Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Halting State Hardcover – October 2, 2007
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This brilliantly conceived techno-crime thriller spreads a black humor frosting over the grim prospect of the year 2012, when China, India and the European System are struggling for world economic domination in an infowar, and the U.S. faces bankruptcy over its failing infrastructure. Sgt. Sue Smith of Edinburgh's finest, London insurance accountant Elaine Barnaby and hapless secret-ridden programmer Jack Reed peel back layer after layer of a scheme to siphon vast assets from Hayek Associates, a firm whose tentacles spread into international economies. The theft is routed through Avalon Four, a virtual reality world complete with supposedly robbery-proof banks. As an electronic intelligence agency trains innocent gamers to do its dirty work, Elaine sets Jack to catch the poacher. Hugo-winner Stross (Glasshouse) creates a deeply immersive story, writing all three perspectives in the authoritative second-person style of video game instructions and gleefully spiking the intrigue with virtual Orcs, dragons and swordplay. The effortless transformation of today's technological frustrations into tomorrow's nightmare realities is all too real for comfort. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Reviewers expressed shock and awe at Charles Strosss imagined future, because its just a bit too probable. Even his minor details, such as clothing with RFID tags that can speak to washing machines, are mind-bending. Overall, Halting State is a fast-paced, tightly plotted, and highly intelligent novel. While some of it may read as gibberish to a less in-the-know crowd (its helpful to know such gamer slang as "nerfed"), the tech-savvy will rejoice. One reviewer thought the plot became convoluted at the end with a too-neat resolution. But others, like Cory Doctorow in BoingBoing, commented, "This is a book that will change the way you see the way the world works."
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The second worst part of reading this book are the shallow stereotypical hackers that fill its pages. The AR tech overlay on the story does not add to the story in any way. These are the same third-rate characters and events every William Gibson mimic has employed since "Neuromancer" was first published. Some of the tech is updated, but the characters themselves are no different.
Basically the story revolves around a programmer/gamer/hacker named Jack Reed who is called in to save the day after a fortune in virtual treasure is stolen from a vault inside a virtual reality game. Before long it becomes apparent that the virtual heist was a trial run for a group of Chinese hackers whose real goal is destroying the UK internet region. The line between reality, virtual reality, and augmented reality shifts so often and so dramatically that it is often difficult to figure out exactly what it is the character's are trying to accomplish. In fact, it often seems the characters themselves have no idea what is going on or why they should even care.
The writer tried to combine "The Stand", "Burning Chrome", and "Jason Bourne" all into one book told in a Second Person POV. None of it worked.
(a) The "crowdsourcing" of covert intelligence. Crowdsourcing is succeeding today; what if it was taken several levels more deeply, involving governments and national security, and the participants didn't even know it? Fascinating, and plausible, and quite possible.
(b) The shift of wars from physical to virtual. Wars have historically been about either ideology or control (direct or indirect) over things of value. Money today is simply a method of storing value that is accepted by all the players. Other things can store value, and the more we depend on virtually-stored value, the more vulnerable we become to surreptitious control - or loss of control - of that stored value. The notion that inter-nation wars might be fought over that virtual value is - again - plausible, and likely (?).
(c) The interconnection of virtual gaming environments. Today, online games live in their own silos. The idea that players might move from one game to another - directly within gaming space - is both plausible, and prescient.
This book weaves a good tale around these, and other concepts that "could happen." The author isn't trying to assert they will; but he weaves a wonderful tale that takes place within a _really_possible_ future -that is quite interesting, I must say. I heartily enjoyed it.
That was enough to pique my interest, though it then sat on my Amazon wish-list for the next two years while I struggled through the rest of the studying. I bought it as a little present to myself as I reached the end of my studies. And I'm very glad I did.
It's a very interesting alternative near-future, where the UK is a federation of independent nations, Google-glasses are the police's best crime fighting tool, and the three major power blocks are Europe, Russia and China (the US is taking a time out). The story, of the police investigation of a daring bank raid in a 'World of Warcraft' style virtual environment, told from the points of view of a small number of characters, building plot-lines that weave around each other till it reaches (no spoilers here...) the fascinating denouement.
Highly recommended to those who read science fiction and those who don't.
My recommendation is that you buy this book, thus expanding your speculative horizons and learning some Scots dialect to boot.
Most recent customer reviews