Axiomatic, by Greg Egan

Axiomatic, by Greg Egan

Axiomatic, by Greg Egan

Hugely original ideas, not every story is a home run but there are enough 5/5 stories here to make this very recommended for any fan of hard science fiction. The concepts are extremely unique even 20 years later. Very similar to Ted Chiang’s writing. I have no idea why Greg Egan isn’t a household name in SF.

“As the unknowable future becomes the unchangeable past, risk must collapse into certainty, one way or another.”

“We think of our lives as circumscribed by cultural and biological taboos, but if people really want to break them, they always seem to find a way. Human beings are capable of anything:torture, genocide, cannibalism, rape. After which — or so I’d heard — most can still be kind to children and animals, be moved to tears by music, and generally behave as if all their emotional faculties are intact.”

“I’d rather swim in this cacophony of a million contradictory voices the drown in the smooth and plausible lies of those genocidal authors of history.”

Individual story ratings:

The Infinite Assassin: 3/5
Multiverse drugs messing everything up all over the place.

The Hundred-Light-Year-Diary: 5/5
Existential, philosophical fiction.

Eugene: 2/5
Right when it got interesting it veered off to left field and ended abruptly.

Caress: 5/5
Creepy and awesome. Life imitates art. One of the most interesting characters I’ve ever encountered.

Blood Sisters: 3/5
Chrichtonesqe

Axiomatic: 5/5
Terrific.

Post Office Box: 5/5
A more practical quantum leap. Terrific story.

Seeing: 5/5
Brilliant concept, very well written.

A Kidnapping: 4/5
Egan is so clever.

Learning to be Me: 5/5
So uncomfortably, unnervingly good.

The Vat: 2/5
Clever, but this one was missing something for me.

The Walk: 5/5
Damn it Egan, quit writing such terrifically layered, philosophical, existential stories!

The Cutie: 3/5
Gross and Weird, awesome concept.

Into Darkness: 3/5
Great concept, story wasn’t that stellar though. This one would probably be the most likely pick to adapt into a film.

Appropriate Love: 3/5
Gross and Weird, awesome concept.

The Moral Virologist: 4/5
Total psycho – inspired by the AIDS virus – attempts to make a moral virus that only punishes adulterers, fails magnificently.

Closer: 3/5
Set in the same universe as ‘Learning to be Me’, a couple look for ways to become more like each other, in order to better understand each other’s perspective.

Unstable Orbits in the Space Of Lies: 3/5
Similar concept as ‘Closer’, except on a very large scale, and more about theology/religious/political views than individual perspectives.

Axiomatic

Axiomatic
8

Worldbuilding

9/10

    Story

    10/10

      Prose

      7/10

        Characters

        6/10

          Pros

          • Hard Science Fiction
          • Unique Ideas

          Cons

          • Not the best characters
          • Not the best prose
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