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Dichronauts by [Egan, Greg]
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Dichronauts Kindle Edition

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Kindle Edition, 31 Mar 2017
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Length: 312 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Language: English

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Product Description

Seth is a surveyor, along with his friend Theo, a leech-like creature running through his skull who tells Seth what lies to his left and right. Theo, in turn, relies on Seth for mobility, and for ordinary vision looking forwards and backwards. Like everyone else in their world, they are symbionts, depending on each other to survive.

In the universe containing Seth’s world, light cannot travel in all directions: there is a “dark cone” to the north and south. Seth can only face to the east (or the west, if he tips his head backwards). If he starts to turn to the north or south, his body stretches out across the landscape, and to rotate to face north-east is every bit as impossible as accelerating to the speed of light.

Every living thing in Seth’s world is in a state of perpetual migration as they follow the sun’s shifting orbit and the narrow habitable zone it creates. Cities are being constantly disassembled at one edge and rebuilt at the other, with surveyors mapping safe routes ahead.

But when Seth and Theo join an expedition to the edge of the habitable zone, they discover a terrifying threat: a fissure in the surface of the world, so deep and wide that no one can perceive its limits. As the habitable zone continues to move, the migration will soon be blocked by this unbridgeable void, and the expedition has only one option to save its city from annihilation: descend into the unknown.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3576 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Greg Egan (31 March 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,568 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 8 May 2017
By Liviu Vanoaica - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Genius, as always. Don't hesitate to read​ some introductory material before reading the novel, it will help a lot and save a lot of frustration.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World-building at its finest 28 May 2017
By pgcd - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First off, the usual disclaimer: I believe Greg Egan to be the absolute apex in the "science" chain of hard science fiction - his ideas are always one (or a dozen) steps ahead of anything I've read by any other author, and his world-building is stunning.
"Dichronauts" is no exception: choosing to set a novel in a universe with very different rules from our own is a long and respected tradition but the care and depth of analysis you'll find here is not as common. Of course, since it's not a treatise but a novel, Egan had to take some (several) shortcuts - the protagonists are explicitly tasked to explore and explain their world, which leads to more pages of exposition than I'd probably like, and there are occasions when their inner monologue (or conversation) have a slightly off-putting "As you know, Bob" tone. On the other hand, without information like this the reader would have to spend half the time consulting Egan's webpage to understand what's going on, so I feel the tradeoff is more than justified. As a side note: I strongly recommend doing that anyway, because the images and animations in the site's section dedicated to "Dichronauts" are rather useful for those of us who cannot easily visualize the consequences of having two time-like dimensions.

From a "literary" standpoint, the style is pretty much what readers of Egan are used to - clear, succinct prose with very few unneeded sentences - so I would say that appreciating his previous work is a rather solid indicator of whether you'll like this one. The converse is also true, unfortunately: if you don't like his pragmatic approach to character development, or his tendency to veer off into scientific discourse when you least expect it, you probably won't like this.

One final note: in more than one page it's easy to read between the lines and find socio-political commentary on the issues and subjects that Egan has explored in the past: (im)migration, reaction to and acceptance of different cultures, self and personality and so on. Given the colossal differences between "Dichronauts"' universe and ours, though, it's rather hard to understand when that's a deliberate choice by the author and when it's just me projecting.
In other words, while it's tempting to read "Dichronauts" as a super-charged Flatland, I feel like that would be doing a disservice to both: reading it as a stunningly in-depth documentary set in a majestically ambitious thought experiment is probably the right choice.

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