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Singularity Sky Paperback – 3 Feb 2005

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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: 10.8 x 2.3 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,879 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


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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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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 By Rod Williams on 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Howard Oettle on 2 May 2006
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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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Douglas TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 May 2005
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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