The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred by Greg Egan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a surprisingly fun read! It looks like I've neglected this author for far too long.
This novella was full of sharp prose and even sharper ideas, turning the old ethical quandary of the many and the few into a pretty harrowing conflict.
These are just people whose ancestors may or may not have profited by intellectual capitalism, and yet the modern society has decided to culturally and lawfully punish the current innocents. What happens later is nothing less than a fight for doing the right thing against heavy ethical scales. All choices become bad ones, and how this gets resolved is quite poignant.
Hard SF? Yes, but it doesn't even feel like it. It feels like a great story that should be studied from any field of literature. Great characters? Absolutely. I feel almost as if it was happening now, and perhaps it is.
Think of the amazingly oppressive social and economic stigma put on Germany and the innocents who had never been a part of the war. This story is on this high level, and I applaud. Greg Egan is a smart man with one hell of an ethical heart. :)
Thanks goes to Netgalley for this ARC!
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