A dispersal of peoples, due to various factors - colonialism, immigration, slavery, persecution, economics, politics. Usually associated with the Jewish people - they've had, perhaps, the longest history of forced and coerced migrations, from subjugation to foreign empires in Old Testament days, to Eastern European pogroms and Hitler. But there are African and Asian diasporas as well, reaching to every continent, making possible, e.g., a Peruvian president named Alberto Fujimori.

A science fiction novel by Australian author Greg Egan. On his Web site (http://www.netspace.net.au/~gregegan/index.html), his synopsis is as follows:

"In 2975, the orphan Yatima is grown from a randomly mutated digital mind seed in the conceptory of Konishi polis. Yatima explores the Coalition of Polises, the network of computers where most life in the solar system now resides, and joins a friend, Inoshiro, to borrow an abandoned robot body and meet a thriving community of “fleshers” in the enclave of Atlanta.

Twenty-one years later, news arrives from a lunar observatory: gravitational waves from Lac G-1, a nearby pair of neutron stars, show that the Earth is about to be bathed in a gamma-ray flash created by the stars' collision — an event that was not expected to take place for seven million years. Yatima and Inoshiro return to Atlanta to try to warn the fleshers, but meet suspicion and disbelief. Some lives are saved, but the Earth is ravaged.

(This takes place in about the first third of the novel.)

In the aftermath of the disaster, the survivors resolve to discover the cause of the neutron stars' premature collision, and they launch a thousand polises into interstellar space in search of answers. This diaspora eventually reaches a planet subtly transformed to encode a message from an older group of travellers: a greater danger than Lac G-1 is imminent, and the only escape route leads beyond the visible universe."

(And then it becomes strange.)

Diaspora is an intensely interesting and involving novel by Greg Egan that supposes a very believeable future in which humanity has evolved into three distinct "classes":

The Polis - super powerful networks of digitized and artificially created human minds that can reshape themselves at will. The Polis memebers have the ability to change their perception of time and remotely inhabit the shells of "dead" robot bodies.

The Fleshers - the bioengineered descendents of humanity. They alter their bodies with the same freedom as the members of the Polis do, but in the "physical" world using advanced genetic technologies.

The Androids - really a branch of the Polis that believed that all of the Polis were losing touch with "reality" because they no longer inhabited bodies. Thus this fragment made the choice to inhabit robot bodies in order to be closer to their flesher origins.

This book will really twist your mind. I am frankly astonished at the author's ability to actually describe what it is like to perceive 5 dimensions. I mean ;I read it, I experienced that perception of an alternate reality and immeadiatly lost that wonderously wierd feeling after I had passed the chapter. A truly gifted writer.

Di*as"po*ra (?), n. [Gr. &?;. See Diaspore.]

Lit., "Dispersion." -- applied collectively: (a) To those Jews who, after the Exile, were scattered through the Old World, and afterwards to Jewish Christians living among heathen. Cf. James i. 1. (b) By extension, to Christians isolated from their own communion, as among the Moravians to those living, usually as missionaries, outside of the parent congregation.


© Webster 1913

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