Dichronauts
Seth is a surveyor, along with his friend Theo, a leech-like creature running through his skull who tells Seth what lies to his left and right. Theo, in turn, relies on Seth for mobility, and for ordinary vision looking forwards and backwards. Like everyone else in their world, they are symbionts, depending on each other to survive.In the universe containing Seth's world, light cannot travel in all directions: there is a “dark cone” to the north and south. Seth can only face to the east (or the west, if he tips his head backwards). If he starts to turn to the north or south, his body stretches out across the landscape, and to rotate as far as north-north-east is every bit as impossible as accelerating to the speed of light.Every living thing in Seth’s world is in a state of perpetual migration as they follow the sun’s shifting orbit and the narrow habitable zone it creates. Cities are being constantly disassembled at one edge and rebuilt at the other, with surveyors mapping safe routes ahead.But when Seth and Theo join an expedition to the edge of the habitable zone, they discover a terrifying threat: a fissure in the surface of the world, so deep and wide that no one can perceive its limits. As the habitable zone continues to move, the migration will soon be blocked by this unbridgeable void, and the expedition has only one option to save its city from annihilation: descend into the unknown.

Dichronauts Details

TitleDichronauts
Author
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Adult

Dichronauts Review

  • Claudia
    April 27, 2017
    This was one tough book to comprehend. I read all I could find on Greg Egan’ site and some more about differential geometry and I still did not understand how the world imagined by the author works.Because this is not an action or character driven story, but one in which geometry makes the rules and the reader tries to visualize how this world is constructed. Instead of a 3-dimensional space and 1 dimension of time, we have 2 of each.After playing with this simulation here, I could imagine a bit This was one tough book to comprehend. I read all I could find on Greg Egan’ site and some more about differential geometry and I still did not understand how the world imagined by the author works.Because this is not an action or character driven story, but one in which geometry makes the rules and the reader tries to visualize how this world is constructed. Instead of a 3-dimensional space and 1 dimension of time, we have 2 of each.After playing with this simulation here, I could imagine a bit how one can move into this two-dimensional space, but I’m very far in imagining exactly how or how the inhabitants look like. They are east or west facers, have axial fingers, northern and southern ones, the east facers can move and see only east and when moving backwards to west they tip their heads backwards to see where they are moving, to north and south they can only slide and rely on their symbiont companion’s echolocation system to ‘see’ north and south, as they cannot rotate.Sounds insane, doesn’t it? It really does. And is. It is a mind-bending book, not resembling anything else I read so far, the exact definition for sci-fi of ideas. Unfortunately, by not having enough background in math, I can’t say I enjoyed it to the fullest. However, I liked the idea, the relationship between the symbionts, their system of values, the way world is constructed. It’s not the author’s fault that my neurons didn’t live up to the challenge.But I would recommend this book to all those who welcome a challenge and are open minded, because it is a one of a kind experience.Note: before you start it, take a look at the material related to this story on Greg Egan’ site:http://www.gregegan.net/DICHRONAUTS/D...And engrave this image into your brain, because this is the world of the dichronauts:*ARC received via NetGalley thanks to Skyhorse Publishing
    more
  • Liviu
    April 11, 2017
    read a few pages and it's excellent (G. Egan is one of the few truly mind boggling sf authors of today) so far - really worth checking the author's page about it and thinking a little about the implications of the universe metrichttp://www.gregegan.net/DICHRONAUTS/D...
    more
  • Gary
    May 11, 2017
    The world of Greg Egan’s Dichronauts contains two spatial dimensions and two temporal ones. The people of this world are symbiotes, each comprised of a “walker” and a “sider” – siders are parasites who leech nourishment from their walkers; walkers can only see one side of the world on their own and need their siders to see the other. The sun revolves around the earth in this world, so its people are constantly migrating to stay within its habitable zones. The walker Seth and his sider, Theo, are The world of Greg Egan’s Dichronauts contains two spatial dimensions and two temporal ones. The people of this world are symbiotes, each comprised of a “walker” and a “sider” – siders are parasites who leech nourishment from their walkers; walkers can only see one side of the world on their own and need their siders to see the other. The sun revolves around the earth in this world, so its people are constantly migrating to stay within its habitable zones. The walker Seth and his sider, Theo, are surveyors who scout the migration paths for their home city. Together, they make a discovery, and embark on a journey, that quite literally turns their world upside down.That journey is not lacking for interesting turns and revelations, though these are only stimulating to the intellect, and to the base desire of the sci-fi reader to explore and map out new frontiers. The physical properties of this world are explored in detail, but its society has no real culture to speak of; they seem to exist only to rationalize their environment, which seems to be all the author is concerned with as well. Characters and relationships are crudely fashioned and bear no emotional fruit to engage the reader. In other words, if you love geometry as much as Greg Egan does, Dichronauts is your kind of novel. I can’t make a higher recommendation without a more complete experience.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC.
    more
  • David Swanson
    April 10, 2017
    Fascinating but a bit too cleverAs with most novels by Egan, I'm very glad I took the time to read it, and equally as glad that I never have to read it again.Egan has a knack for introducing us to genuinely alien worlds and viewpoints, and this novel is no different. Introducing exactly how things differ from our viewpoint is possibly a spoiler, but suffice to say that the afterword explains things extremely clearly... if you can grasp the mathematics.The downside to all this is that the plottin Fascinating but a bit too cleverAs with most novels by Egan, I'm very glad I took the time to read it, and equally as glad that I never have to read it again.Egan has a knack for introducing us to genuinely alien worlds and viewpoints, and this novel is no different. Introducing exactly how things differ from our viewpoint is possibly a spoiler, but suffice to say that the afterword explains things extremely clearly... if you can grasp the mathematics.The downside to all this is that the plotting is rather elastic, with no consistent sense of pace, and I couldn't really connect with any of the characters.I feel almost bad rating this at three stars, but it's not a book I can recommend to everyone. In this case, a three star rating means you should pick it up if hard but abstract sci-fi is your thing, or possibly if any of the above has made you curious. Otherwise, I think you'll find it a hard book to enjoy.
    more
  • Soh Kam Yung
    May 3, 2017
    Another interesting Hard SF read by Egan. It's not as mind-bending or physics-bending as his "Orthogonal" series but contains intriguing ideas and characters. In contrast to his previous books where the characters slowly learn (and educate the reader about) the physics of their environment, here they are already well versed in the strange (to us) geometry of their universe and its consequences.In this book, Egan posits a world that has two space dimensions and two time-like dimensions. The resul Another interesting Hard SF read by Egan. It's not as mind-bending or physics-bending as his "Orthogonal" series but contains intriguing ideas and characters. In contrast to his previous books where the characters slowly learn (and educate the reader about) the physics of their environment, here they are already well versed in the strange (to us) geometry of their universe and its consequences.In this book, Egan posits a world that has two space dimensions and two time-like dimensions. The resulting geometry is a hyperboloid world orbited by a sun that is slowly wandering south. The inhabitants of various cities are thus forced to migrate to remain in the habitable zone of their world.The story starts with two characters, a 'walker' named Seth, who can only face eastwards or westwards, and his parasitic companion Theo who lives in his head and apparently uses echo location to see what is north or south. In the course of the story, they become surveyors who survey the landscape that their city would migrate to.On a particularly long survey journey, they encounter a city which, to them, has committed a species wide crime. But that is small compared to what they ultimately encounter; the apparent edge of their world whose depths they would have to survey to discover whether it can be bypassed when their city eventually encounters the edge.In this adventure into the depths, their knowledge of the geometry of their world would be tested as they encounter strange new lifeforms and then perform some personal sacrifices to be able to return to their city with knowledge that will be vital to their survival.As usual, Greg Egan provides a supplementary website that explains the geometry of the world. While not strictly necessary, I found it to be very helpful in understanding the challenges the characters have in living in this kind of universe and how things work.Yet another interesting book by Egan for those who are more interested in strange world-building.
    more
  • Stacey Kondla
    August 1, 2017
    I found this to be a challenging read and quite different from the Greg Egan books I have read previously. The math and geometry in this was a bit beyond me, but it was still an entertaining story with an interesting sociological story thread. I wouldn't recommend this as a starter to Greg Egan, but I'm glad I read it and will be interested to read whatever he comes out with next. Without a doubt this was the strangest world with a very strange society and strange life forms.
    more
  • Guilherme
    April 22, 2017
    This really should have been a comic or videogame, or anything with more of a visual component to it. I hadn't even realized it was possible to get myself this mixed up in regard to cardinal directions.
  • SJ Higbee
    July 11, 2017
    In order to be better able to visualise this world, my firm advice is to visit Greg Egan’s site at the link:http://www.gregegan.net/DICHRONAUTS/D...where you can discover how he came up with this intriguing creation and the inhabitants. Alongside all the maths, the world is also more fully explained before you plunge into this one. Inevitably, I discovered the site after I had completed the book and although I had picked up the gist of what was going on, it would have been helpful to have unders In order to be better able to visualise this world, my firm advice is to visit Greg Egan’s site at the link:http://www.gregegan.net/DICHRONAUTS/D...where you can discover how he came up with this intriguing creation and the inhabitants. Alongside all the maths, the world is also more fully explained before you plunge into this one. Inevitably, I discovered the site after I had completed the book and although I had picked up the gist of what was going on, it would have been helpful to have understood more of the complexities of the world and this remarkable indigenous species as I was reading it. However, if this story was simply about an enjoyably weird world and creature with little story or dry-as-dust descriptions bulking up the book – while I would doubtless have something enthusiastic and polite to say about Egan’s extraordinary imagination, I wouldn’t be nearly as excited about this one as I am.For not only does Egan offer a unique world and alien race – he also provides a cracking adventure story full of tension and excitement right from the start through to the climactic ending. I quickly bonded with Seth and his parasitic companion Theo and enjoyed the tensions and teamwork evident in their linked partnership. What happens if the Walker host has a major quarrel with his Sider? This premise is also explored within the story. I stayed up far later than I should to find out what happens to this embattled species as Seth and Theo struggle to discover a river big enough to support the large city where he was born and bred.I love this one. Brilliant and inventive, this book reminds me all over again just why I love science fiction so much…10/10
    more
  • Mirsha
    June 19, 2017
    I wanted to like this story but just found myself unable to really get into it. It takes place in a universe where there is a fundamental difference in physics and it explores what this means, but the books main failing for me is that it does a poor job of explaining how these changes affect the world. I had to consult the web site a couple of times, with it's diagrams and maths, to try and work out what was going on as the book did a poor job of explaining it's rules to me. This left me unable I wanted to like this story but just found myself unable to really get into it. It takes place in a universe where there is a fundamental difference in physics and it explores what this means, but the books main failing for me is that it does a poor job of explaining how these changes affect the world. I had to consult the web site a couple of times, with it's diagrams and maths, to try and work out what was going on as the book did a poor job of explaining it's rules to me. This left me unable to engage fully with the characters which made the book a bit of a slog to read at times.
    more
  • Pavel Lishin
    July 19, 2017
    Gonna have to brush up on my Dichronaut cosmology, and re-read this one, I think. I'm still pretty unclear how Walkers' hands and fingers work.There's some interesting parallels here with Peter Watts' Blindsight: The Gang's accusation of what 20th century psychiatry was up to, and Thanton.
    more
  • Trickyplayer
    July 5, 2017
    Had to give up as so tediousA terrible book. Some of the scientific concepts in this book are interesting but it is a very slow boring book. Gave up 15% of the way through.
  • Joey
    July 25, 2017
    Like a first-person account of the inside of an Escher print.
  • Zack Wussow
    July 19, 2017
    Mind bending but fun.
  • Cindy
    July 21, 2017
    Imaginative world building! Were I interested in geometry and higher math, I would have been really into this. Fortunately for me, I listened to the audiobook so it was easier to not dwell on the minutiae of the characters' calculations.
Write a review