- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Cosmos Books; First Edition edition (February 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1587154137
- ISBN-13: 978-1587154133
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,245,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Toast: and Other Rusted Futures Paperback – February 1, 2002
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"Lobsters" is my favorite short story, and gives a fair taste of the rest of this collection. In the not-too-distant future, Manfred Macx is busy implementing the principles of open source in the world of intellectual property. His ex-dominatrix/girlfriend is hunting him down; she works for the IRS and is pissed off because Manfred's system of high-tech altruistic barter is robbing the U.S. government of tax revenue needed to pay Social Security, the biggest pyramid scheme of all time. In between, Manfrend fends off a charmingly quirky Russian AI, hit-and-run rubberizations, and a slashdotting, among many other things. Sex, drugs, and patent law - all the ingredients of a fantastic short story, plus Stross's unique gritty/gonzo writing style. You can read it on the web - google "charles stross lobsters" and click on "I'm Feeling Lucky."
If you are, like me, a computer geek, I have some urgent advice: You want this book. Now. Don't think, just buy it. You'll thank me. If you aren't a computer geek, you'll enjoy this collection anyway.
I still believe that Stross has potential, as evidenced by the better stories. Unfortunately, the rest of the collection fails to meet the same standards, not to mention that it's under-edited and poorly produced (quite a few typesetting errors, and too much text crammed into a single page to save on the page count).
And, yeah, I know Charlie. One of his stories had me wistfully recalling the excellent coffee brewed in his crowded Edinburgh kitchen. Reading the book has been like a visit, and a pleasant and funny one at that. (Hi Charlie!)
The stories in this book are, of course, wildly original. Even when Stross is eating another writer's lunch -- a grand tradition in our field -- he's adding seasonings that are all his own. Every page contains ideas that are so whacky and weird that you shouldn't operate heavy machinery for an hour after reading them.
Buy Toast. Read Toast. Loan Toast to your friends. They'll thank you, once they come down.
Stories in this collection include "Antibodies" (shortlisted for the 2000 Sturgeon Award), "A Colder War" (collected in Dozois' Year's Best SF, 18th annual collection), and a hitherto-unpublished novella, "Big Brother Iron". ...