up around it.

4 out of 5

A boy discovers he has a serious brain tumour, and it was causing him to be amazingly happy. Removed, he becomes despondent, and undergoes a new and extensive treatment eventually, with a form of brain network, to try and get back to a more useful life many years later.

4.5 out of 5

A man is hired to find a radiocative religious icon. The search turns deadly.

3.5 out of 5

Some polis residents, Diaspora style, perform a highly complex experiment regarding quantum physics and existence.

4 out of 5
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
great NEW science fiction April 18 2006
By AlexJB - Published on
Format: Paperback
greg egan is one of the few authors who's really breaking into new territory in "hard science" fiction. Luminous is a collection of shorts; like so much writing in that style, they just start to open up an idea, which can sometimes be frustrating, but it's all good stuff.

themes include speculation about the future results of our work with genetic manipulation, microbiology, neuroscience, genetics, nanotech. egan also has a website with 'supplemental materials' to back up the great stuff he writes about.

this is definitely not cowboys in space, or the same old robot stories.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Visionary, Intelligent Hard Science Fiction May 13 2008
By Judah - Published on
Format: Paperback
Egan has a magnificent imagination, because one hundred years from now this collection of short stories will still contain offerings within the realm of hard science fiction. I can read collections by Asimov and think 'how quaint, technology is already ahead of those assumptions,' but Egan writes centuries ahead.

The book challenged me as reader by making me think about issues I never considered, but may be relevant in a few dozen decades (Transition dreams, cortisone blockers in the womb.) I can't ask for more than that from my hard science fiction.

While I didn't like all the stories (Our Lady of Chernobyl), the good parts redefined my expectations. Five stars. A collection hard sci-fi fans should not miss.
Plenty of oomph with Egan's heavy science & detail Jan. 7 2010
By 2theD - Published on
Format: Paperback
Egan's other hard sci-fi books (Permutation City and Quarantine) have been read with much gusto while not being bogged down by all the new terminology and sciences. Likewise, many of the stories in the collection titled Luminous have a heavy hand in science but also have svelte figures of plots. The only story to go well over my head was the final story, Planck Dive. All the other were either fantastic is all regards (like Chaff, Luminous and Cocoon), had a semi-predictable ending but was still decent reads (like Mitochondrial Eve and Transition Dreams) or just lacked a certain amount of oomph at the end (like Mister Volition and Silver Fire). But the `bang for buck' factor is very high here!

Chaff - 5/5 - A cartel owned bioengineered section of the rainforest is resilient to any attack and produces useful substances as a b-product. An American geneticist has vanished from his government job and a spy is hired to track him down in this unforgiving jungle. 27 pages

Mitochondrial Eve - 4/5 - Humanity has been sampled and an organization declares that everyone has descended from one female from eons ago. Later, a rival group claims that everyone has actually originated from a sole male from the past. A study has been launched to find the truth. 29 pages

Luminous - 5/5 - The idea of a flaw in mathematics has turned into a reality and the proof its importance could either be harnessed or destroyed but who or what is actively pursuing the outcome? Surely the supercomputer Luminous can rummage through all the possible avenues! 41 pages

Mister Volition - 4/5 - A reality warping eye patch (ala Gibson's Virtual Light) projects lines of color into a man's world. The colors begin to make sense but the feedback (biofeedback to be more exact) is becoming overbearing. Is it volition or coercion? 20 pages

Cocoon - 5/5 - An improvement on the womb would allow it to block harmful drugs and other substances from entering the fetus. Who could possibly consider this an evil thing and blow up the research lab? By the way, please define `harmful substances' if you will! 38 pages

Transition Dreams - 3/5 - Prior to being downloaded into an android body, a man's is being given the speech about the process. Having been satisfied with the contract, he mulls the thought of trans-embodiment dreams which will occur but he will not remember. Dreams; they're a funny thing. 18 pages

Silver Fire - 3/5 - An endemic is popping up across the world and a local minor hotbed is in the American eastern seaboard. When the investigator tracks down a rave-like party which `caravans' to the west, which aspect of this party could possibly transmit the virus? 39 pages

Reasons to be Cheerful - 4/5 - A boy with a cancerous part of his brain becomes perpetually happy. However, when cured of the cancer he becomes plagued by the antithesis of bliss. Over the year he grovels through life until he is given the choice of selective enjoyment. Blessings are often double-sided. 41 pages

Our Lady of Chernobyl - 3/5 - An expensive relic is sought after. A detective is hired to hunt it down and solve the mystery of the courier's disappearance. If an obscure piece of art can cause murder, deceit and large monetary sums to change hands, how will the detective sift through the clout? 36 pages

The Planck Dive - 2/5 - A largely unintelligible story of black holes and the drive to dive into the hole to obtain infinite computation through digitizing the explorers' clones. That's about all I could decipher from it. 37 pages

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