Greg Egan

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Greg Egan
Infographic from Greg Egan's web site stating that he appears in no photos on the web. [1]
BornGregory Mark Egan [2]
(1961-08-20) 20 August 1961 (age 57) [2]
OccupationWriter, former programmer [3]
Nationality Australian
Period1983–present (as SF writer)
Genre Science fiction
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Greg Egan (born 20 August 1961) [2] is an Australian science fiction writer and amateur mathematician, best known for his works of hard science fiction. Egan has won multiple awards including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Hugo Award, and the Locus Award.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Hard science fiction Science fiction with concern for scientific accuracy

Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by concern for scientific accuracy and logic. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell's Islands of Space in the November issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The complementary term soft science fiction, formed by analogy to hard science fiction, first appeared in the late 1970s. The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl argues that neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy; instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.

Hugo Award Literary awards for science fiction or fantasy

The Hugo Awards are a set of literary awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. Organized and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society, the awards are given each year at the annual World Science Fiction Convention as the central focus of the event. They were first given in 1953 at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, and have been awarded every year since 1955. Over the years that the award has been given, the categories presented have changed; currently the award is given in more than a dozen categories and includes both written and dramatic works of various types. The Hugos are widely considered the premier award in science fiction.


Life and Work

Egan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Western Australia. [3] [4] [5]

University of Western Australia university in Perth, Western Australia

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is a public research university in the Australian state of Western Australia. The university's main campus is in Perth, the state capital, with a secondary campus in Albany and various other facilities elsewhere.

He published his first work in 1983. [6] He specialises in hard science fiction stories with mathematical and quantum ontology themes, including the nature of consciousness. Other themes include genetics, simulated reality, posthumanism, mind uploading, sexuality, artificial intelligence, and the superiority of rational naturalism to religion. He often deals with complex technical material, like new physics and epistemology. He is a Hugo Award winner (with eight other works shortlisted for the Hugos) and has also won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. [7] His early stories feature strong elements of supernatural horror.

Mathematics Field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change. It has no generally accepted definition.

Consciousness state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives." You become aware that your actions have an effect on other people.

Genetics Science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms

Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.

Egan's short stories have been published in a variety of genre magazines, including regular appearances in Interzone and Asimov's Science Fiction .

<i>Interzone</i> (magazine) British fantasy and science fiction magazine

Interzone is a British fantasy and science fiction magazine. Published since 1982, Interzone is the eighth longest-running English language science fiction magazine in history, and the longest-running British SF magazine. Stories published in Interzone have been finalists for the Hugo Awards and have won a Nebula Award and numerous British Science Fiction Awards.

<i>Asimovs Science Fiction</i> American science fiction magazine

Asimov's Science Fiction is an American science fiction magazine which publishes science fiction and fantasy named after science fiction author Isaac Asimov. It is currently published by Penny Publications. From January 2017, the publication frequency is bimonthly.


In 2018, Egan devised an algorithm to produce superpermutations, thus giving an upper bound to their length. On 27 February 2019, using ideas developed by Robin Houston and others, Egan produced a superpermutation of n = 7 symbols of length 5906, breaking previous records. [8] [9]

Superpermutation string of n symbols that contains each permutation of n symbols as a substring

In combinatorial mathematics, a superpermutation on n symbols is a string that contains each permutation of n symbols as a substring. While trivial superpermutations can simply be made up of every permutation listed together, superpermutations can also be shorter because overlap is allowed. For instance, in the case of n = 2, the superpermutation 1221 contains all possible permutations, but the shorter string 121 also contains both permutations.

Personal life

As of 2015, Egan lives in Perth. He has actively opposed asylum seekers' mandatory detention in Australia. [10] Egan is a vegetarian [3] [11] and an atheist. [12]

Perth City in Western Australia

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is named after the city of Perth, Scotland and is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with a population of 2.06 million living in Greater Perth. Perth is part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, with the majority of the metropolitan area located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp. The first areas settled were on the Swan River at Guildford, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both later founded downriver.

Vegetarianism practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animals processed for food.

Egan does not attend science fiction conventions, [13] does not sign books, and has stated that he appears in no photographs on the web, [1] though both SF fan sites and Google Search have at times mistakenly represented photos of other people with the same name as those of the writer. [14]


Egan is a multiple Seiun Award winner. [7]

Teranesia was named the winner of the 2000 Ditmar Award for best novel, but Egan declined the award. [7]



Orthogonal trilogy


Axiomatic (1995), ISBN   1-85798-281-9

  • The Infinite Assassin
  • The Hundred Light-Year Diary
  • Eugene
  • The Caress
  • Blood Sisters
  • Axiomatic
  • The Safe-Deposit Box
  • Seeing
  • A Kidnapping
  • Learning to Be Me
  • The Moat
  • The Walk
  • The Cutie
  • Into Darkness
  • Appropriate Love
  • The Moral Virologist
  • Closer [15]
  • Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies

Our Lady of Chernobyl (1995), ISBN   0-646-23230-4

  • Chaff
  • Beyond the Whistle Test
  • Transition Dreams
  • Our Lady of Chernobyl

Luminous (1998), ISBN   1-85798-551-6

  • Chaff
  • Mitochondrial Eve
  • Luminous
  • Mister Volition
  • Cocoon
  • Transition Dreams
  • Silver Fire
  • Reasons to Be Cheerful
  • Our Lady of Chernobyl
  • The Planck Dive

Dark Integers and Other Stories (2008), ISBN   978-1-59606-155-2

Crystal Nights and Other Stories (2009), ISBN   978-1-59606-240-5

Oceanic (2009), ISBN   978-0-575-08652-4

  • Lost Continent
  • Dark Integers
  • Crystal Nights
  • Steve Fever
  • Induction
  • Singleton
  • Oracle
  • Border Guards
  • Riding the Crocodile
  • Glory
  • Hot Rock
  • Oceanic

Other short fiction

Academic papers

Short movies

The production of a short film inspired by the story "Axiomatic" commenced in 2015, [37] and the film was released online in October 2017. [38]


  1. Singleton introduced the concept of the Qusp, which was later used in the novel Schild's Ladder .
  2. Wang refers to the mathematician Hao Wang  – the carpets are living embodiments of Wang tiles. This story, minorly reworked, became a section of the novel Diaspora .
  3. Dust was incorporated into the novel Permutation City as the first few chapters in one narrative thread.
  4. Event symmetry note on Egan's Dust Theory

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  1. 1 2 "Photos of Greg Egan, science fiction writer". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Egan, Greg". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction .
  3. 1 2 3 Burnham, Karen (30 April 2014). Greg Egan. ISBN   978-0-252-07993-1 . Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  4. Booker, M. Keith (1 October 2014). Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction in Literature. p. 98. ISBN   978-0810849389 . Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  5. "UWA Award Verification Service" . Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  6. "Bibliography". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 "Greg Egan" . Science Fiction Awards Database ( Mark R. Kelly and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation . 2012–2013.
  8. Egan, Greg. "Superpermutations" . Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  9. Klarreich, Erica. "Mystery Math Whiz and Novelist Advance Permutation Problem". Quanta Magazine . Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  10. Egan, Greg (17 February 2005). "Letters from the forgotten - Opinion". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  11. Egan, Greg (19 October 2008). "Iran Trip Diary: Part 2, Esfahan". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  12. Egan, Greg (2009). "Born Again, Briefly". In Blackford, Russell; Schüklenk, Udo (eds.). 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Sussex: Wiley–Blackwell.
  13. Farr, Russell (September 1997). "Interviews". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. Egan, Greg (24 August 2012). "Google, the Stupidity Amplifier". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  15. Egan, Greg (April 1992). "Closer". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  16. Egan, Greg (31 December 2006). "Riding the Crocodile". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  17. Egan, Greg (October 2007). "Dark Integers". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  18. "Harper Voyager Books: FREE HUGO SHORT STORIES: Ken Macleod and Greg Egan". 27 March 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  19. Egan, Greg (27 January 2009). "Interzone: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Crystal Nights". TTA Press. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  20. Egan, Greg (15 October 2007). "Steve Fever | MIT Technology Review". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  21. Egan, Greg (8 August 2002). "Singleton". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  22. Egan, Greg (12 November 2000). "Oracle". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  23. Egan, Greg (12 April 1999). "Border Guards". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  24. Egan, Greg (9 August 2000). "Only Connect". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  25. Egan, Greg (1997). "Yeyuka - a short story". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  26. Egan, Greg (1992). "Worthless - a short story". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  27. Egan, Greg (29 May 2001). "Mind Vampires". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  28. Egan, Greg (July 1991). "The Demon's Passage". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  29. Egan, Greg (December 1990). "The Vat". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  30. Egan, Greg (August 1990). "The Extra". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  31. Egan, Greg (16 May 2001). "Scatter My Ashes". Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  32. Alexander, Niall (12 June 2014). "Step into the Stars: Reach for Infinity, ed. Jonathan Strahan". . Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  33. Chen, Ruoxi (26 April 2018). "Announcing Perihelion Summer, a New Novella from Greg Egan". . Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  34. Christensen, J Daniel; Egan, Greg (24 January 2002). "An efficient algorithm for the Riemannian 10j symbols". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 19 (6): 1185–1194. arXiv: gr-qc/0110045 . Bibcode:2002CQGra..19.1185C. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/19/6/310.
  35. Baez, John C; Christensen, J Daniel; Egan, Greg (4 November 2002). "Asymptotics of 10j symbols". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 19 (24): 6489. arXiv: gr-qc/0208010 . doi:10.1088/0264-9381/19/24/315.
  36. Egan, Greg (19 October 2015). "Conic-Helical Orbits of Planets around Binary Stars do not Exist". Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy. 130 (130). arXiv: 1510.05345 . Bibcode:2018CeMDA.130....5E. doi:10.1007/s10569-017-9803-7.
  37. Axiomatic on IMDb
  38. "Axiomatic". Film shortage. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.