It is the year 2055, and the battle of the sexes has seven combatants rather than two. The illusion of empathy” has been dispensed with, and a few idealistic souls try to create a utopia with pirated technology.
But a wired journalist, Andrew Worth, doesn’t want any part of the pop Frankenscience” regularly dished out to the masses. Burned-out after completing a documentary on controversial developments in biotechnology, he turns down a chance to report on a baffling new mental disorder known as Distress and instead takes an assignment covering the Einstein Centenary Conference on the artificial island of Stateless. There, a young South African physicist, Violet Mosala, is expected to unveil her candidate for a Theory of Everything.
But the assignment is not the tropical respite Worth was expecting. Unfortunately academia’s facade of civility is dangerously cracked with a seething maelstrom of plotting, assassination attempts, and rebellion, and Worth is dragged down into the nightmare. The world’s only hope for survival lies in Violet Mosala’s development of a final Theory of Everything, but whether it will lead to the total destruction of life as we know it or the complete remaking of the universe may be a risk too dangerous to take.
Greg Egan’s audacious voice and literary scope create a fragmented futuristic world where technology and bioengineering threaten humanity’s very existence.
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