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I would add Permutation City. It's about: what's it like to be a digital person in a virtual world? What are the psychological effects of knowing that you're virtual; how do you experience time passing; what are the social implications of changing your appearance at whim, etc.

And, how do different interpretations of data compete to become "real"? For example, if you look at it one way it's a city, another way it's a collection of data cells to be colonized, etc.

For a more complete extrapolation of this concept, check out Diaspora by Greg Egan.

Disapora is a semi-sequel to Permutation City, both are written by Egan

I don't remember enjoying Permutation City that much, but it for sure as hell has stuck in my mind for years (to this day, in fact) for the ideas it brings forth. I think I'm going to reread it.

Glad to see that this time someone else is recommending this too, full of interesting ideas and overall a good hard sci-fi novel. We need more novels about these themes.

Um, hard sci-fi? Some handwavy "upload person to computer" stuff and then "we'll just rearrange the universe over here, don't mind us". I did read it a long time ago, but I don't remember anything that specific in it.

Permutation City is definitely hard sci-fi, albeit less hard than most of Egan's work. Ignoring the "uploading" (it not being the central point of the story, and this not being the place to have that debate), his "dust theory" is very well grounded. That's not to say that I believe it (or that he does, see http://www.gregegan.net/PERMUTATION/FAQ/FAQ.html), but that doesn't automatically qualify it as "magic" either.

I'd re-read it, Greg Egan is perhaps the hardest Sci-Fi writer out there, everything is rigorously thought out. He used to be a software engineer and hacks on some of his more interesting flights of fancy - check out his website http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/ for some interesting stuff, Quantum Soccer anyone? http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/BORDER/Soccer/Socce.... If NH should have an official Sci-Fi author it should be him ;)

Cool, I've played quantum golf before (which is easy) and quantum tic-tac-toe (which I never quite understood), I'll have to play with quantum soccer.

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