• Schild's Ladder

  • By: Greg Egan
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (183 ratings)

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Schild's Ladder  By  cover art

Schild's Ladder

By: Greg Egan
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's summary

The Age of Death ended countless millennia ago. No longer burdened by limited lifespans, the immortal humans who populate inhabited space now have the luxury to travel vast distances effortlessly and to tinker with the intricate mechanics of space time. But one such experiment in quantum physics has had a catastrophic and unanticipated result, creating an enormous, rapidly expanding vacuum - a region of new physics - with the frightening potential to devour countless inhabited solar systems.

Tchicaya abandoned his home world four thousand years ago to travel the universe, freely choosing, as have others of his bent, to endure the hardships of distance and loneliness for the sake of knowledge and experience. Aboard the Rindler, a starship trawling the border of the all consuming novo-vacuum, he feels his endless life has new purpose. For the Rindler is the center for the scientific study the phenomenon - a common ground for Preservationists and Yielders alike, those working to halt and destroy the encroaching worlds-eater…and those determined to investigate its marvels while allowing its growth to continue unchecked. Tchicaya has allied himself firmly with the latter camp.

The passing decades - and inevitable expansion of the void - widen the great rift between the two factions, intensifying what was once simply ideological differences into something more angry, explosive, and dangerous. And the arrival of Tchicaya's fiery first love, Mariama, and her immediate embracing of the Preservationist cause, intensifies an inner turmoil he has been struggling with since his distant childhood. But everything onboard the Rindler - and, ultimately, in the inhabited universe itself - is on the cusp of further cataclysmic change, as the Yielders' explorations threaten to transform discord into violent action and potential xenocide.

For new evidence suggests that something unthinkable is developing at an astounding rate deep within the mysterious, 600-light-years-wide void - something neither Tchicaya and his compatriots nor Mariama and hers could ever have imagined possible: life.

©2013 Greg Egan (P)2013 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Schild's Ladder

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard science fiction - no kiddin'

Greg Eagan is a programmer, but he sure could fool me into thinking he's a theoretical physicist. Really enjoyed the science.

Was looking forward to listening to more of his books. The ones I'm especially interested in are narrated by Adam Epstein. Mr. Epstein has received some very negative reviews. But I REALLY wanted to listed to those books. I thought, "Well he may not be great, but it can't be so bad that I'd not enjoy the book." Listened to samples. He was WORSE than the reviews. (Sorry, Mr. Epstein.) I couldn't even get through the sample, never mind a book! Terrible. I simply cannot buy those other books. I strongly suggest you don't, either.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Prerequisite: PHYS 201

If you can say the phrase "That's just elementary quantum mechanics" with a straight face, you will probably find this book to be a fun (if somewhat predictable) romp through some amusing "big-think" physics concepts, with an admirable level of rigor. (There's no faster-than-light travel, for example.) If you enjoy playing "what-if" with systems of fundamental laws of physics, you'll probably enjoy the twist that Egan comes up with.

However, if you are a little overwhelmed by phrases like "tetravalent graph", "complex spatial dimension", or "superposition state", you may find this pretty heavy going, with less reward in characterization or plot development. The "hook" of this book is the speculation on its universe, while the characters primarily serve as a vehicle to deliver the reader a tour of the author's vision.

As usual, Paul Boehmer's narration is fine, and he serves up the weighty dish of quantum terminology without breaking a sweat.

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12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narration is horrible. Almost as bad as Adam Ep

Why does Greg's books get sandbagged by the worst narrators on offer? I bought this book because it wasn't one of his narrated by Adam Epstein thinking it couldn't possibly be as bad. I was right, it wasn't as bad, but close enough.

Narration is bad when it pulls you out of the story.
Narration is really bad when you can't even get into the story it's so distracting.

This is really bad narration.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and Difficult SF

Enjoyable hard science fiction. It goes off on long descriptions of made up physics that many people say they've found intimidating. Being fluent in theoretical physics certainly makes this book easier to read. A science experiment creates a void that starts destroying the galaxy. Everyone tries to find out how to stop it.

(Before this I read Diaspora. That book is best read with a computer science degree if you want to get it fully. And I found the plot structure to be generally similar. Despite that, they are very different novels with very different settings.)

I think hard science fiction is a bit of a misnomer. It's hard as in difficult, but not hard as in taking fewer liberties with physics.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

for star trek NG fans who wished for more tech

The title is me, I wish Star trek Ng would have been WAY more tech and WAY less social commentary. Thats exactly what Schilds Ladder is. It is not the worlds best written novel. but the concepts Egan conceived and brought forth are well worth the credit to me. The book ended with I'd like to go home, which might as well have said I'm tired of writing (since the driving force of the plot had yet to be rectified). So all faults weighed, I feel that anyone who likes to open their mind and dream of what is yet to be, how far can humanity travel, what are the boundaries of space and physics then this book is for you and you will feel your credit well spent.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good stuff

There is a lot of technical and fabricated science fiction jargon. If you don't mind that, this is a great book. Greg Egan really knows how to layer his more "out there" ideas into the events in the story

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

High Concept with Rich Narration

Science fiction meets mathematic rigor to tell a first person discovery epic of a real life flatland, or rather, a flatlander discovering 3D space. Wide variety of environments, concepts, and interactions to experience. Narrator is consistent, confident, and fancy.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

AI generated performance?

if I didn't know any better, I would swear that the narrator was an AI reading the book. Paul boehmer voice is so flat and robotic. It felt like it was a very advanced AI reading a narration of a book that actually human

The story was interesting. I felt like I lost a plot multiple times during the book, but over all I liked story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love me some tensor math

Egan is the only science fiction writer who is best complemented with a tall hot coffee or tea and library access to a suite of mathematics journals. His books are not the easy jaunt of the Bobiverse, or the sex saturated worlds of Robert Heinlein. An Egan book is something you can walk away from feeling invigorated, having your understandings of physics and mathematics broadened. If you love the intellect and changing how you think, throw yourself at Egan's work and walk away a better person for the engagement.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worthwhile

Physics pedants may pull apart some of the finer points, but overall it’s an enjoyable read. If you can follow contextual clues and cues and have a mild understanding of the broader concepts in physics you don’t need any specialized knowledge to understand the intent of the authors use of physics to explore the universe.

I read this book almost by accident after a Reddit thread mentioned the premise and knowing nothing else going in. The book takes a different direction and different allegorical mission than the end of our universe from a “new vacuum” but I still enjoyed the book immensely with all the unexpected additions of thought provoking issues in a post mortality society.

Performance is a little dry, this having been my first book with this narrator but totally acceptable.

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