Dumped: “Diaspora” by Greg Egan


Title: Diaspora

Author: Greg Egan

Dumped by: Captain Clo

Verdict: opinionated, debatable 1 star. Moving on to better places.

Sometimes, a book just doesn’t click for you. It’s one of those cases when you have to honestly say “it’s not you, it’s me” and just dump the book. Life is too short to force yourself to finish a book you don’t enjoy.
(Sometimes the sentence “it’s not me, it’s you!” also applies, but not this time.)
Such was the case for me and Greg Egan’s “Diaspora”.

It’s clear that the author writes extremely hard sci-fi; the first 30 pages or so are entirely dedicated to describe, in excruciating detail, how an AI is born and how it develops a sense of self, all in a excruciatingly detailed virtual city that orchestrates its birth.
Key word being: excruciatingly.
I’m sure experts of the field and enthusiasts might enjoy that, but from my point of view that’s just a giant narrative faux pas. Author appeal is at the origin of every novel, but in my opinion, a book that indulges its own author’s very narrow interests is in need of a good editor. Also, after I finally labored over this part, nothing happened. The pace was slow and it wasn’t clear what the plot was. Granted, I didn’t make it over the 18% mark, but good narration gives you the stakes of the plot in the first chapter. Or at least, that’s what I always thought.

I’m going to gently put this book down and whisper very very lovingly, “You know what my good Science Teacher used to tell me? If you can’t explain something to your grandma, you don’t really know the subject you’re trying to explain, dear“. Words to live by, honestly.


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