Permutation City

By Greg Egan
"Permutation City" by Greg Egan is a mind-bending science fiction novel set in a future where humanity has discovered how to digitally create and simulate conscious minds. In this ethereal landscape, the concept of personal identity is challenged, as people struggle to define their existence in a virtual world.

The story follows the journey of a software developer named Paul Durham who dreams of uploading his mind into a digital simulation called "Autoverse." In Autoverse, he plans to construct an exact copy of his world and live indefinitely, free from the constraints of a mortal body. But his ambitions face resistance from those who believe that digitized consciousness is simply a replication, devoid of true humanity.

As Paul embarks on his quest, he encounters others experimenting with the same technology. They create alternate realities within Autoverse, where identical copies of themselves explore various paths and possibilities. These copies, known as Copies, have identical memories and consciousness to their originals, but diverge through different experiences and choices.

Yet, questions arise about the authenticity of Copies and their status as conscious beings. Critics argue that they are nothing more than complex algorithms mimicking human behavior. Amidst philosophical debates and personal dilemmas, the narrative unfolds, blurring the lines between reality, illusion, and the nature of consciousness itself.

With meticulous scientific detail and philosophical exploration, Egan delves into the profound implications of digital immortality and the potential for endless existence. "Permutation City" challenges our understanding of identity and raises profound questions about the nature of consciousness, leaving readers pondering the boundaries of what it means to be human.
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