Greg Egan
Quarantine Cover



What starts as a detective set in 2067 quickly turns into a head spinning novel about the possible existential effects of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics - more specifically the consciousness causes collapse variant. In short: humans observing stuff limits the number of possible worlds.

If you thought the popcorn sci-fi of Dark Matter was hard, well, this is the real deal. On the other hand, compared to the only other Egan I've read so far - the brilliant Schild's Ladder - this is an easier, more accessible book.

The first half is smooth reading: Nick Stavrianos, a hardboiled PI, investigates a kidnapping/closed room mystery. The specifics of the setting - Earth quarantined by "an impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system" in 2034 - seem a cool yet inconsequential backdrop at first. It's brilliant how Egan manages to weld the two mysteries together.

The same goes for the other science fictional thing Quarantine features: mental modifications people install in their brains via nanobots. Again seemingly gimmicky in the first half of the book, it nonetheless gives the detective story a futuristic, exciting edge that would not be out of place in a Hollywood action flick.

But as the story progresses (...)

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