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Zendegi by [Egan, Greg]
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Length: 340 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Nasim is a young computer scientist, hoping to work on the Human Connectome Project: a plan to map every neural connection in the human brain. But funding for the project is cancelled, and Nasim ends up devoting her career to Zendegi, a computerised virtual world used by millions of people.

Fifteen years later, a revived Connectome Project has published a map of the brain. Zendegi is facing fierce competition from its rivals, and Nasim decides to exploit the map to fill the virtual world with better Proxies: the bit-players that bring its crowd scenes to life. As controversy rages over the nature and rights of the Proxies, a friend with terminal cancer begs Nasim to make a Proxy of him, so some part of him will survive to help raise his orphaned son. But Zendegi is about to become a battlefield ...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 908 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0575086181
  • Publisher: Gollancz (17 June 2010)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NE5TVU
  • 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: #375,319 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) 3.4 out of 5 stars 33 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but very thought-provoking! 26 February 2015
By Roger Mastrude - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book's a little slow, but it ends up in an ethical discussion which is valuable and thought-provoking: We shouldn't create "artificial intelligences" which suffer, either because they are created to be defective and unable to cope, or because they are placed, willy-nilly in unpleasant situations. I personally do not believe so-called artificial intelligences can be created until consciousness and true intelligence are identified as emergent from quantum phenomena, as Roger Penrose has suggested. Penrose is smarter than I am, God knows, and he persuaded me. Maybe Greg Egan is smarter than I am also; his books have always impressed me. I highly recommend his books, particularly the ones which are a little more, uh..., propulsive.
3.0 out of 5 stars a "different sort" of sci-fi 11 June 2015
By o2btravling - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's been a while since I had read a science fiction book (yeah, I'd call it sci-fi) with interesting characters, and an engaging near-future plot that is somewhat familiar with the news stories of today. If I explain too much of it here, I'd give the plot away.... definitely a recommend read it to anyone whose looking for a "different sort" of sci-fi.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever near future Sci-fi 2 February 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Many reviewers have suggested that this book is not up to the same standards as previous Egan's books. Indeed it is not a thousand year later story or it does not happen in a different galaxy. The book is loosely based on the events following the disputed presidential election of 2009 in Iran. Reading through the first chapters, I was wondering how the book would turn into a science fiction novel. But it did. The story is inspired by the near future advances in virtual reality and artificial intelligence and presents some interesting and possibly novel ideas.

Leaving the sci-fi aspects, Egan's portrayal of Iran's culture is noteworthy. While it may not be a true representation of the Iranian society and believes, it is based on many rather factual assumptions.

I personally enjoyed reading the book but I should say that I'm from Iran. I wonder how others deal with many Persian phrases which have been abundantly used in the book but left without any English translation. What stopped me from giving the book five stars was that the story dragged a little long towards the end and that I had somewhat higher expectations from a Greg Egan's sci-fi.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good novel, albeit a bit short 3 March 2012
By comespm - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this novel and I found it very enjoyable. It is not one of Greg Egan's masterpieces like Permutation City, but it is a very good science fiction novel overall, with interesting ideas and relatable characters, even if not entirely sympathetic all the time. For me that makes them more human and realistic.

I found the description of a more democratic, enlightened future Iran very inspiring, albeit I'm afraid reality doesn't seem to go in that sense right now. However, it is refreshing to see a book that has protagonists from a country with bad PR in the West, and have those protagonists making a difference in their scientific or technological fields.

Also, the description of mind uploading given in the book looks much more realistic than what appears in the older Permutation City, where a person could be scanned non invasively in a mater of minutes, like getting a haircut. Here the process is much more convoluted, long and imperfect, but more accurate and closer to what's envisageable today.

Finally, I feel this book ended too abruptly (kind of a Neal Stephenson's novel), without at least an epilogue or something that ties the narrative threads into a more or less satisfying conclusion. I feel Greg Egan didn't know where to take the book later, once the point he wanted to bring occurred, or he felt it wasn't worthy to tell anything else after that.

Or maybe I just wanted to know more about that future world, with scanned human minds and a democratic, more egalitarian Iran at the center of a technological revolution. Anyway, I still liked it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of a FREE Kindle book 22 September 2011
By Some Bloke - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have never read Egan. This was therefore his introduction to me. The first part of the novel was not sci-fi - it was simply a bit of reasonably good near future fiction about an unremarkable revolution in Iran - very similar to a reporters' eye view of the recent "Arab Spring" events in Egypt. I enjoyed reading it - it wasn't what I expected but it was pretty good reading.
The second part of the novel concentrates on the same reporter trying to create a "proxy" avatar to guide his son after he dies so that his best friend who will raise the child after his death will not overload him with his (Arabic) prejudices. This was hard work to read in the extreme - the VR world is simplistic and the endless rehash of Arabic stories to be used as parables was painful. The ending was....well... as expected. If the whole novel had been like part 1 I would have enjoyed it much more.
This was good value for $0 - at the end of the day it was better than most of the free books out there. I certainly don't feel shafted on the price, but as a literary work it is Jeckel and Hyde... and ultimately a bit repetitive...I hate that the main character becomes such a whiner...he deserved better.

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