1 A 3 O R N

Permutation City

by Greg Egan

Created: 2021-07-08
Wordcount: 0.2k

This is my re-read of Permutation City, perhaps my third or fourth. By the end of this time, I admit, I was aggressively skimming.


  1. Having read it so many times -- I wish that characters spent a little more time thinking about what it would mean to "find yourself" in a self-contained, self-consistent world. How does the trade-off between consistency and simplicity work? Is it related to Kolmogorov complexity, or something else? What are the patterns of awareness and consciousness that can find themselves in such coherent worlds? Are they really thus causally indifferent?

In a lot of Egan's other works -- i.e., Incandescence, Clockwork Rocket, and so on, the characters are obsessed by math, and you can follow along with the math in the work. Here, sadly, less so.

This is a relatively light criticism of Egan -- that he isn't at his Eganiness. But still.

  1. Everything is in service of the central themes about consistency. In some ways, it is more rewarding on a reread. In other ways, well, I wish there was a little more characterization.