Greg Egan
Our Lady of Chernobyl (C) (1995)
Reviewed: 1996-04-05

This small book collects four short stories, set throughout the 21st century, previously published in Interzone and Analog. Exploring various aspects of the human mind, physical, metaphysical, and psychological, Egan proves again that he is a great ideas writer.

"Chaff" (1993): A U.S. intelligence operative is sent into El Nido, a bio-engineered jungle serving as the bastion of the South American drug cartel, to retrieve a defected scientist who worked on biological weapons. A story full of very slick bio-technology.

"Beyond the Whistle Test" (1989): An advertising professional gets more than what he paid for when he buys catchy tunes optimized for the neural pathways in the auditory part of the human brain. Moral: Don't mess with the brain.

"Transition Dreams" (1993): Egan returns to the Copies of Permutation City. What happens to consciousness during the computation between discrete states?

"Our Lady of Chernobyl" (1994): A private investigator is hired to locate a Ukrainian icon which has disappeared on its way from Zürich to Milano, leaving behind only a dead courier in Wien. His search turns into a journey across an old continent torn between past and future.

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