The Calculus of Greg Egan Story Collections

Paul R. Potts

I wrote this solely to assist people trying to collect all of Greg Egan’s stories. It is always frustrating, trying to track down the works of a reader who has released work over a number of years, in different, overlapping collections, some of which are often out of print. There’s not much else to say about this little piece.

Things get even more complex when authors revise stories for later collections. Fortunately I don’t think Egan has done this.

Here’s the calculus of Greg Egan short story collections. Pay close attention!

Axiomatic is… well, axiomatic. It does not overlap with any later collections, and it is essential, since it contains some truly excellent stories.

Luminous = ( Our Lady of Chernobyl - “Beyond the Whistle Test” ) + 6 more stories including “Luminous.”

Oceanic = ( Dark Integers and Other Stories - Luminous ) + ( Crystal Nights and Other Stories - the story “TAP” )

So, if you must buy only one Greg Egan short story collection, start with Axiomatic.

If you want to get most of his best recent stories, buy Oceanic.

Honestly, those two collections will get you most of his best work.

If you want pretty much all of his stories, go with Axiomatic, Luminous, Dark Integers, and Crystal Nights.

If you own Dark Integers and Crystal Nights, Oceanic is completely redundant; it won’t gain you a single story. So don’t bother, unless of course you’re collecting the different editions themselves.

Our Lady of Chernobyl still contains one story not collected elsewhere — “Beyond the Whistle Test.” Unfortunately, Our Lady of Chernobyl is scarce (only 500 copies were printed). I’ve got a copy, because I’m a madman, and no, you can’t borrow it. I also have a copy of An Unusual Angle, the paperback, not the exceedingly rare hardcover, and no, you can’t borrow that either. Go start your own obsessive, eclectic collection!

Note that many of Egan’s stories are available online from various sources, as documented on Egan’s bibliography web page. So if you are just looking to get a taste of Egan, or to find one particular story, start there.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
March 4, 2011

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