Quarantine ★★☆☆☆

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Title: Quarantine
Series: ———-
Author: Greg Egan
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 224
Words: 80K


Mr Detective-san gets hired to find out why someone kidnapped a woman from an insane asylum. She’s practically a vegetable with no rich relatives, so the police have let it slide.

This all takes place X number of years after a barrier went up in space cutting humanity off from ever reaching the stars. No one knows how or why the barrier exists but it is enough that it does.

In the process of finding Vegetable Girl, Detective-san falls in with a bunch of scyenzetists who believe that aliens put up the barrier to keep the Human Gaze from making the universe into one universe instead of a multiverse where anything is possible.

Detective-san has to do something or other, as to the infinite multitude of Detective-san’s and he gets it done. Only he’s not sure if he got it done or not. But it doesn’t matter because if there really are infinite hims, then at least one of them did it and so the Universe is saved the from the evil Human Gaze (no kidding).

My Thoughts:

First off, despite my snarky “Synopis”, this was not badly written or even thought out. The problem I had with it was just how juvenile it was. By that I mean this is the kind of story that I and my friends would have batted around as teenagers. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that I’m not a teenager now and Egan wasn’t a teenager when he wrote this.

The story ends up ultimately being pointless and whole basic premise rests on there being no God. The whole IDEA that humanity locks reality into one path as they view it but that other beings might not view things the same way, at its core denies that there is a God who views everything and that reality springs from God Himself.

The other issue was how “serious” Egan treats the idea of the multi-verse. I think the multi-verse is a great idea and should be played around with. What I don’t think is that it should be given serious consideration.

Overall, I just didn’t want to like this book and Egan didn’t do one thing to change my mind about it. This is the first Egan book I’ve read and it will definitely be the last. If you’ve read him before and like him, have at him. If you’re into trying out some older but not classic SF, this might fit the bill. Written in the 90’s, it would fit right in with such tv shows as the X-Files and Sliders. At least I enjoyed those.

I chose this cover from Librarything because all of the other ones were piss-poor pathetic stinkos. Even free Gutenberg books have better covers than most of the ones I saw in English.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

60 thoughts on “Quarantine ★★☆☆☆

  1. I’ve found that I don’t enjoy books that play around too seriously with the idea of an infinite multiverse because (whether stated or not) the plot is undermined by the “fact” that the ending we saw was just one of any number of ways that this turned out in the infinite multiverse…none of which are more “true” than any other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And Egan actually addresses what you mention in your last sentence. You get several of the realities and each one thinks they are the only surviving one (I think). It’s just messy 😦


  2. That cover is an absolute cruelty toward the author, nevermind whether he deserved it or not, we as readers definitely didn’t 😛
    I’m actually quite open to the idea that there might be a multiverse of parallel universes a la Schrodinger’s cat and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, just not in the sense of a myriad of us doing things differently which is just so unimaginative 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eh, schrodinger and the uncertainty principle only applies to measuring things. It’s been extrapolated so far outside of anything it was meant to actually deal with. Kind of like those 50’s SF where little Jonny has a nuclear lunchbox :-/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True and not – even if you apply it only to the micro scale, it changes the universe on subatomic level and thus allows for uncertainty. As for the nuclear lunchbox, I seem to remember many new writers use tiny nuclear propulsion devices as their spacecraft’s engines… Not to mention cold fusion 😜

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Science in SF is great as long as “cutting edge” isn’t treated too seriously. And that was my issue with this book.

          Keanu Reeves starred in a movie that dealt with cold fusion. I don’t remember what it is called now though. Obviously, it wasn’t that memorable 😀

          Liked by 1 person

                    1. I know you like to think you’re the boss, but I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.
                      You’re not the boss of me.

                      BUUUUT, if you were to maybe give me a winning lottery ticket, well, I’d seriously consider letting you be the boss of me….

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite the cover, I did read it in english 😀

      I’d love to take credit, but my natural modesty and humbleness prevents me 😉

      I just wanted a cover that had a cool picture….


    1. yes it is! Glad you picked up on that 😉

      These people are closer to High Priests than scientists, so I’m not going to give them the mantle of something they’ve twisted and misused. I’m seriously thinking about referring to pseudoscientists as high priests from now on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting remark about the theory cancelling out God. What I liked about the book is that it took some ideas serious, and showed what such a theory could lead too. In that sense, it was very instructive.

    I appreciate your honesty about not wanting to like it a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’ve read one Egan now, so I can check that off my list of things to do. I can at least thank you for that 😀

      And most of the time, I don’t mind when SF writers spin their ideas out to the max. I was just sick when I read this and didn’t care for it and so ripped into it.

      Liked by 1 person

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