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The Clockwork Rocket

av Greg Egan

Serier: Orthogonal (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3651253,321 (3.39)15
"In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky. As a child, Yalda witnesses one of a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed. It becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger--and the task of dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilization has yet achieved! Only one solution seems tenable: if a spacecraft can be sent on a journey at sufficiently high speed, its trip will last many generations for those on board, but it will return after just a few years have passed at home. The travelers will have a chance to discover the science their planet urgently needs, and bring it back in time to avert disaster."--Dust jacket flap.… (mer)
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» Se även 15 omnämnanden

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In one sense this is the most ambitious SF novel I've ever read. In every other it's kinda insipid. That one sense? The science! Generally, SF that isn't actually Engineering Fiction or (the very rare) Mathematics Fiction or Alternative History does its science by saying those scientific laws you know? They're approximately right but what if there was this extra thing I've made up? (Hyperspace, wormholes that don't have singularities in the middle, infinite computing power...)

Egan asks, what if the fundamental topology, geometry and laws of relativity were in fact different? (Here's a universe where there's no maximum velocity, time behaves exactly like space, in terms of laws of motion, oh, and the universe is the shape of a ring doughnut.) The answer is, apparently, then your story is 50% exposition about the consequences for physics, chemistry and biology, as discovered by our characters. Said consequences are very weird indeed and require more graphs than I've ever seen in a novel by some stretch. Perhaps the most weird thing, though, is that the consequences for alien psychology and social structure are almost negligable...

I'm pretty excited about reading the two follow-up volumes but mainly because I want to know how microscopic physics works over there in Torus Universe. Whether and how the aiens save their planet come a long distant second and third. I have no idea how this stuff is supposed to appeal to anybody without a physics BSc, I don't know. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Greg Egan writes some freaky cool SF. But a word to the wise: expect relatively rigorous math when you step into his worlds.

I'm not saying that you can't follow any of the plots or enjoy the characters without it, but your basic enjoyment of this will stem directly from your enjoyment of FREAKING COOL MATH.

Not that I followed everything, myself, but learning and enjoying the process gave me pretty much all the enjoyment I needed while reading. :) I mean, yes, getting to know a race of people (read aliens) who are very much plant-like and bud and regrow limbs and eat the light that the forest produces IS FREAKING COOL. And learning that their light perception gives them the ability to grok a much deeper sense of red and blue shifts, even minor time-travel perception, is also FREAKING COOL.

And then we learn that this whole universe happens to be envisioned on a simple little alteration from our own? That there is no light-speed? That the speed is based on the frequency and there is no upper limit, that energy can be created out of very odd sources? Like plants? This isn't energy conservation, this is energy creation. As in, fundamental.

So yeah, we go from basic life to basic science to uncovering the secrets of this particular universe all the way up to making a generational starship run by intelligent plants and see them STOP TIME and ... go backward. :)

And Egan does all of this step by step, giving us a sometimes loose interpretation but still a helluvalot more strenuous proof than almost any SF out there. Besides his own, of course. Because he kinda does this all the time. And blows us away. :)

Otherwise, what we have here is a steampunk novel with plant-aliens breaking the fundamental laws of the universe on a generational starship. HOW COOL IS THAT? :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Sono un "credente" della scienza e pur non avendo la preparazione né l'intelligenza per poter apprezzare a pieno l'universo ortogonale di Egan, intravedo quanto -fantascientificamente- possa essere realistico, apprezzandone ogni singolo Luxagen. ( )
  gi0rgi0 | Mar 25, 2020 |
Long form review on my blog (see my author page). In short: OMG, this book hurt and maybe broke my brain with the physics, but the story and the species kept me fascinated. I want to bone up pretty seriously and read this again, someday. Best book I've read this year so far! ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
I think I am following a majority of the fictional physics, and I find myself caring about the fates of the (alien) characters - despite feeling like they're not quite alien enough, given their very different biology and physical world* - so, I'll give it four stars despite the fact it's rough sledding sometimes. (Not a light read.) We'll see if vol II can keep it up.

*though obviously, if it were alternate physics lessons combined with aliens who are truly alien and therefore hard to relate to, it would pretty much be impossible to read. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
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"In Yalda's universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. On Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting their own light into the dark night sky. As a child, Yalda witnesses one of a series of strange meteors, the Hurtlers, that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed. It becomes apparent that her world is in imminent danger--and the task of dealing with the Hurtlers will require knowledge and technology far beyond anything her civilization has yet achieved! Only one solution seems tenable: if a spacecraft can be sent on a journey at sufficiently high speed, its trip will last many generations for those on board, but it will return after just a few years have passed at home. The travelers will have a chance to discover the science their planet urgently needs, and bring it back in time to avert disaster."--Dust jacket flap.

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