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Saturn's Children [Paperback]

Charles Stross
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

2 July 2009

Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters - hardwired to become aroused at the mere sight of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct. Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. What's more, the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry - and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way.

But if Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul ...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; paperback / softback edition (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841495689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495682
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

Praise for SINGULARITY SKY: 'Breathtaking ... a real contender for 'space opera of the year" LOCUS, 'Stross is an author who anyone interested in SF should read and relish' SFX, 'Darkly funny and crackling with high-bandwidth ideas' PAUL McAULEY, 'Where Charles Stross goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow' Gardner Dozois, 'A consensus across the board: Charles Stross is the cutting edge of modern science fiction' SF SITE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A cutting edge space opera from the Hugo Award-winning author of Singularity Sky.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, Intelligent and Entertaining Sci-Fi 20 July 2009
By Kuma
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Charles Stross has crafted a deeply thoughtful, elegant and many layered science fiction tale. The story is a fantastic mix of traditional sci-fi concepts (there are sly nods to things such as "Ghost in the Shell", "Do Androids dream electric sheep), coupled with fresh perspectives, new ideas and slick narrative and dialogue.

The most interesting aspect of this novel is that it is set after humanity's extinction, and is a tale of robotic society that survives the extinction. This offers a refreshing and new perspective on the traditional human/robot relationship, with robots having to come to terms with the emotional fall out of there being no humans, as well as tapping into an interesting trend in science fiction of looking at non-human propogation of human culture (there are some amusing comments about contemporary philosophy within the text).

With regards to the story, I am unwilling to discuss it too much in case it spoils the novel for potential readers. However for those readers who might be worried about Freya's (the main character) role as a courtesan, I would say that this is well handled and works well within the story, if anything it provides a useful point of empathy for a reader by providing a "more" human robot with emotions. The real delight for any reader will be from the well written narrative and some snappy dialogue which works to create a vivid, elegant and tangible sci-fi universe.

All in all I would recommend this work to anyone interested in reading a good, enjoyable and different sci-fi adventure.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Updated retro sf, rather complex plot 29 Oct 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Set in a future when humanity is extinct, intelligent robots carry on the task of spreading civilisation, having colonised the solar system and sent ships to nearby stars. These are not soulless Asimovian robots as their minds are copies of archetypal personalities, created by conditioning using human experiences (some extremely unpleasant). This conditioning also inculcates basic emotions and needs: for example, robots can enjoy a drink or two (though not of alcohol) and can experience the pleasures of sex when they 'link up'.

For control purposes, humans made serving them the deepest desire of a robot. Now humans are gone, 'aristo' robots use this servitude capacity to enslave other robots. Their greatest fear is of 'pink goo' - animal cells of any kind that could, in theory, be used to rebuild one of the lost human 'Creators'. A human, could, simply by their presence, control any and all robots using their inbuilt servitude routines.

The novel follows Freya, one of a defunct concubine archetype, cloned from the original called Rhea, who gets involved in something illegal that involves smuggling pink goo. Freya is given the 'soul chip' (memories) of another of her archetype, Juliette, and starts to be influenced by Juliette's experiences. The abilities to swap soul chips (and thus identities) and to blank parts of soul ships complicates the plot no end. Starting on Venus, the action takes Freya to Mercury, then Mars, Callisto and finally to 'Heinleingrad', on distant Eris, as aristo factions like the Black Talon, and robot archetypes, especially one modelled on the Jeeves character, struggle over the ultimate prize...

Ironies abound. Humans, as their creators, are like gods to robots. Robot society is as venal and despotic as that of their creators.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious at turns, interesting always 6 Sep 2008
By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Saturn's Children is dedicated to the memories of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Heinlein gets name-checked in the book, as does John Scalzi and Richard Dawkins.

Saturn's Children imagines a time after we humans have mysteriously gone extinct -- leaving only our intelligent, but enslaved, robots behind. Freya 47 is one such robot, a courtesan designed ultimately to pleasure her male customers; hard-wired into her brain is a lust for her One True Love. Which would be fine, except that he, along with the whole human race, stopped existing many years before Freya's creation. She and her sister sibs (Freya, and her sisters, are all based upon the template matriarch of a robot called Rhea) are left with nothing to do except explore the galaxy. Many of them will kill themselves from despair. Others are simply incredibly bored.

An aristocracy, of sorts, has developed -- the robots with enough wealth and hired thugs control those without money and thugs. Of course, even the aristos aren't really free. They don't admit the fact, but show them a live Creator and they'd be on their knees before them. Which is one reason why the aristos, amongst others, are keen to keep their Creators dead, despite the technology of the black labs, which are capable of producing "pink goo" -- flesh. But anyone with a live, and tractable, Creator could wield enormous power, and perhaps even enslave the galaxy...

Which is why it falls to a sex robot, and an organisation of butlers, to stop them, getting very confused, and often aroused, in the process...

I'm not sure why I find this book so hard to review. I liked it a lot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Life proved to be too short for this one I'm afraid
I have enjoyed all of Charles' books up to now and was of the opinion that the man could do no wrong - right up until I read this one. Actually I'm lying. I haven't read this yet. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Mr. F. A. Driver
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Hilarious in Equal Measure
The main characters in this book are all Robots, though as they posses exact replicas of the human nervous system they can be thought of as effectively synthetic humans. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars An effective space opera with plenty of clever futurology
Some time after the human race has died out, it has been succeeded by the machines it left behind. Artificial intelligences and androids that are smarter and faster than any human... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars rather silly
not of the same standard as stross books I've previously read. felt like a bit of self indulgence. Didn't work for me.
Published 6 months ago by Graeme
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific read
Great momentum, excellent writing, innovative ideas. Really worth the read - about time Charles Stross was recognized for the great writer he is!
Published 7 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant story
It's been a while since I've read a sci-fi book as gripping as this one. I loved the concept - robots after the fall of humanity. I loved the 'otherness' of their conscious. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Mackay
5.0 out of 5 stars A different and quite fun read
Good sci-fi stuff, a good and interesting read with some humour which is always welcomed.

Interesting ideas and well exploited - I did like the development of the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by CjW
5.0 out of 5 stars Should have been a series.
We've had a lot of "people as robots" stuff lately, and this takes it the final mile and gives us "robots as people". Read more
Published 9 months ago by I. Baxter
2.0 out of 5 stars ...and the point is?
I am a big fan of Stross, but I found this book hard to finish. The long narrative has a few interesting perspectives (history of banking, life on long timescales etc) - yet it... Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. Ryckmans
4.0 out of 5 stars great scifi
imaginative, well written and thought provoking scifi, keeps you engaged and interested and has some funny moments to lighten the mood, I enjoyed it
Published 11 months ago by Manchester Lad 68
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