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Singularity Sky [Paperback]

Charles Stross
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 Feb 2005

In the twenty-first century man created the Eschaton, a sentient artificial intelligence. It pushed Earth through the greatest technological evolution ever known, while warning that time travel is forbidden, and transgressors will be eliminated.

Distant descendants of this ultra high-tech Earth live in parochial simplicity on the far-flung worlds of the New Republic. Their way of life is threatened by the arrival of an alien information plague known as the Festival. As forbidden technologies are literally dropped from the sky, suppressed political factions descend into revolutionary turmoil.

A battle fleet is sent from Earth to destroy the Festival, but Spaceship engineer Martin Springfield and U.N. diplomat Rachel Mansour have been assigned rather different tasks. Their orders are to diffuse the crisis or to sabotage the New Republic's war-fleet, whatever the cost, before the Eschaton takes hostile action on a galactic scale.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (3 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841493341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841493343
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,533 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

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)

Book Description

A major SF debut from a British writer who will stand alongside Banks, Hamilton and Reynolds.

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First Sentence
"May I ask what I'm charged with?" asked Martin. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post humanity meets Space Opera 19 Mar 2004
Format:Hardcover
Pick up Singularity Sky; then empty your brain of every pre-conceived ideal you have about what SF should be. Then read it and be blown away.
If you like SF in any form; you'll find something here for you. Stross cleverly combines hard sf with grand space-opera story lines and some clever futurist thoughts, on how humanity might turn out (and what we'll do when faced with the truly unknown). His ability to combine cutting edge technology (both based on viable science and 'just to the right of reality') completely immerses you into the universe of the Eschaton.
Be prepared for a little thinking; we've got some of Stross' trademark post-humanist alien types (and who knows what THEY want), a world about to rebel from its repressive governement, secret agents and creatures that aren't alien - but definatly aren't human.
The Eschaton is an Artifical Intelligence - so powerful we don't know where it is or exactly what it wants. It rarely meddles in the affairs of humanity - Once when it first gained sentience and since then, only when some one attempt to break the laws of time travel (and when that happens, the Eschaton stops them with a bang!).
And someones about to try it again - and if the big E wants to pop this group of casuality breakers...Earth might very well go with them!
The story combines slick mental visuals with enough mystery and "whats happening?" to keep any reader with a post cambrian IQ intregued for hours.
Bring on Iron Sunrise Charlie.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stross & The Festival have arrived 28 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Rachel Mansour is a UN diplomat based incognito in an interplanetary Russian-ethnic society based on a historical model of class-structure and aristocratic inherited privilege. Martin Greenfield is also working undercover within the society for a mysterious paymaster called Herman.

At the outset of the novel a presence arrives in orbit around one of these Russian worlds and showers the planet with mobile phones. The bemused natives are told on the phones that The Festival has arrived and that they will grant requests for anything if they can only be entertained.

Soon, the Victorian-industrial world is thrown into chaos, revolution and worse by a plethora of advanced technological items given to the inhabitants.

On the homeworld, the Emperor decides to send his fleet to destroy the Festival and quell the insurrection. Martin, who has been waiting for his papers to be processed so that he can work in the flagship's engine room, is suddenly summoned aboard, as is Rachel, who has abandoned her disguise and announced herself as a UN observer to claim a place on the flagship, ostensibly to ensure that that the military of the New Republic do not contravene any of the Eschaton's laws.

It is only gradually that we realise that the Eschaton is not the ruling body of this interstellar multi-cultural society, but is something else entirely.

Stross succeeds admirably in blending satire, drama, political intrigue and outrageous science fiction concepts in a cleverly constructed novel.

One's understanding of the history of Humanity's interstellar cultures is revealed piece by piece and the jigsaw Stross puts together for us is weird, funny, fast paced and politically astute.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Potential 13 May 2005
By Tom Douglas TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Occasionally, and clearly not often enough, a new author arrives that makes us sit up and say 'wow, when does the next book come out?'
For me the last few were Richard Morgan, Alastair Reynolds and Neal Asher and if you know your British sci-fi, you know that I am placing Stross in august company.
Not that Singularity Sky is the perfect novel - its falls some way short - but it offers something else - potential. Stross will go on to write a scorcher, and the discovery of potential is a wonderful thing.
So what of the book itself?
The mainline: Weird alien culture arrives a human planet and wreaks havoc, but not intentionally.
The backdrop: Humanity has been dispersed across a few hundred light years in the singularity - a moment when a God-like entity, the Eschaton, intervened in Earth and moved 90% of the population off-planet.
The itch: time travel.
This is one of the few novels I have read involving time travel that does not have me despairing at all the paradoxes. Stross writes fluidly and confidently, and it is his confidence that makes him convincing.
The story cracks along after a slowish start, and is witty without being too clever. Not much is said about the backdrop, saving it for sequels to come, but what is said hangs together and leaves you with a hearty appetite for more of Stross' universe. The story loses its way several times, but never for long, and is all nicely wrapped-up at the end.
Singularity Sky is very similar to Iain Banks' novels, which is certainly a good thing, but Stross' displays a prodigious imagination and enough of his own style for it to be worth reading as a Charles Stross novel rather than worth reading for being like an Iain Banks novel.
I'm already looking forward to the release of Iron Sunrise in paperback.
Four stars
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Some people lambast this book because of 'too much technobabble' or 'characters without depth'. I would have to disagree. I picked up this book whilst browsing through a bookstore and by the time I got to the end of the third page I was hooked!

A book which starts (yes, STARTS) with every person on a backward planet being given anything they want (food, universal assemblers, physical / neurological augmentations, eternal youth etc etc) lays the backdrop for a delicious peek into the human psyche.

The story itself would be mediocre if it were not for two things - (a) the backdrop of the universe, where a Vingian-style Singularity has occurred with the resulting transcendent (both physically as well as temporally) entity (the Eschaton) has relocated most of humanity on various worlds and (b) the depiction of the main characters, who have pasts, dreams, hopes, fears and to whom it is quite easy / comfortable to relate.

A slow start, but the plot ramps up until the end. Well worth reading!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
Great story!
Published 2 hours ago by christopher Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars Earlier book from one of the very best modern SF authors...
A good one, before the author went down some different paths, tried different things. This is more straight, hard space opera sci-fi goodness.
Published 6 months ago by James Parsons
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Having really enjoyed the 'Laundry Series' by the author I thought I would give some of his other works a try. This was the first one and I must say I did not really enjoy it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by EvilEdna
5.0 out of 5 stars A different, intelligent and witty space opera
Charles Stross is probably one of the most exciting writers in sci-fi, and perhaps one of the most exciting writers in fiction. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Kuma
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixture of genius and pretentious drivel
Charles Stross is undoubtably one of the most original and creative authors around, but he clutters an otherwise flawless narative style with showing off his impressive vocabulary. Read more
Published on 7 April 2012 by Setapenre
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, excellent ideas
This rather complex story about the almost inevitable destruction of a nasty and repressive society is cleverly set in an environment something like Pre Revolutionary Russia but... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by W. Black
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - but UK Kindle edition is in American English
Firstly - being a fan of Charles' work I should state upfront that this is an excellent book, and well worth reading in any language, I have been working backwards through his... Read more
Published on 27 Nov 2011 by Hengy
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
This is the third Stross book I have read in a fortnight. During that time I have repeatedly made myself late for work by finding somewhere to sit on the way from the station to... Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2011 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Good premise shame about the content
Telephones falling from the 'Festival' that wants entertaining - into a world that feels like the old USSR. Secret agents, a world ready to go to war - the prelude offered so much. Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2011 by Querl Dox
5.0 out of 5 stars The reapperance of Harvey.
I read SF now and again for leisure purposes and, by and large, I put them down without a second thought. This, however, warrants a little more attention than that. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2010 by Iphidaimos
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