Every Version of You

A book cover in dark blue and black shades. The title 'EVERY VERSION OF YOU' is at the top in futuristic, blocky font. The middle of the cover has a sketch of a bald, Asian woman dissolving into dots. At the bottom, 'Grace Chan'. In smaller text below, the endorsement: '"Asks what it is to be human. Visceral, mind-bending and tender." Inga Simpson."

In late twenty-first century Australia, Tao-Yi and her partner Navin spend most of their time inside a hyper-immersive, hyper-consumerist virtual reality called Gaia. They log on, go to work, socialise, and even eat in this digital utopia. Meanwhile their aging bodies lie suspended in pods inside cramped apartments. Across the city, in the abandoned ‘real’ world, Tao-Yi’s mother remains stubbornly offline, dwindling away between hospital visits and memories of her earlier life in Malaysia.

When a new technology is developed to permanently upload a human brain to Gaia, Tao-Yi must decide what is most important: a digital future, or an authentic past.

A story about virtual reality, identity, love, migration, change, and what it means to be human. Never Let Me Go meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Murakami surrealism thrown in, this is speculative literary fiction at its best.

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 here

Buy It Now

Winner of the University of Sydney People’s Choice Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year

Shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction

Longlisted for the Stella Prize

Longlisted for the Indie Book Awards for Debut Fiction

“Chan asks hard questions about the choices we make about how we live in the world and what the concept of “self” really means.”
Best of 2022, The Saturday Paper

“It’s the book I can’t stop thinking about this year.”
Best Books of 2022, TimeOut

“…a stand-out examination of what humanity is…”
Reviewer’s Choice: The Best Books of 2022, Tor.com

“…a deep emotional resonance that transcends genre…”
Best Picks of 2022, Aurealis

“…one of the most assured debut novels I’ve read in a long time.”
Best New Books Released in August
, ABC Arts

Best Australian Books Out in August, The Guardian

Fiction Pick of the Week, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald

Debut Fiction to Read this Month, Readings

Top Picks of the Month for Book Clubs, Readings

2022 Fantasy and Sci-Fi Highlights, Readings


“Clever and compelling literary speculative fiction, that left me questioning the very notion of identity…The real strength of this book was the way the characters are drawn. They’re so compelling.”

—Claire Nichols for ABC RN

“With an intriguing blend of cli-fi, philosophy of mind and transhumanist themes, Grace Chan’s novel delivers striking science fiction steeped in absurdity and dystopian menace.”

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald

“Confronting what might one day be left on a ruined, ‘offline’ Earth is a powerful way to refocus the lens on the world we are presently creating, and the politics informing what we build – whether it’s from bricks or code.”

The Guardian

Every Version of You asks us to make peace with the ambiguities within ourselves.”

Kill Your Darlings

“This is a novel that is teeming with ideas, even as it is mainly about one woman getting on with the art and slog of living. Chan offers big questions without descending into earnestness or overreach. Her storytelling is unsparing and sometimes bleak. And yet it is gentle, open-hearted and wry.”

Sydney Review of Books

“I was caught off-guard by how deftly, and how believably, the novel came together to form an apocalypse which was equally a utopia.”


“…a deep and thoughtful book that explores questions and situations that will only grow more real over the next few decades.”


“Chan is rigorous in her refusal to take the obvious route. Every Version of You is science fiction in its premise, but literary in its attention to the facets of a life that spawn Tao-Yi’s inner-conflict—the physicality of the solace she draws from Navin, her outsider-status as a Chinese Malaysian immigrant, and the complexity of her relationship with a mother who suffers from depression.”


“Chan offers us a tender exploration of mother-daughter dynamics, family values and the struggle to keep those we love safe in a fluctuating world.”

Aniko Press

“Chan has created a bleak future that is all too imaginable, and all the more terrifying for that fact.”

Etherea Magazine

“Start to finish, Chan’s prose remains familiar and clear.”


“When Chan expertly snaps shut her vision, it’s entirely possible that life always wins and the powers of healing are boundless.”

Andromeda Spaceways

Every Version of You sneaks in some really hard, fundamental questions about the mind-body problem, what it means to be human, what we are willing to sacrifice for another, and what – if any – is the difference between living and being alive.”

Locus Magazine


“A meditative, gorgeous, endlessly imaginative take on the future of virtual reality and what it means to be human, as well as a deeply tender story of love and the immigrant experience. EVERY VERSION OF YOU is a transcendent debut.”

Grace D. Li, NYT bestselling author of PORTRAIT OF A THIEF (Penguin, 2022)

“The haunting images in Every Version of You followed me long after I turned the final page – from the bodies steeping in neuroconductive gel, to the not-quite-right perfection of Gaia, to the crumbling physical world that refuses to be made obsolete. Grace Chan is a vivid, insightful storyteller.”

—Elizabeth Tan, Author of Smart Ovens for Lonely People (Brio, 2020)

“Set in a shocking and inevitable near future, Chan’s debut novel is a cultural epiphany: a desperate end-of-the-world search for connections that will transcend generations, imperfections—even death. Exquisitely written and startlingly real, Every Version of You establishes Chan as speculative fiction’s newest virtuoso.”

—Lee Murray, USA Today Bestselling author, and four-time Bram Stoker Award® winner.

“Visceral, mind-bending and tender. Every Version of You asks what it is to be human. Just beautiful.”

—Inga Simpson, Author of The Last Woman in the World (Hachette, 2021)

“Every Version of You is an intimate character study and an expansive vision of a possible future. A moving, transportive, thoughtful and entertaining read!”

—Angela Meyer, Author of A Superior Spectre (Ventura Press, 2018) and Moon Sugar (Transit Lounge, 2022)

Every Version of You is a thought-provoking reflection on love, duty, memory, reality, and self. Above all, it tenderly explores when to let go and when to hold on. Terrifyingly good.”

—Shu-Ling Chua, essayist, critic and poet, and author of ECHOES (Somekind Press, 2021)

Every Version of You explores what makes us human— collectively and ‘authentically’— and what it takes to survive a brutally inequitable system. Tao-Yi’s self-awareness and quiet resistance make her a revolutionary, unforgettable protagonist.”

—Natasha Hertanto, Chinese-Indonesian storyteller

Every Version of You is intriguing, moving and engrossing—a truly rewarding read.”

—Dr Fiona Robertson, Author of If You’re Happy (UQP, 2022)

“…if given the chance what of our current realities would we fight to keep? And what could be easily left behind? Every Version of You announces Chan as a bold and distinctive talent in literary speculative fiction.”

—Dr Sarah Sasson, Author and Editor of Signs of Life (Moshpit Publishing, 2021)

“It will make you see VR in a new light, contemplate sloughing off your meat-skin, and leave you grappling with what’s at the core of being ‘human’. In other words, this was bloody awesome and I’m terrified of what society will do with VR now!”

—Leanne Yong, Author of Two Can Play That Game (Allen & Unwin, 2023)

Every Version of You is cerebral in both the reading experience and universe; but it will also pluck your hidden heartstrings, leaving you unsettled, captivated, and aching for more.”

—Geneve Flynn, Bram Stoker- and Shirley Jackson Award-winning author, editor, and poet.