(1992/2008) Greg Egan, Gollancz, £7.99, pbk, 251 pp, ISBN 978-0-575-08172-7
Greg Egan's debut novel is an ultra-hard SF exploration of the very nature of reality (and the universe). It is the late twenty-first century, a time when bio-engineering means that people can technologically modify their minds in many ways. Mankind's global society is shaped such that information systems are breached as fast as they are improved. Then one night the stars went out. 'The Bubble' quarantines the Earth and its solar system from the rest of the universe. Meanwhile Laura, in the care of a psychiatric hospital with severe congenital brain damage, somehow defies monitoring and repeatedly escapes. How and why is what private investigator Nick Stavrianos has been hired to find out, but may uncover more than he bargained for...
Now, as alluded to above, this was Greg Egan's first novel. Some first novels can be decidedly average, but not Quarantine: it was brilliant back when it first came out and it is still brilliant today! Not surprising then that Gollancz have reprinted Quarantine as part of their 2008 re-branding of Egan.
Other of Egan's works with stand-alone reviews on this site include: Distress (and 2nd review), Diaspora, Incandescence (and 2nd review), Luminous (and 2nd review) , Schilds Ladder (and 2nd review), Permutation City andTeranesia.
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