"Since the Introdus in the twenty-first century, humanity has reconfigured itself drastically. Most chose immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software. Others opted for gleisners: disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world of force and friction. Many of these have left the solar system forever in fusion-drive starships.
And there are the holdouts: the fleshers left behind in the muck and jungle of Earth—some devolved into dream apes, others cavorting in the seas or the air—while the statics and bridgers try to shape out a roughly human destiny."
Egan's books have been some of the most thought-provoking I've ever read as far as science fiction technology. A lot of the works were out of print until recently; I'm glad to see there's been a resurgence of interest in his writing, and the availability of his works.
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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