I would recommend the story to a friend if they were up to the conceptual challenges the plot contains. Egan's intricacy of detail is extremely worth persevering with, but it's dense and some passages require close scrutiny. I would not, however, recommend this recording to a friend (see later answers).
This is hard Sci-Fi. It's characters are not its strong feature. As such it's heavily concept driven, and you read it for those, not for character-development. In the constraints of the genre however, I thought they were all suited to their roles, but I don't have a favourite.
I originally read this as an e-book. I was fascinated to know how a professional narrator would move through this story, dealing with its esoterica: from the subject-specific jargon to the neutral personal pronouns. This would be a challenging read for any narrator; we are immersed in a world and assume the viewpoints of its inhabitants, who don't think it's strange at all. Egan creates this effect beautifully. So far I've skipped through the audiobook only, but so far I've been appalled. The pace is slow and is sufficiently lacking in phrasing as to make it an uncomfortable listening experience, to the point where it is difficult to know what words belong with what. It also makes what was quite a surreal read positively dreary and painful. The books own conventions were clearly poorly understood, leading to uneven emphasis, and a general plodding relentlessness to the delivery. A book with Diaspora's object and Diaspora's target audience, requires much more pre reading, linguistic and typographical care, and general attention to detail than has been demonstrated by this performance.
I think that this book would be totally ruined by a movie adaptation. It's so in-the-mind that to have the details dished up for you would completely miss the point.
One of the best Hard Science Fiction stories I've read in years. One of the most mediocre audio-performances as well. Had I known I would have saved my credit for another title. May it be a lesson to me to preview things before checking out.
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