Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

My personal familiarity with Greg Egan’s work tracks my development in both the science fiction and scientific worlds. I started reading Egan around the same time I started reading Locus magazine, after attending the World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose in 2002. I was just out of college with a freshly minted bachelor of science in physics and working on developing...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Traditionally, a book-length study focusing on a single author might begin with a chapter of biographical material: parents, early childhood, family history, and the like. This book, focusing on the work of Australian science fiction author Greg Egan, will not follow the traditional format. The scant biographical details known about this multifaceted, influential author can...

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Chapter 1. Writing Radical Hard SF

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pp. 17-50

When people discuss Greg Egan today, it is usually in the context of “hard SF.” Of course, hard SF as a term is nearly as difficult to define as “science fiction” itself, but whatever it is, Egan is certainly at the center of it. In The Hard SF Renaissance (2002), which included two of Egan’s stories, editors David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer described him as “perhaps the most interesting...

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Chapter 2. Ethical Standards

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pp. 51-75

Ethics have long been an important concern for science fiction as it looks to the future: how can we move out into the universe without perpetrating the worst abuses of the past? Greg Egan has considered ethical issues from his very earliest publications. He tends to hold his characters to the highest ethical standards within the framework of his stories. His near-future biotech stories...

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Chapter 3. Identity and Consciousness

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pp. 76-100

Throughout Greg Egan’s career, some of his strongest stories have focused on the theme of identity. This takes several forms, from the neurochemical components of identity in today’s humans, through the identity shift as we make the transition into digital immortal beings, to the identity concerns unique to those digital descendants. When Egan’s fiction takes up the question...

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Chapter 4. Scientific Analysis

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pp. 101-127

Science is central to Greg Egan’s approach to literature. The fact that humanity is able to comprehend the fundamental nature of the universe is a source of endless wonder, something his stories constantly seek to illuminate. When reflecting on his writing career, he says:

If I’m pleased with one general achievement, it’s to have contributed something...

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Chapter 5. Science and Society

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pp. 128-156

In Eternal Flame, one character mentions “the most powerful engine of change in history: people arguing about science” (361). The vast majority of Egan’s writings concern science and the scientific process. Even when pointing out all the ways things can be unfair or go wrong, his fiction reflects a shining optimism that through the advancement of science the human race can achieve...

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Interview with Greg Egan

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pp. 157-180

Karen Burnham: What sort of science fiction did you read growing up?
Greg Egan: Because my mother worked in a library, I managed to get an adult library ticket at the age of about nine or ten, so I was reading all the SF that was around in the early ’70s. If you name any SF writer who was in print then, I probably read at least one thing by them, but don’t ask me to...

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A Greg Egan Bibliography

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pp. 181-182

Greg Egan has published twelve novels and sixty short stories so far. For this bibliography I have chosen to list all of his novels in chronological order as well as a selection of his significant short fiction. In all cases the bibliographic information comes from the original publication listed on Egan’s professional website and has been corroborated using the Internet Speculative Fiction...

Works Cited

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pp. 183-186

Index

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pp. 187-190

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About the Author, Series Page, Production Notes

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pp. 191-194

Karen Burnham works as a physicist and engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.