Behold the orphan. Born into a world that is not a world. A digital being grown from a mind seed, a genderless cybernetic citizen in a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the Solar System into one scape, from the outer planets to the fiery surface of the Sun. Since the Introdus in the 21st century, humanity has reconfigured itself drastically. Most chose immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software.
Others opted for gleisners: Disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world of force and friction. Many of these have left the Solar System forever in fusion drive starships.
And there are the holdouts. The fleshers left behind in the muck and jungle of Earth - some devolved into dream-apes; others cavorting in the seas or the air; while the statics and bridges try to shape out a roughly human destiny.
But the complacency of the citizens is shattered when an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers, and reveals the possibility that the polises themselves might be at risk from bizarre astrophysical processes that seem to violate fundamental laws of nature. The Orphan joins a group of citizens and flesher refugees in a search for the knowledge that will guarantee their safety - a search that puts them on the trail of the ancient and elusive Transmuters, who have the power to reshape subatomic particles, and to cross into the macrocosmos, where the universe we know is nothing but a speck in the higher-dimensional vacuum.
It's the late 30th century, and mankind has splintered into diverse beings: the human fleshers, the Gleisner robots, and the artificially intelligent polises. Polis orphan Yatima has traveled back to Earth as an interstellar disaster is about to destroy the planet, beginning a monumental struggle for survival. Greg Egan explores issues of human identity in a future world. It's a heady concept that is grounded by Adam Epstein, whose sober and clear-headed approach - as well as his judicious use of accents to delineate the characters - makes Diaspora a fascinating exploration of human existence.
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I was recommended this book as I am a fan of hard science fiction such as the works of Asimov, Poul Anderson and Arthur C Clarke. However the experience was ruined for me by poor narration. The guys voice is monotonous and annoying. I couldn't bear it so I stopped listening. Perhaps I'll read a hard copy or e-book version in the future since the premise of the story seems interesting.
- C. Maggs
Hard science fiction as its best
- Chavdar Parushev