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I have to second this. It took me years to thoroughly grasp some of its parts (and I have a math background) but Diaspora is without a doubt my favorite book of fiction.

The first chapter of the novel is particularly approachable & worthwhile. It's titled Orphanogenesis and is a beautiful, detailed (~30 page) account of the digital birth of a new AI consciousness, from embryo to newborn to gaining self-awareness.

Next year several Greg Egan's books will be reprinted. Diaspora comes out January 6, 2015!


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If you want a softer approach to Egan's fiction, check out his short stories. Reasons to be Cheerful is my favorite one as well as Egan's. It's part of the Luminous collection, available as a $3 kindle ebook:


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