Book Review: Phoresis by Greg Egan

Cover of the book Phoresis by Greg Egan
Phoresis
by Greg Egan
Subterranean, 2018

This review was first published by Booklist on March 1, 2018.

**STARRED REVIEW** Tvíbura and Tvíburi: twin planets locked in close orbit. Tvíbura is inhabited, Tvíburi isn’t. When an environmental crisis threatens to render life unsustainable on Tvíbura, the people there undertake a generations-long project to build a bridge to reach their twin planet and save themselves. Phoresis is an elegant, spare, evocative jewel of a novella told in three parts. We see the genesis of the project, its fruition, and the eventual outcome. The title (which means transmission) is both a literal description of the main action of the story and almost poetic in its sound. It’s an appropriate encapsulation of this book. Egan (Incandescence, 2008) offers a master class in world building—he starts with a strong, science-based idea and envisions a unique people with a vibrant culture that inhabit a complex world. It all works together to create an immensely satisfying experience. He recognizes this is a story worth telling but doesn’t try to force it to be a full novel. He tells us everything necessary with nothing extraneous; there’s tremendous depth in his brevity. In a genre dominated by series and lengthy tomes, Phoresis is a refreshing reminder that compelling stories come in all lengths.

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