Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Infinite Assassin - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 5900
Percent of complex words : 10.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 16.7


Fog : 11.0
Flesch : 60.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.9



Tasked with eliminating the producers of S drug-induced whirlpool effects throughout universes.

Blue-haired woman

Offers the assassin assistance in this particular task and universe, but has other motives.



A reality altering drug. "S grants dreamers the power to live vicariously in any parallel world in which they have an alter ego — someone with whom they share enough brain physiology to maintain the parasitic resonance of the link... For one in a hundred thousand, though, dreams are only the beginning. During their third or fourth year on S, they start to move physically from world to world, as they strive to take the place of their chosen alter egos."


Type of light globe.


The Company

The assassin's employer.


The Whirlpool

Reality shift focus of increasing power caused by mutant S users.

Cantor dust

A fractal set, uncountably infinite, but with measure zero. Assassin is mapped into this by the locals.


Higher levels of reality.



Site of a job for the assassin, and of a whirlpool cult.

Fifth floor Apartment 522

The assassin's S using target lives here.


Fat Single Mothers Must Die

A band.


The assassin's job is to put down users of the drug S who develop reality altering superpowers and cause devastating whirlpools that can grow to affect all their infinite lives. These might harm rich people's existence, so he gets called in when wealthy areas are threatened. He has to do this across all the realities they might exist in, in a probabilistic fashion. Chosen as an extremely stable individual, his latest target has help. A whirpool cult there employs their ability to co-ordinate across infinite lives to negate the assassin's skills. This shakes his sense of identity, which he has to rethink at the end.

4.5 out of 5

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