- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Cosmos Books (January 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809500256
- ISBN-13: 978-0809500253
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,334,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Toast Paperback – January, 2004
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
The title of Stross's provocative new SF collection—a revised, expanded version of a 2002 title of the same name—is a mordant reference to catastrophes at the climaxes of these 11 stories. In "A Colder War," a stand-alone sequel to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness," monsters from outside space and time are liberated as weapons of mass destruction by Russia and the Middle East. In "Antibodies," a mathematical theorem undermines the foundations of all computer encryption systems, forcing fugitive behavior from the narrator who has depended on the anonymity they hitherto ensured. "Ship of Fools," written in 1995, evokes the epic scale of Arthur C. Clarke's fiction in its projection of dire technological fiascos that rock the world at the turn of Y2K. In Stross's worlds, virtual reality is the new frontier, AI is a fact of life and everyone is fluent in the sometimes impenetrable technogeek-speak that goes with the territory. For all that, his characters are familiar and sympathetic hackers, slackers and opportunists, whose lives have not been improved by their technological expertise, and whose adventures he interweaves seamlessly with the circuitry. (June)
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.
Top customer reviews
Stross has an incredibly wide-ranging imagination. He writes hard science fiction about very far out ideas. In fact the very first story here, Antibodies, is about a theoretical idea whose very existence can threaten reality. From there we go one to the economics of information in a very virtual universe, the coffee club that ate the world, what H. P. Lovecraft only suspected, and other, equally peculiar tales.
Stross's tongue is always squarely in his check, even as he displays an impressive intellect and a deep understanding of what the world inside a geek's head really looks like. I'm to old to be considered a geek any longer, but it is fascinating to read Stross's own spin on what was interesting about my own generation of 'techies' (the title story). And there is even a delightfully ironic narrative about a Y2K apocalypse cruise.
While I haven't been converted to a short story lover, my faith in one of the odder minds out there producing quality science fiction has been confirmed. This is a writer who first made his mark as a short fiction writer. If you want to see what the fuss is about, with the added pleasure of occasional comments by the author, start here.
As you would expect of a book containing some of the author's very earliest work, the quality is patchy. Some of the stories have dated badly, and others are poorly plotted or poorly written. However, there are four really good stories here that are well worth reading and which between them make the book worth buying.
The best two are "A Colder War" and "A Boy And His God", both of which use H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, and use it far better than Lovecraft himself ever did. "A Boy And His God" is particularly interesting, as it twists the mythos to be funny and even cute. Both are well-observed and eminently enjoyable. Also worth mentioning are "Big Brother Iron", which brings Orwell's "1984" up to date by exploring what might happen when Big Brother computerises his records, and "Lobsters", which was later turned into the first section of Accelerando.
All of the other stories have fairly serious flaws, but are at least worth reading as most of them do at least contain interesting ideas.