By Charles Stross

Rating: 5 stars

It’s taken me a while to finish this book because I’ve been reading it in short snippets. I took the opportunity of being on holiday to finish it off in a burst. I really enjoyed this book, especially the first half, as we are introduced to Manfred Macx, a very early 21st century entrepreneur, who lives off his social capital while giving away his ideas and making other people very rich. He’s got a pet robot cat at his side, an angry dominatrix after him and life is good. This book follows Manfred and his descendants into the 21st century, through the Singularity and out the other side.

I’m not sure why, but Macx very much reminded me of Stross’s fellow SF author Cory Doctorow (although, without, I assume, the dominatrix).

The build-up of the book is great, so that before you know it, we’ve moved from smartphones and AR to uploading minds into starwisps to investigate alien routers and it seems like a perfectly natural technological development.

Stross’s imagining of the future and the Singularity is immense. He goes from the usual sort of “rapture of the nerds” gushing, to imagining what the consequences of that would be like, and suddenly I’m not so keen on the whole idea. If I want to stay remotely human, that is. Highly recommended.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841493893
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2005

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