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Rule 34 Hardcover – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020348
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The act of creation seems to come easily to Charles Stross…[He] is peerless at dreaming up devices that could conceivably exist in 6, 60 or 600 years’ time.”
The New York Times

“One of the most intelligently and philosophically detailed near futures ever conceived. Dazzling, chilling, and brilliant.”
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“A savvy, funny, viciously inventive science fiction novel.” Cory Doctorow, author of For The Win

"Entertaining and propulsive storytelling." Locus
(x) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.


More About the Author

Charles Stross, 49, is a full-time science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of six Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005 and 2010 Hugo awards for best novella, Stross's works have been translated into over twelve languages.

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).

Customer Reviews

The POV characters are very unsympathetic, even the supposed heroine.
Koba
It also feels like sort of a prequel to Accelerando but maybe that's just me, and that might even be giving too much away.
C. Woody Butler
There's an assortment of characters, all of who are interesting enough for the story to flow.
TimothyMayer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Jim C on July 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Charlie Stross is one of the new SF shining stars with an amazingly refreshing approach to his work. This sparkling novel takes place in the near future (15-30 years out)and is a follow-on to Halting State (Ace Books, 2008) but is not a sequel by any means and you don't have to read HS first. Only one character, Detective Inspector Liz Cavanaugh, returns from that story.

The plot is very difficult to summarize without spoiling it completely. So here are the skeletal details:
It is a detective novel, writen entirely from the characters' perspectives as it moves from character to character. It extrapolates everything excessive in our current culture and creates an almost dystopian Scotland of 2035. It is very sexually explicit. There is coincidence after coincidence. There is a secret behind the scenes that you only glimpse at first before it makes itself known. This revelation almost makes you want to reread the book because the story takes on an entirely new interpretation. Though very grisly, there are many humerous moments and you will find yourself laughing out loud through long portions of this book. Highly recommended, one of the year's best so far.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By C. Woody Butler on July 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ok, I read this pretty much as soon as I got it - and I'm re-reading it now so it's probably to early to really write this review since this is a book that really takes multiple readings to wrap your head around. It's sort of like The Sixth Sense [Blu-ray] - you watch it and you know there's stuff going on that you don't quite see, but it's really cool and it drags you along, and when you're done and you go "Oh!" and it's so much cooler now because you understand and you go back and read it again and go "OH!!" at all those points where you knew there was something else going on but you weren't in the right place to see it. This is that kind of book.

This is a sequel to Halting State, but pretty much there's only one character from that book in this book, and she was just on the edges of Halting State, so really it's a standalone book in the same universe. It also feels like sort of a prequel to Accelerando but maybe that's just me, and that might even be giving too much away.

The basic story is sort of a police procedural (but not really?) combined with a "Life 2.0" or even maybe "Life 3.0" primer about how the world will be after all the bubbles burst and cheap auto-fabbing technology is available on the "village blacksmith" level.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wierenga on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm giving this three stars because I'm grading on a curve -- this is mediocre in comparison to Stross's earlier work, although probably a 4-star when compared to other sci-fi. Since most people, at this point in his career, probably read Stross because he's Stross, that seems fair to me.

I'm a big-to-huge fan of a lot of Stross's other novels, especially the Eschaton (Singularity Sky/Iron Sunrise) and Laundry (Atrocity Archives/Jennifer Morgue/Fuller Memorandum) series. I have not read Halting State, and didn't realize that Rule 34 was a sequel to Halting State until after I'd read Rule 34. So, full disclosure: my tepid response to Rule 34 might be because I wasn't familiar with the Halting State world.

I don't think so, though; Rule 34 seems like a collection of nifty ideas that fail to cohere into a good book. The first problem, for me, was the choice of a second-person narrative voice. I found it to be irritating, and almost literally tiring, and never really got used to it. There's a reason fiction is almost never written in that voice: it's inherently distancing and disorienting for the reader. I found it especially off-putting here, because it was combined with a narrative structure in which the "viewpoint," such as it was, appeared to jump from character to character (so the "you" was a constantly rotating around 10 or so characters). I'm sure this was a quite deliberate choice, and I'm sure that Stross is saying something about the substance of the novel with that choice -- spoilers prevent me from saying more -- but even though I get it, it still didn't work for me.

Second, the plot did not flow terribly well.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Erwin S. Andreasen on July 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike the "Halting State" prequel which I thought too tied up in the virtual world, "Rule 34" spends more time on society and technology in a near-future sci-fi universe. Mr Stross paints a believable picture of a world where the Net permeates everything and takes current hot tech topics like DRM, 3D printing, Augmented Reality to their logical conclusions. This is the near-future, more readable "Diamond Age" showcasing a number of technologies and societal changes we're quite likely to see in the next decade.
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