My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This story was set so far in our future that my mind boggled a little at the distance. The human race as retreated in upon itself and lives in a city called Diaspora. It is on Earth, but the planet is no longer home to vast continents and seas. The people who live in Diaspar are virtually immortal. They can live in the city of Diaspar for hundreds of years and then they return to the computer’s memory banks. Their memories are filtered and they return to new lives every thousand or so years. Many have been reincarnated with new carbon bodies on several occasions. The whole of Diaspora is a place of many delights. No one wants to leave because they are conditioned to want to stay in their city always. What lies beyond the city walls holds no interest to any of its citizens at all. The city has existed for hundreds of thousands of years. Before that, mankind had been part of a huge Galactic empire. Humans had travelled among the stars. That huge empire lasted for almost a million years. The people of Diaspar know of these things but the collapse of the empire is only known vaguely.
On rare occasions, a unique person is born to Diaspar. The biologically enhanced humans are given a twenty-year-old body and sent forth from a waiting room to two guardians who welcome them to their first day. Most have lived before, but now and then on very rare occasions, a unique is sent to Diaspar. A unique is a new person who has not been reincarnated. Uniques have a desire to explore. They want to go beyond the city walls and find out what lies outside. What happened to the humans who travelled to the stars? There are a wealth of wonders to discover outside Diaspar. Alvin is unique and has the strong urge to find out such things. But first, he must escape from the Utopia of Diaspar.
This is set millions of years in our future and is a fine sci-fi read. I enjoyed the beginning and the ending was superb. It flagged at times in the middle. But stay with the story. It is well worth it.