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Halting State

Halting State [Kindle Edition]

Charles Stross
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


'A great read, and a fascinating look at the future of security in a massively networked world.' Bruce Schneier, CTO, BT Counterpane 'The first couple of pages had me hooked, and I didn't touch another book until I finished it.' John Carmack, Technical Director, iD Software and creator of Doom and Quake 'As keenly observant of our emergent society as it is our emergent technologies, Halting State is one extremely smart species of fun.' William Gibson

Book Description

The theft of millions of pounds from an online game's bank means real world bloodshed in this compelling and timely thriller

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 477 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (4 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TXZR6S
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,122 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England, in 1964. He has worked as a pharmacist, software engineer and freelance journalist, but now writes full time.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining futuristic Computer Mystery 4 Mar 2008
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
For those in the know of the MMORG this is probably a book that will make you not only laugh your socks off but scare the hell out of you at the same time. Not only have you spent hours/days/weeks building up your character and managed to grab those indispensable items but all of a sudden you find your character robbed blind and the items that you've so long horded stolen and sold on the open market? Only in fiction you say, well not really, its happened and on most auction sites you can find these little beauties available. You could even pay someone in China to build your character up for you.

What Charles does here is not only play on the paranoia but brings a great mystery up to date in a futuristic world where the worst can happen with everyday games taking over peoples lives in a counter intelligence operation built in cyberspace. Highly inventive, confusing and above all probably a scarily accurate possible future. An interesting take on the world from a man who perhaps not only understands it but could be one of the guys pushing us towards it in this highly addictive sci-fi novel where every character has a role to play in the bigger picture. You are no longer a person but a pixelization of the cyberworld trying to keep their space free. With espionage, counter terrorism, plotting, criminal activity and above all a tale that will keep you guessing from the first page to the last, this will be a book to recommend to all those computer addicted friends. How will you know if they've read it? Just look at the paranoid way in which they watch the computer out of the corner of their eyes as well as the haunted way that they just can't resist building their characters to even higher proportions.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "They're tunelling TCP/IP over AD&D!" 15 Sep 2008
Near the end of this book, one of the protagonists blurts, "They're tunelling TCP/IP over AD&D!" And that line is a very good test for potentials readers, because if you understand it (and why it's kind of funny), you might enjoy the book. If you're scratching your head, well, you might still enjoy the book, but you're certainly in for a whole lot more head scratching along the way.

When you strip everything away, this near-future thriller is a cautionary tale about network and database security, and what can happen as our lives become increasingly wired and digitized. The premise is that someone has hacked their way into a MMOG and pulled off an in-game heist, thus triggering the involvement of a police sergeant, an unemployed software engineer, and a forensic accountant. The three characters are called in to investigate this crime and the chapters alternate between their perspectives.

Note that they are not the narrators -- that's because the entire book is written in the second person, a choice which some readers will absolutely hate. I didn't find it as grating as many reviewers did, but it certainly doesn't help the rather weak characterization). Unfortunately, the plot is awfully heavy with techie jargon and those who aren't network engineers or software developers (as the author has been), may find it rocky going. Similarly, the plot revolves around MMOGs and ARGs, and if you're not familiar with this kind of computer and live action gaming, you might get a little lost. In both cases, there are lots of nuances and inside jokes which will fly right over your head (I think I got about half of them).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Virtually brilliant 3 Feb 2008
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Halting State has an interesting and topical subject for a science fiction novel - an interactive web-game has been hacked by an unknown organisation who have stolen all of the virtual weapons and spells from their holding bank. Although the "bank robbery" is virtual, it nevertheless has serious repercussions for the product and the company who have developed it, since it is evidently going to affect sales of the game. It's a brilliant idea and the story flies along with plenty of incident and invention, Stross having a great deal of fun with gaming culture and those wrapped up in its worlds, while realising at the same time that it is a serious business.

The writing is quite dazzling, sparkling with sarcasm and humour (although bafflingly and for no good reason it is rather annoyingly all written in second-person - "you go here, and you do this" etc.), but it does become a bit heavy with tech-speak and eventually start playing out like a virtual game itself. It's clearly the intention of the writer to start blurring the lines between the real world and the virtual, but you'd probably have to be a gamer yourself to fully appreciate all the references and clever playing out of the situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, exciting, idea-filled but not for all 27 Aug 2009
By JR Ward
The book is set in the not too distant future. Scotland has devolved, gained independence, and the world is even more saturated with information technology and computer nerdiness than ever before. In an online game a load of orcs and a dragon rob a bank and nick a load of magic swords and armour and amulets and other valuable goodies.

At first you'd probably agree with one of the protagonists in thinking `So what, it's a game' but in fact the theft spells almost certain doom for the computer company that hosts the bank in the virtual game. As in life now, these magical items go on sale for quite surprising money on auction sites. More importantly though, if people lose faith in the game a multi-million company can go down the toilet. These games are big money.

So that's the plot. The start of it at least. As the book goes on the stakes get increasingly higher as things develop. Western civilisation is at threat and people start to die. There are spies and assassinations and advanced technology and thrills aplenty.

The novel would score quite high on the nerd scale if there was such a thing. It is full of computer techno/gamespeak. I was ok with the game stuff like MMORPG but got a bit lost, and to be honest, mildly annoyed for the first couple of chapters with the sheer amount of `don't I know a lot of acronyms' and general geekness. Stross is doing this on purpose but it can be frustrating.

Another thing I thought might be annoying is the fact that it is told in the `stream of consciousness' style. In case you aren't familiar with this the story is told from multiple viewpoints - each chapter has a character's name and it is told by that person. It doesn't prove much of a problem here except occasionally for a Scots accent used by the police character.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great product
Quick delivery, great product thanks
Published 2 months ago by A
4.0 out of 5 stars Good tech-whodunit.
I've been a Charlie fan since reading Accelerando two years ago. Halting State is set in the very-near future, and tells a believable tale of surveillance, technology and law... Read more
Published 9 months ago by H Zheng
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to far away
Another great novel by Stross
A scenario that is possibly believable in the not to distant future
A good mix of futurism and a health dose of humour
Published 9 months ago by D. Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars a good holiday read by a smart writer
I'm writing this in July 2013 with the 20/20 hindsight the author could not have had. I enjoyed the book, it was a thought provoking read. Read more
Published 16 months ago by a nixon
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight Writing, Interesting Ideas
A bit confusing at times, but well written, with some good characters.
Don't be put off by some sniping reviews of Charles Stross - he's not Shakespeare, but he's a good,... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mark Rawsthorne
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally addicted to Stross
So, there I was in a bookshop, minding my own business, looking for something to read and I saw this book cover. Read more
Published 18 months ago by P. J. Coffey
4.0 out of 5 stars Halting state
Great read, enjoyable and hard to put down. Charles Stross created a fiction of a very realistic future Scotland k
Published 22 months ago by Lewis Whibley
5.0 out of 5 stars Halting State
....or more like suspended animation. Absolutely rivetted to my garden seat until it was too dark to read any longer- came inside put on the hall light still standing by the switch... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2012 by back2backreader
5.0 out of 5 stars Great near-future romp
Stross has written several times in his blog of the difficulties in writing near-future science fiction. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by D. R. Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and thought provoking
This took me back to my University days when I lived in a house full of gamers and live role players. The personalities are well observed and I was grinning as I recognised them! Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2012 by N. P
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