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Accelerando (Singularity) Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Like many writers, Stross has had a variety of careers, occupations, and job-shaped-catastrophes in the past, from pharmacist (he quit after the second police stake-out) to first code monkey on the team of a successful dot-com startup (with brilliant timing he tried to change employer just as the bubble burst).
Top Customer Reviews
But THIS one...this one goes a little beyond mere enjoyment.
SF writers are actually notoriously bad at accurately predicting the future. The danger is in extrapolating trends - "extrapolating" is roughly the same as "getting it wrong". So, no Soylent Green ("Make room, make room"), no eco-catastrophe (lots of novels from the 60s), etc.
Knowing that, an author has to work pretty hard to make us suspend our disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is not the same as hanging it by the neck until it's dead! Stross manages this so well in "Accelerando" it's frightening. He makes the impact on technology on human society, identity and consciousness totally believable. Of COURSE our consciousness is going to be decentralized, split between bits still running in the old wetware and bits running as external agents on other platforms. Of COURSE there's going to be a Singularity (and this is the most believable one I've read about yet). And of COURSE there's a perfectly societal response to all that.
The characters are still recognizably human, but sometimes just barely. One particularly well-written passage has one of the main characters lose his external computer support (disguised as a pair of specs) through which he was running many of his supplementary agents and programs. He is like a man with brain damage after that. He can still function, but his thought processes are..alien to us.
Stross is also very fond of casually tossing HUGE concepts into half a sentence during a conversation.Read more ›
The novel was originally a series of self contained short stories and is very episodic. As such, there is a series of events that are all resolved within the same chapter only to come unravelled at the start of the next. However, all the smaller story elements fit into a greater arc chronicling humanity's rapid rise, obsolescence and recovery.
Stross's writing is excellent, although computer literacy is a must. Indeed, this isn't an easy read but it is quite a ride and well recommended.
In this novel, Manfred Macx is a genius who is patenting lots of primal ideas and assigning the rights to several Free Foundations and variously selected beneficiaries. He gets free passes and other nonmonetary compensation from these astounded recipients, thus has little need for cash. Manfred has an ongoing sexual affair with Pamela, an IRS entrepreneur who constantly reminds him of his estimated tax arrears.
Pamela traps him into getting her pregnant and then forces him to marry her. Manfred is reasonably satisfied with the arrangement except for the arguments about their frozen female embryo. Three years after their marriage, Mandred is on the run while his divorce is being processed.
Manfred is harassed by Alan Glashwiecz, who has been retained to pursue Pamela's interests in the divorce. However, he also encounters Annette -- a representative of Arianespace -- whom he had previously met three year before. Annette breaks his preoccupation with Pamela by seducing him in her apartment.
In this story, Amber is his daughter, who eventually gets thawed and birthed. She gets her first neural implants at the age of three and finds herself able to function in the adult world. Yet Pam doesn't consider Amber worth consulting on her life and raises her to be independent of her neural auxiliaries. So Pam runs away at the age of twelve.
Sirhan is the son of Amber -- the one in Jupiter orbit -- who grows up to be a historian.Read more ›
Charles Stross is a former pharmacist, former programmer and journalist, certified geek, and current full time writer. Most people would tag him as 'science fiction' writer. From what I've read of his journals, and especially his books, he's terribly bright and very imaginative.
Accelerando is one of his commercially successful books (scan it for free before you buy at accelerando.org). The amateur Amazon reviews are well done (one of the two 'professional' reviews is by someone who didn't read the book); I can't add much to them. The book does not fully succeed as a novel -- it was published as a series of short stories and it doesn't hang together all that well. There are some annoying plot holes (no security on the goggles? Did one of the lead characters flee to alpha centauri or commit suicide? Why is Pierre asking what happened - he was there?!), some dangling and overly fluid characters, and too many annoying synopses of 'what went before'. The writing itself is professional, and that's no mean trick, but the work would have needed a harsher editor and a complete rewrite to fly as a novel.
That's ok, because it's really a series of speculative essays disguised as a novel -- and the thinking is deep and creative. I thought I was being a bit whacky when I blogged about the spanish inquisition as a corporation, and the emergent sentience of corporations in the ecosystem of economic interactions, but Stross goes much, much further.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm torn with this book. It's divided into three parts. I really enjoyed the first, five stars. I liked the second, four stars at least, maybe five. Read morePublished 2 months ago by A. Fiorito
This is a great book, and it's also a free book licensed under the creative commons - http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/accelerando/accelerando-intro. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Guy Bowerman
I love this book and how weirdly possible some if it seems (especially seeing it 10 years after it was published). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chelsea M Carter
I hope there is a sequel and loved the idea of wet wear leading to downloads of the soul thus allowing for immortality and deep space travel. It all makes sense to me. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kevin Shields
This is an impressive outing. Stross lays out a philosophical and technical blueprint for what we (humans) might become. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Glenn A. Hendricks
The key thing to understand about this book is that is has nothing to do with Singularity Books 1 and 2 ... I don't know why Amazon says it is "Singularity Book 3". Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Walsh
A good premise but the novel tends to drown in its own jargon. It seems to be a bit full of itself.Published 6 months ago by Charles Montgomery
Absolutely loved this book. It's a challenging read, and it helps to know at least something about computers to understand it. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Anonymous