Permutation City


Greg Egan

Publication date



Hard science fiction

Recommended by Eliezer Yudkowsky (see below), and is a prerequisite along with Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, which I already wanted to read, for his short story The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover. Sounds interesting.

Bought it for Kindle on the 10th of February 2013 with money given to me by Ed and Kevin for Christmas 2012.


No idea. Supposedly 382 real pages.

First read (February 2013)Edit

13 02 21 Permutation City

Finished, February 21st 2013.

13 02 21 Permutation City

Progress graph, generated by Goodreads.


Kindle edition. 382 pages, says Amazon (pinch of salt).


Started it on the 15th of February 2013, having finished River Out of Eden and eager to get stuck in to the hoard of books I'd bought with Christmas vouchers (including Zones of Thought, The City & the City, The Book of New Sun, Kil'n People, The Light of Other Days, and A Devil's Chaplain).

Finished it on the 21st of February, on the way home from school. It was totally loopy, I immediately grokked the whole premise of copies and the theory that continuity of perception needn't rely on you being 'processed' in 'realtime', which I suppose was what blew Eliezer Yudkowsky away as a kid, but everything else was insane and made no sense to me whatsoever. How the hell did they 'seed' a new dust reality? Just what the hell was the whole 'expanding computer' thing? Why, if they were a random series of isolated bits of spacetime, did their reality follow any rules and not go completely crazy every 5 minutes? Isn't that slightly more likely? And if that wasn't bad enough, why the hell did it matter that the Lambertians didn't believe in them? Really seriously big flaws, these.



Reading recordEdit

Previous book: Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden

Next book: David Brin, Kil'n People

Ratings, awards, mentions and recommendationsEdit

Yudkowsky's recommendationEdit

Books of future shockEdit

This is simply the best science-fiction book ever written, the Grand Bull Moose Award Winner for really really good fiction. It is, in short, my all-time favorite.

Can you imagine a book where the premise is that human beings have been scanned into computers as virtual Copies? "Darn it," you cry, "now you've spoiled it for me!" Oh, no, I haven't. Can you imagine a book where this concept is introduced on the first page?

That bit about Copies? That's not the plot. That's just the starting assumption. The surprises this book delivers are unbelievable. It shocked the living daylights out of me.

But I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. So if you want to know more, read the book.

Links and referencesEdit

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