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Iron Sunrise (Singularity) Mass Market Paperback – June 28, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Best known for his short fiction, Stross shows that he's a master of the novel form as well in this exciting sequel to 2003's acclaimed Singularity Sky, serving up compelling space opera and cutting-edge tech with a tasty dash of satire. In the 24th century, a McWorld ("bland, comfortable, tolerant... boring") called New Moscow apparently has been destroyed by trade rival New Dresden—but not before New Moscow launched its own Slower-Than-Light (STL) counterstrike: a massive ship accelerated to 80% the speed of light. The U.N., now central Earth government, knows New Dresden was set up. They need the STL's recall code, now known only to a handful of New Moscow's ambassadors—but someone has been systematically assassinating them. U.N. special operative Rachel Mansour and her husband, engineer Martin Springfield, must protect the last living ambassador and find out who's really responsible for the whole mess. Stross skillfully balances suspense and humor throughout, offering readers—especially fans of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod—a fascinating future that seems more than possible.
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.
The sequel to the critically acclaimed Singularity Sky [BKL Ag 03] returns to the twenty-fourth-century interstellar domain humankind has forged through the godlike powers of the Eschaton, an enigmatic being from humanity's distant future. Now, in an act of apparent sabotage, one remote interstellar colony, Moscow, has met a disastrous fate: its host star exploded, annihilating an entire solar system and forcing the evacuation of nearby colonies. UN hostage negotiator Rachel Mansour, who is recovering from a showdown with a psychotic performance artist harboring a nuclear warhead, is tagged to make the wormhole jaunt to the scene and investigate. Is one of Moscow's rival colonies responsible? Is the Eschaton? Improbably, the answers to such questions may lie with Wednesday, a rambunctious adolescent girl whose family is fleeing the expanding explosion, and between whose story and Rachel's the novel alternates. Stross improves on Singularity Sky with better characterizations and entertaining technological inventiveness. Fans of hard sf spiced by political intrigue will relish this dish. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is a successor - not a sequel - to Singularity Sky. (I've got a review buried there under "5 Stars" circa September of 2011.) In this book, we are re-introduced to Rachel Mansour - an agent for the UN's "Black Chamber" - and her now-husband, Martin - formerly an agent for the mysterious entity known as the Eschaton - as they face yet another espionage/military crisis that involves the fates of worlds.
Stross sets his story in the world of "the Eschaton." It seems that in the late 21st Century, artificial intelligence simply happened, looked around, and decided to protect itself. It did so by instantaneously relocating most of the Earth's population onto planets scattered over a "light cone" consisting of thousands of light years - and time travel being related to Faster than Light travel - thousands of years of history. Along with the relocation came the edict that that the Eschaton would handle attempts to interfere with its development with severe prejudice.
Then the Eschaton simply stepped out of human history, apparently, except when it needs to destroy a solar system for playing with "causality violating" weapons.
Someone on the planet Moscow - settled by Midwesterners from Idaho, it seems - have been playing around with such weapons, and the result was the nova of the Moscow sun.
Victoria Strowger - aka Wednesday - is one of the refugees of Moscow who grew up on a Moscow space station removed from the disaster for a period. She has a not-so imaginary friend named "Herman" who seems to be teaching her to be a spy. She discovers something on her space station about the disaster during the relocation of the station's population to refugee locations on other star systems. Now, it seems, someone wants to kill her for something she may know.
Stross introduces us to richly imagined worlds and cultures, and bizarre but probably politics and diplomacy. One of those features is the "R-Bomb" - the "mutually assured destruction" weapon for the Age of the Singularity. "R-Bombs" are large asteroids that exist as a counterstrike at aggressors in the case of global annihilation. The idea is that these piloted weapons will take off at sub-light speed, travel for decades and then unstoppably impact with and destroy planets.
The Moscow R-Bombs are on their way to New Dresden, the most likely murderer of Moscow.
There are recall codes, but they have to be given by Moscow diplomats, and someone is murdering those diplomats.
Stross also introduces us to U. Portia Hoechst - "U" stands for "ubermenschen" - director for a noxious government/movement known as the ReMastered. Their goal is to replace the Eschaton with their own future AI - the "unborn God" - that will have at its disposal the memories of its followers. They are crazy, and sick, and evil, but very effective. There are some hints that maybe their ultimate plan has been successful, but who knows.
The story follows through the different threads - and a few others - as we pursue the mysteries of who is killing the Moscow diplomats, who killed Moscow, what role does the ReMastered play in these events. The threads are satisfyingly tied up by the end. There are chills and thrills and derring do.
I found the story to be a real page turner. I particularly like Stross's techno-jargon. Often I had no idea what a character was saying in the jargony techno/spy/military terminology that Stross uses. In many ways it is like his "The Laundry" story - it's nonsense, but delightful nonsense.
I enjoyed the story. I liked the big ideas and the galactic scope of the story. It kept me engaged as I put the pieces together from the hints that the various threads were dropping. It seems to me that Stross is setting up future stories involving the ReMastered. I look forward to reading those when and if they come out.
Imaginative plot, great ships, and women who rock. You can' t go wrong.
Most recent customer reviews
Stross' first novel, "Singularity Sky" was one of those "A for effort" but a fairly solid B for overall...Read more