The cover of Instantiation


by Greg Egan

A collection of short stories set in the near future with technology as the main focus. It’s very much akin to Exhalation, but has an extra layer of meta-structure that really surprised me.

There are lots of smaller stories that have nicely packaged plot arcs, but the “main” thread — the story that culminates in the titular chapter — is where this collection sets itself apart. Some of the physics-bending of the settings is hard to reckon with; there’s a bit that’s set in a world where gravity is 90° offset, and another in a mathematically rigorous 3-adic universe. But beyond that, the characters are sympathetic and grapple with really challenging decisions.