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Wireless Hardcover – July 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441017193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441017195
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific novelist Stross pauses to collect short stories that have not (yet) been stitched up into his longer work. Stories that move the U.S.–U.S.S.R. conflict onto a massive disk in another galaxy (Locus Award–winner Missile Gap), offer a spam-filter solution to the Fermi paradox (MAXOS) and suggest clever bargains with the devil in a newly frozen Scotland (Snowball's Chance) demonstrate Stross's ability to crisscross genres, blending SF, fantasy, horror and espionage. He also pays homage to his literary forebears, combining Lovecraft and the Iran-Contra scandal (The Colder War) and bringing in Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould as characters. Though individual pieces are well-done and deservedly popular, the collection has an overall sense of early drafts and reworkings of other pieces, as with Trunk and Disorderly, a P.G. Wodehouse–on–Mars test run for 2008's Saturn's Children. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A new kind of future requires a new breed of guide-someone like Stross."
-Popular Science

"The act of creation seems to come easily to Charles Stross...[He] is peerless at dreaming up devices that could conceivably exist in six, 60 or 600 years' time."
-New York Times

"Where Charles Stross goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow."
-Gardner Dozois, Editor, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine

"Charles Stross is the most spectacular sciencefiction writer of recent years."
-Vernor Vinge, author of Rainbows End

"One of the most flexible and intellectually powerful authors operating in modern SF."
-SF Diplomat --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Joe Slater on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Charles Stross writing ever since I encountered his homage to Lovecraft in _A Colder War_. This volume reprints that story together with eight others of varying lengths. If you prefer novel-length stories you should be aware that two of the titles (_Missile Gap_ and _Palimpsest_) are substantial enough to hold their own with much longer works.

The first story, _Missile Gap_, is set on an Earth that has been translated to a giant flat disk and set in an ocean with many other translated worlds. It's a little bleak - don't expect a bunch of plucky humans to triumph because of their native can-do-it-ness. The vast godlike forces that could do something like this would be practically oblivious to the survival of species, let alone individuals.

The second is _Rogue Farm_: A farmer has to deal with a post-human entity that wants to use his farm as a launching site. It's a very short (and light) work and I didn't really care for it.

_A Colder War_ is one of my favorite stories. Charles Stross uses Lovecraft's stories as the basis for an alternate history Cold War thriller. It's *very* bleak - the best possible outcome is the annihilation of humanity. I'd love to see this as a graphic novel.

_Maxos_ is a vignette originally published in _Nature_. It's quite funny and deserves more elaboration.

_Down on the Farm_ is set in Stross's Laundry universe (_The Atrocity Archives_, _The Jennifer Morgue_) which use Lovecraftian horror as their background (they're related but not connected to _A Colder War_ which also appears in this collection).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. mcnalley on July 21, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
From the short and funny MAXOS to the long and dark Missile Gap, Wireless is an amazing tour through Stross' futuristic world view.

Central to this view is the observation that if there is anything out there in the stars it will surely defy our comprehension. To some extent, Stross is an atheist theologist. He draws equally from the various Abrahamic traditions as well as literary, pop, and tech culture and speculates on what an incomprehensible godlike intelligence could be like. When he isn't exploring Lovecraftian horrors or post-singularity strong-AI, we get a glimpse into the near future or alternative near-pasts.

From a content to volume perspective, Wireless is the anti-Baroque Cycle. While both Stephenson's and Stross' work cover a broad conceptual space, Stephenson does so in a single story that spans three volumes and thousands of pages. Stross delivers numerous stories that together fit within hundreds of pages.

Readers familiar with Stross' previously published works will enjoy the new explorations of familiar ideas presented in Wireless. Readers encountering Stross for the first time will have an opportunity to drink from the fire hose, one gulp at a time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are dozens of authors out there who's opinions I respect who love Stross' writing. I read "Saturn's Children" when it was nominated for a Hugo and didn't really like it; so when the publisher offered a review copy, I thought this would be a GREAT chance to read more of his writing. Obviously he's good. And "Saturn's Children" was just one book.

I tried to read the stories in this book and found I didn't really like them, either. I think the grim lives and hard science mixed with Cold War politics in "Missile Gap" may have put me off the rest. After that everything tasted bitter.

And yet, I can see why others like his stuff. It's unusual and different. The science is there and thoughtfully fictionalized. He's got a good grasp of story and imagination.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Carpenter on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a fan of Lovecraftian fiction there are some good reasons to get this collection. If you don't have a copy of Toast, Wireless will give you a print copy of A Colder War. In my view this is one of the most brilliant Cthulhu mythos stories of the modern era For other top stories I suggest The Doom That Came to Innsmouth by McNaughton and Final Draft by Annadale). It is true to Lovecraft's cosmicism and to his essential bleakness. It also was genre bending when written, in the same sense Delta Green was. The nightmares lurking behind corners are not secret; they are well realized by governments that try to keep them secret or exploit them for gain. Another good reason to get this book is Down on the Farm, the latest Laundry novella. If you have The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue, and are impatiently awaiting The Fuller Memorandum, here is your latest fix. So far Down on the Farm is unavailable in print elsewhere. As is typical for his Laundry series, I was grandly entertained. Finally, some might argue, but I think the cosmic vision of Missile Gap has echoes of Lovecraft for its non-humancentric viewpoint.

There was not one story here I did not thoroughly enjoy, although Trunk and Disordely was amusing rather than hilarious. Fans of Wodehouse may like it better. Palimpsest has many similarities to Accelerando. It seems to me that Stross is just seething with clever ideas and short stories allows him to explore those that might not sustain a novel. If you have not sampled his compact and witty prose before, here's your chance.
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