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Editorial 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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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.
©2013 Greg Egan (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Treasure on 01-28-15

Amazing book. Amazingly bad narrator.

I am torn. Greg Egan is arguably one of the greatest sci-fi authors of our time, and without reservation my favorite. Permutation City is an exemplary piece. I waited years for audible to release his works. When they did, I immediately went to purchase Diaspora, one of the best books, sci-fi or otherwise, that I've ever read. I clicked the sample audio button... and then checked to make sure it wasn't April 1st. Surely this was joke. I heard a whiny, nasal, mosquito buzzing voice, reading at kindergarten speed, and then using some of the most comically exaggerated and poorly executed accents I've ever encountered in a professional production. I then discovered to my horror that this narrator reads almost all of the newly released Greg Egan material. Give it a try. If the voice doesn't bother you, you are in for some seriously mind blowing hard sci-fi. If it does, pick up some of his books in another format. They are amazing.
If you dig, you can find an old cassette recording of Diaspora online. It is read by John Polk, and even with poor audio quality, is far superior to kindergarten audio-torture version offered by Audible.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful


By James on 03-05-14

Excellent Hard SciFi done right! AWFUL narration

Would you consider the audio edition of Permutation City to be better than the print version?

No, the narration was awful, about as bad as possible without causing me to stop listening or return the purchase to audible. His voice is nasal, and his style monotonous: A deadly combination. On top of this, his accents were awful

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

Anything else by Greg Egan; The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

What didn’t you like about Adam Epstein’s performance?

His voice is nasal, and his style monotonous: A deadly combination. On top of this, his accents were awful I don't recall listening to anything else by him, so maybe he just had a bad day.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Permutation City, the Movie: WTF, Hollywood Actually Made This?

Any additional comments?

Permutation City amounts to a compelling thought experiment on the nature of consciousness, self-identity, and the implications of artificial reality & existence. This is not SpaceOpera scifi; It's hard scifi and requires thinking about the ideas & concepts presented rather than passively enjoying a good story. One of my favorite books.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Wras on 01-05-18

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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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Robert on 03-09-14

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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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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