Distress MOBI ↠ Hardcover


  • Hardcover
  • 480 pages
  • Distress
  • Greg Egan
  • Russian
  • 06 June 2014
  • 9785170853632

10 thoughts on “Distress

  1. Manuel Antão Manuel Antão says:

    If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewHausdorff Manifolds “Distress” by Greg Egan“At least two conflicting generalised measures can be applied to T the space of all topological spaces with countable basis Perrini’s measure Perrini 2012 and Saupe’s measure Saupe 2017 are both defined for all bounded subsets of T and are euivalent when restricted to M the space of n dimensional para compact Hausdorff manifolds but they yield contradictory results for sets of exotic spaces”In “Distress” by Greg Egan“’The physicists have it easy with their subject if not with me The universe can’t hide anything forget all that anthropomorphic Victorian nonsense about ‘prising out nature’s secrets’ The universe can’t lie; it just does what it does and there’s nothing else to it”In “Distress” by Greg EganEgan’s novel reminds me of one the best science books I read last year “Lost in Math” by Hossenfelder


  2. nostalgebraist nostalgebraist says:

    I may just be saying this because I'm intoxicated by the warm afterglow of the ending but I think this is one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read At the very least I'm now excited to read the rest of Egan's workOf this novel's virtues the most important to me is that its plot is driven by scientific and philosophical concepts Too much science fiction works the other way around the author begins by inventing whatever magical plot device they need and then proceeds to justify it by sprinkling their prose with a ritual offering of Science Words tachyons nanomachines uantum effects Some authors perform this routine at a very high level of sophistication and even take care to make their fairy dustings scientifically accurate as far as that is possible but there's still an unavoidable and unpleasant residue left by the brute fact that science is being used as a post hoc justification rather than a domain of knowledge to be explored and played with Egan on the other hand writes science fiction about real science not just in the sense that it's accurate enough to satisfy the rules lawyer types within SF fandom but in the sense that scientific ideas are the seed from which the rest of his novel grows Most of Distress takes place at a theoretical physics conference; several of the main characters are scientists or science journalists; all of the key plot twists are revelations of a scientific or philosophical nature Science isn't a pretext for space battles or glorified wizardry here It's what the story is aboutOn top of all that Distress is a good novel in many other senses It's very readable and the prose and characterization are better than you'd expect from a hard SF writer The pace is fast but not frenzied The plot is well constructed with various sub plots that link together in a pleasing fashion as Cozma Shalizi put it I don't think I've ever read a book which perfectly obeyed Chekov's Pistol Principle It's a book with a whole lot of cool stuff in it from a bioengineered anarchist utopia to the most abstract and mind twisting apocalypse I've ever seen in fictionIf there's something I don't like about Egan it's that his extrapolations of science into the human sphere are very hit and miss This is distinct from his actual grasp of science and from his actual character writing both of which are very good But his predictions of how society would respond to new scientific and technological advances are sometimes wildly off the mark For instance it's mentioned at one point that a novel drug has been invented which is rather like a moderate dose of alcohol or cannabis but without most of the side effects Sold in pill form it has managed to displace alcohol as the social drug of choice within a few decades after its introduction Yes people just stopped drinking and said goodbye to thousands of years of built up culture surrounding the preparation and consumption of alcohol and the enjoyment of its flavor Elsewhere we hear that a new surgical techniue can treat gender dysphoria by changing the brain's gender rather than the body and that 20% of patients choose this option rather than conventional sex reassignment surgery Barring some sort of radical change in how people view their minds and bodies and there is no evidence that such a change has happened in the Distress world who would want to change their mind their self to fit their body when the opposite change is eually feasible?In both of these cases Egan errs in the direction of assuming that people will happily adopt new technologies simply because they're there or because they're impressive as engineering feats More broadly I'd say Egan is just a bit too excited about science and technology It's not that that excitement is a bad thing it's infectious as a grad student who recently started working on a new scientific project I found this book actively inspiring and it causes no problems so long as Egan is writing about characters who have a similar passion When he erroneously generalizes this to the whole of society though it produces glaring glitches like the aboveWhen Egan actively chooses to address the existence of people who lack passion for science he errs in a somewhat different way In the world of Distress public resentment towards science has coalesced into a set of organizations that oppose scientific progress derisively referred to by their opponents as the Ignorance Cults Among the Cults are Mystical Renaissance an amalgamation of new age and mystical beliefs and Humble Science a radicalized outgrowth of academic science studies and humanistic arguments against scientism Members of both groups are in the habit of saying things like as one member of Mystical Renaissance says to a brilliant South African theoretical physicist It seems to me that your whole approach to these issues reflects a male Western reductionist left brained mode of thought How can you possibly reconcile this with your struggle as an African woman against cultural imperialism? My objection isn't that there aren't people in the real world who say things like this cf Sandra Newton's Principia is a rape manual Harding and Luce we have no good theory of turbulence because men can't understand things that flow Irigaray it's that they're mostly confined to academia and are viewed with derision by the small subset of the general public that is aware of them Public resentment of science is a real thing but if it were to assume some explicitly codified form it wouldn't look like this The only time these pseudo feminist criticisms of science only get heard outside of academia is when they're uoted by ideologues who want to use them as a brush with which to tar all feminists or professors or intellectuals and this propaganda works only because these views seems self evidently absurd to the average person It's hard not to feel like Egan has been taken in by someone's propaganda and has greatly overestimated the size of these views' natural audience It's possible that this is an artifact of the fact that this book was published in 1995 a year before the Sokal Hoax when tensions between science and the humanities were high in a way I don't think they are now Egan's enthusiasm for science leaves him unable to imagine reasonable critics of science; his anti science characters come off as absurd caricatures because to him the idea of criticizing science is pretty much absurd in itself Too strong? Probably Egan does introduce a sociologist character who seems to serve as a token representative of reasonable criticisms of science But then she disappears from the story almost immediately As usual I've spent a lot time writing about a book's flaws than its virtues Flaws are concrete and easy to describe; virtues are nebulous and slippery But it's a very good book and I'm very curious what the rest of Egan's oeuvre is like


  3. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    This one was too much for my poor old brain After a razzledazzle first chapter which jumped out of the page and danced me around the room yelling in my ears all the while it settled dowm to a steady bombardment of heavy heavy scientific concepts which may or may not make sense to some folks but left me burbling and drooling slightlyThis is what I mean The whole point of moving beyond the Standard Unified Field Theory is that one it's an ugly mess and two you have to feed ten completely arbitrary parameters into the euations to make them work Melting total space into pre space—moving to an All Topologies Model—gets rid of the ugliness and the arbitrary nature of the SUFT But following that step by tinkering with the way you integrate across all the topologies of pre space—excluding certain topologies for no good reason throwing out one measure and adopting a new one whenever you don't like the answers you're getting— seems like a retrograde step to me And instead of 'setting the dials' of the SUFT machine to ten arbitrary numbers you now have a sleek black box with no visible controls apparently self contained—but in realityyou're just opening it up and tearing out every internal component which offends you to much the same effect Okay So how do you get around that? Mosala said I believe we have to take a difficult stand and declare the probabilities just don't matter Forget the hypothetical ensemble of other universes Forget the need to fine tune the Big Bang This universe does exist This is SF for scientists I prefer SF where all you have to do is say wow loudly every twenty minutes


  4. Bradley Bradley says:

    In a lot of ways this is exactly what I hunt for in SF in general Give me hard science slather me in a hundred beautiful hard science ideas blow me away with high tech biotech computer science and especially the hardcore physics geekeryMind you this isn't any kind of soft cookie full of throwaway made up terms Egan goes for the jugular and explores as much science and possible science and fully realized future societies changed by total control Or somewhat total control Lots of magic bullets for diseases and gene editing and living by photosynthesis and hardware augments of all kinds including built in video recording such as that our MC uses as a reporterAnd all this is just a sweet setup for the beginning of the novel before he switches tracks from biotech to pure physics But wait isn't that a bit too much for readers to digest? Concept after concept?Oh sure probably but I'm one of those readers who LOVE to be slathered in concepts and be blown away by smarts Once the novel switches from bio to physics and the hunt for the Theory Of Everything things get wacky The part of the world he's sent to is all kinds of Anarcho syndicalism and what seems to be cults springing up around these leading scientists who are hot on the trail for not just the Grand Unified Theory but the math model that encompasses everything They're treating these theoreticians like gods Or prophets Or saintsAnd for a rather interesting reason This is a novel of Consensual Reality They believe that whoever reaches the most popular model of reality will thereby CREATE that reality It's a cool as hell idea supported by none other than REAL UANTUM THEORIES And so we're thrown into a thriller that leads to chaos and warfare political intrigue religious nuttery and no little exploration of sex in the rest of the potI had a great time I think this was my favorite of Greg Egan's Subjective Cosmology trilogy Now I should mention that the trilogy isn't a true trilogy in normal terms They're a trilogy in theme only They are very much standalone novels that don't intersect except in the Grand Idea and how much can be delvedHonestly I'm kinda blown away here I expected him to be a rather decent author but not one who is this adept at so many different fields of study and doesn't mind going wild or brave with the Big Ideas I've just gone from fan to fanboy It took a few novels but once I discovered how much depth and breadth he's willing to go across these few books I'm honestly amazed So yeah I think I'm going to go wild reading everything he's got


  5. Peter Tillman Peter Tillman says:

    I think I'll dispense with the plot summary this time if you like Eganyou've read a review or two by now If not look nearbyWhat I'll try to convey instead since the reviews I saw didn't is a sense of the richness and density of invention here Egan is one of our very best and he's playing the hard sf game with a taut net and a wicked backhandDistress is a look at Vinge's Singularity from a very different perspective Egan's imagination never flags a constant flow of ideas rich and strange layered in baroue complexity Half a dozen places where the hair rose up on the back of my neck I don't know about you folks but this is why I keep reading this stuff A spasm passed thru the victim's body A temporary pacemaker was forcing his damaged heart to beat operating at power levels that would poison every cardiac muscle fiber with electrochemical by products in 15 or 20 minutes at the most Pre oxygenated ersatz blood was being fed to his heart's left atrium in lieu of a supply from the lungs pumped thru the body once only then removed via the pulmonary arteries and discarded An open system was less trouble than recirculation in the short term The half repaired knife wounds in his abdomen and torso made a mess leaking thin scarlet fluid into the drainage channels of the operating tableIt's 2055 Reporter Andrew Worth is covering the temporary revival of a murder victimHis expression shifted rapidly; thru the pain there was a sudden flashof pure astonishment then almost amused comprehension of the full strangeness and maybe even the perverse virtuosity of feat to which he'd been subjected For an instant he really did look like someone admiring a brilliant vicious bloody practical joke Then Daniel Cavolini began to scream I watched as they pumped him full of morphine and waited for the revival drugs to finish him off My pharm programmed a small skin patch on my shoulder to release carefully timed and calibrated doses of melatonin or a melatonin blocker adding to or subtracting from the usual biochemical signal produced by my pineal gland I woke up every morning from 5 hoursof enriched REM sleep as wide eyed and energetic as a hyperactive child I wouldn't so much as yawn until 1145 but 15 minutes later I'd go out like a light I'd tried caffeine a few times; it made me believe I was focused and energetic but it turned my judgement to shit Widespread use of caffeine explained a lot about the 20th century when we undressed and fell into bed together and my vision lurched I thought it was just a side effect of passion When my arms went numb I realized what was happening Stricken I said I don't believe this I'm sorry I forced myself to concentrate; I reached over and hit a button on the pharm Give me half an hourNo Safety limits Fifteen minutes I pleaded This is an emergencyThere is no emergency You're safe in bed and we're only up to page 43 What can I say? An astonishingly good book absolutely not to be missedReview written circa 2005 I think


  6. Gene Gene says:

    Holy cow There have been only a few books that have caused my brain to start shorting out and cause me to go into a weird spiritual state where I actual feel some connection to some university unityThey areZero understanding how our understanding of math helped us understand our place in the universeZen and the art of motorcycle maintenance Trying to keep up with the word games around uality and duality in this book was astoundingWhy God Won't go away a book that explains the four states of overunderstimulation that causes spiritual experiencesAnd this bookBelieve it or not after hitting the point where Egan reveals his big idea that not only is there a special role in the universe for the observer but that a special Observer actually instantiates the universe creating a history and future from that moment in time was Wow That's a big ideaLater that night I woke up convinced that the puppy my then girlfriendnow wife just got was The One and that she instantiated the universe I swear that I actually thought the puppy was glowing and my wife tells me that I was babbling nonsense about how our puppy Ginger was the One and that she sees and knows allAlthough I know Ginger in unlikely to be really The One it doesn't detract from the fact that I had a genuine spiritual experience All from reading a novel and getting my brain overstimulatedHow cool is that?


  7. thefourthvine thefourthvine says:

    If this book was made into a movie and it will not be the tagline could be We're theoretical cosmologists We get it right or universes die Because that's what this is a suspenseful thriller based on physics metaphysics philosophy and cosmology Admit it you're impressedSo In Distress a disaffected sciencepseudoscience journalist goes off for what should be a peaceful easy assignment a documentary on a physicist who is about to announce her Theory of Everything Except well shit gets weird For the first uarter of the book I didn't think I'd be giving it four stars The opening scene is dynamite but not really indicative of the kind of book it's going to be And I found the relationship stuff the narrator and his girlfriend honestly repelling And the discussion of autism that is a WHOLE other bucket of issues and while the ending made me get why he thought he needed to include it I think that was at best a bad ideaBut BUT Then the book started to gain momentum Partly it was that the worldbuilding started to take hold I loved the detailed near future world; the science advances the biology changes the sex and gender stuff I'm reading so much hard SF with great interesting thoughtful takes on gender these days like what even HAPPENED to this genre? If two genders normal and sex objectplot device were good enough for the grandmasters they are surely good enough for you Greg Egan and Kim Stanley Robinson and Chris Moriarty And then while I was wallowing in the glee of the worldbuilding the actual main plot kicked in and started accelerating and every neuron in my brain shrieked YES MORE in unisonAs it happens I've read a number of books lately about singularities This is the best portrayal I've seen of one It was great and I enjoyed the hell out of it This story is too much the kind of thing I like for me to recommend it to anyone else but I can say this if this is your kind of thing this is REALLY REALLY your kind of thing


  8. Mikael Kuoppala Mikael Kuoppala says:

    I really don’t know how to approach “Distress” The novel is just so completely full of everything utterly brilliant that writing a reader review on it seems a task tragically overwhelming Greg Egan is perhaps the best sci fi author out there and this is a wonderful tour de force even from himThe novel is basically a cosmological thriller about a summit where the accurate ultimate Theory of Everything aka TOE is expected to emerge The protagonist is Andrew Worth a science journalist who journeys to the summit in order to write a spotlight feature on Violet Mosala one of the three competing cosmologists about to present their soon perfected TOE At the same time an odd mental disease is emerging randomly all across the world the symptom being a total loss of subjective realityEgan writes in his usual beautifully literal and rich manner building his characters complex and fascinating His psychological insight is unparalleled but even so is his ability of making high level scientific speculation read like a thriller I couldn’t believe how many brilliant ideas he used here It felt almost wasteful because there were enough creative concepts in this one single novel to easily produce a shelf of substantial booksEgan tickles your brain on every page causing the reader to go into a hyperactive mode of philosophical pondering and unending curiosity When he then takes all this and puts it into geopolitical sociological and societal context we end up with an absolute masterpiece


  9. Anna Anna says:

    From the very first sentence ‘Distress’ is an arresting and thought provoking novel The point of view character Andrew is a documentary film maker This very useful conceit allows for lengthy explanations of technologies and discussion of their implications often in a pleasant interview format The setting is 2055 while the novel was first published in 1995 twenty years ago now I think it has aged remarkably well predicting total ubiuity of the internet handheld computerphones ‘notebooks’ Siri ‘Sisiphus’ and email as the main form of communication ‘Hermes’ coincidentally the actual name of the University of Cambridge email system Egan doesn’t uite predict social media however other than ‘netzines’ which seem similar to blogs That’s neither here nor there though ‘Distress’ has much bigger ideas to play with It is concerned with the implications of several areas of science and technology which as one character neatly states bring about ‘the whole battle for the H words’ To wit what is Health when biotech can cure all disease? And what is Humanity when people can radically modify their minds and bodies? Who defines each H word? And in addition what is gender? These uestions are asked early on yet they pervade the entire book and are discussed from a number of angles by different characters with various agendas Egan is impressively good at exploring such massive complex issues without resorting to easy pat answers As if that level of philosophical enuiry was not sufficient events on the artificial island of Stateless raise uestions of political economy can an anarchist state function? What preconditions assist in its survival? How can it defend itself? The core issue of the narrative however is the search for a Theory of Everything and its metaphysical conseuences Thus many of the characters exist in and around academia whilst a great deal of the action concerns what must be the most dramatic academic conference ever held When describing the scope of the novel in retrospect it’s hard to convincingly explain how Egan does all of these topics justice Yet somehow it all hangs together very well Andrew is an effective narrator because he doesn’t take up a lot of space in the narrative; it is least interesting when concerned with his domestic life I was also pleased that Andrew aside no other main character was male The dialogue manages not to be trite mannered or boring which can be a real risk when essentially centring your novel on intellectual debates Moreover it was nuanced with each person’s argued perspective carrying conviction A memorable example”No one can deal with an unknown chance of the end of the universe How many people can you kill for a cause like that? One? A hundred? A million? It’s like trying to manipulate an infinitely heavy weight on the end of an infinitely long lever However fine your judgement is you know it can’t be good enough All you can do is admit that” My main criticism of the novel however is that I found the lengthy and vivid description of having cholera unpleasant I realise that these were intended to emphasise the theme of mind and body being indissoluble as human consciousness can only exist in a bag of living flesh but it seemed an unnecessarily revolting way of doing so Still if you can handle the opening scene with the corpse I’m sure you will cope It is fair enough I suppose to avoid the convenient abstraction of technologies that can upload minds or otherwise allow humanity to transcend the inconveniences of our bodies Egan is interested in how we reconcile biology society and metaphysics It’s been a long time since I’ve read sci fi that covered such ground so well ‘Distress’ will definitely linger in my mind


  10. Derek Derek says:

    A whole new sense to hard SF Hard SF usually means Science fiction that tries to take very few liberties with Science sticking to what is known to be or expected to become possible Egan takes it a uantum leap beyond the science is HARD If you can wrap your head around it though it's worth the effort


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Distress❴PDF / Epub❵ ☃ Distress Author Greg Egan – Thomashillier.co.uk Недалекое будущее 2055 год Мир в котором мертвецы могут давать показания журналисты превращают себя в живые ка Недалекое будущее год Мир в котором мертвецы могут давать показания журналисты превращают себя в живые камеры генетические разработки спасают миллионы от голода но обрекают целые государства на рабское существование а люди бегущие от цивилизации способны создать свой собственный остров анархическую утопию под названием Безгосударство таково место действия романа ОтчаяниеПосле долгих съемок спекулятивно чернушных документальных фильмов о науке для канала ЗРИнет репортер Эндрю Уорт чувствует себя полностью измотанным Настолько измотанным что добровольно отказывается от потенциальной сенсации съемок фильма о новом загадочном психическом заболевании под названием Отчаяние Вместо этого он берется за менее престижную работу материал о гениальной женщине физике Вайолет Мосале Мосала получила Нобелевскую премию в лет и вот вот огласит свою версию теории всего пытающейся свести воедино все прочие существующие научные теории Уорт еще не знает что за Мосалой ведет охоту некая таинственная и влиятельная секта и что возможно созданная ею теория способна уничтожить привычный миропорядок Задание за которое Уорт взялся для разрядки внезапно перестает казаться таким уж легким.