Permutation City

  • by Greg Egan
  • Narrated by Adam Epstein
  • 12 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The good news is that you have just awakened into Eternal Life. You are going to live forever. Immortality is a reality. A medical miracle? Not exactly.
The bad news is that you are a scrap of electronic code. The world you see around you, the you that is seeing it, has been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. You are a Copy that knows it is a copy.
The good news is that there is a way out. By law, every Copy has the option of terminating itself, and waking up to normal flesh-and-blood life again. The bail-out is on the utilities menu. You pull it down...The bad news is that it doesn't work. Someone has blocked the bail-out option. And you know who did it. You did. The other you. The real you. The one that wants to keep you here forever.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Greg Egan concocts a fascinating and thought-provoking novel that explores the role of technology in creating alternate realities, blurring the lines between what is "real" and what isn't. In this future world of globalized economy and devastating climate change, Paul Durham has scanned multiple "Copies" of himself into his computer and becomes entangled with Maria, an Autoverse aficionado. Egan raises interesting questions about artificial intelligence and morality within a technological world, and it's a high concept that is brought to life by Adam Epstein, whose measured performance and faintly rumbling voice adds a palpable and dramatic intrigue to Permutation City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Inception AI and singular universes


The ghost in the machine no longer is a ghost but a replication, a mantra for a new form of creation for making life possibilities that are beyond the grasp of death but not human despair.
A complex tale of machine replicating human consciousness and human environments, to sustain immortal consciousness in imperfect machine realities.
This is one of those ideas that are interesting but so full of paradoxes and possibilities of time restrictions, on not just the biological but the physicality of machines and cultures sustaining ideas of the past or possibility of maintaining a code for hundreds or thousands of years.
No matter how virtual your universe it is still in having a primary reality and physics, not to mention and everchanging culture and political influences that would not at all points in time respect the needs of virtual citizens or entities that do not share a common reality, for example, in the now we do not respect even beings that inhabit our reality.
And interesting mind exercise that was better developed by the movie Inception.
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- Wras

Interesting if you take your time

Where does Permutation City rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The story and concepts are fantastic but is let down a little by the narration.


What other book might you compare Permutation City to, and why?

Islands in the Net or any Hard SciFi / Cyberpunk


What about Adam Epstein’s performance did you like?

There are a few comments here saying Adam Epstein's performance is terrible. While not the best performance in the world it was definitely listenable and once I got used to the way he narrated I began to listen to longer chunks and enjoy the narration.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some of the concepts introduced in the book held my attention a lot more than the actual story.


Any additional comments?

Concepts gave me something to think about after I finished the book. Give it a chance and take your time with it.

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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 25-11-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios