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Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan

A quantum mechanical experiment at a remote research outpost goes awry. The very fabric of the universe starts to unravel, forming a vacuum that swallows everything in it's path and grows at half the speed of light. Teams of transhumans race to study or obliterate the never before seen object.

In Greg Egan's new novel "Schild's Ladder", humans have effectively become immortal, by running as simulations of themselves in quantum computers or Qusps. Some embed these Qusps in flesh, others remain disembodied. A person can travel interstellar distances, by encoding themselves and trasmitting themselves as electromagnetic waves, to be ressurected at the far side, but at the cost of losing contact with everyone they leave behind.

A team of physicists at a remote outpost are studying Quantum graph theory, testing Sarumpaet's rules, which have stood for 20,000 years. They unwittingly create a quantum state that unravels the very fabric of space, and expands at half the speed of light, swallowing everything in it's path.

A couple of centuries later, two rival factions, the Preservationists and the Yielders, study the vacuum from a spacecraft built to float above the border. The Preservationists are working to stop and destroy the vacuum, the Yielders wish to study it without interfering with it, even though the very earth will be swallowed up in a few centuries time.

You can't go wrong with a novel that cites both and sci.physics.research.

Created by humberto
Last modified 2005-07-26 02:48 PM

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