Distress is also a novel by Australian science fiction author Greg Egan, about the culmination of physics in a Theory of Everything and its (largely invented) implications for humanity and the Universe. The protagonist is a journalist sent to cover the Einstein Centenary Conference on Stateless, an artificial atoll created by a group of anarchist corporate defectors. The conference is to host the first presentation of the three most widely accepted candidates for the Theory of Everything and as a result attracts attendants from both the international scientific community and the ignorance cults, groups dedicated to stopping the discovery and publication of the Theory of Everything, motivated by a fear of eliminating every last mystery from nature.

The book opens with a somewhat disturbing scene: a man who has been stabbed to death is very temporarily revived with combination of techniques that ravage his body while granting him a few more lucid minutes of consciousness in which to tell investigators what he remembers of the attack.