Feersum Endjinn is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first published in 1994. It won a British Science Fiction Association Award in 1994.
It was Banks' second science fiction novel not based or set within the Culture universe.
The book is set on a far future Earth where the uploading of mindstates into a world-spanning computer network (known as "the data corpus", "cryptosphere" or simply "crypt") is commonplace, allowing the dead to be easily reincarnated (though by custom, only a limited number of reincarnations are allowed).
Humanity has lost much of its technological background, due partly to an exodus by much of the species, and partly to the fact that those who remained (or at least their rulers) are fighting against more advanced technology such as Artificial Intelligence.
Meanwhile, the solar system is drifting into an interstellar molecular cloud ("the Encroachment"), which will eventually dim the Sun's light sufficiently to end life on Earth. However, the Diaspora (the long-departed segment of humanity) have left behind a device (the "Fearsome Engine" of the title) to deal with the problem; the book follows four characters who become involved in the attempt to activate it, with the narrative moving between the four (who do not meet until very near the end) in rotation.
The quarter of the book told by Bascule the Teller is written phonetically in the first person. This is explained by Bascule's dyslexia. The book opens with:
Literary significance and criticism
Feersum Endjinn was generally well-received; while it is far from being "hard science fiction", the completeness of the plot and the detailed description of the mega-architecture and the crypt were praised by critics.
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