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Toast [Paperback]

Charles Stross
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Dec 2005
Short story collection containing such gems as "Antibodies," "Bear Trap," "Extracts from the Club Diary," "A Colder War," "TOAST: A con report," "A Boy and His God," "Ship of Fools," "Dechlorinating the Moderator," "Yellow Snow", "Big Brother Iron", "Lobsters".


Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Cosmos (13 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809556030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809556038
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,033 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.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Future Implodes 9 May 2009
Format:Paperback
A collection of Charles Stross' early short stories (some just about 10 years old) that reflects on the situation where near-term science fiction ideas can all too rapidly be overtaken by an unpredicted reality and so a writer's ideas become "Toast".

This is my fifth CS book and a great addition to the collection. While it is true that some ideas are overtaken by events all these ideas are a challenge that make you stop and think the what if question. The story Big Brother Iron with its 1984esqu reality of computerised surveillance is probably uncomfortably nearer now, than when Charles wrote the story.

The story Lobsters will be familiar to those who've read Accelerando as it is its first Chapter. Don't let this overlap of content detract you. Toast is well worth the purchase if you have Accelerando, and if you don't have either, buy both anyway as Accelerando is an exceptional novel.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yippee! I discovered Charlie Stross. 1 Mar 2006
By Gareth
Format:Paperback
I hunted this book down after finding one of the author's stories in Interzone. It's a short story called Antibodies and it blew me away. I think it still stands out in this collection as the best, but you just have to read this guy. He puts more ideas on a single page than some authors do in a whole book. It can be a pretty intense read, but if anyone has a clue about what the future has in store for us, it's Charles Stross. Buy it and read him, if you haven't already. (Warning - you need to be a bit of techie/geek to appreciate much of it)
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4.0 out of 5 stars A collection of thoughtful tales and novellas... 31 Aug 2013
By Nik
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collects tales from 'before he was really famous'. Several have been overtaken by technology, so they're 'period drama'. 'A Colder War' shows Stross groping towards his wondrous, scary, gripping etc etc 'Laundry' series. And then there's 'Lobsters', which grew into 'Singularity Sky' and its sequel...

You'll find some of these collected else-where but, if you're a Stross fan, get it anyway.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Always Lands on the Buttery Side. 6 Jan 2005
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not a short story fan, which is odd, given my mouldering span of attention. But there is something irritating about a tale that is over just when you start to 'get' it. But I am a Charles Stross fan, one who discovered him late, and while desperately waiting for another novel to appear, I decided to try out his shorter output via this retrospective volume selected out by the author himself.

Stross has an incredibly wide-ranging imagination. He writes hard science fiction about very far out ideas. In fact the very first story here, Antibodies, is about a theoretical idea whose very existence can threaten reality. From there we go one to the economics of information in a very virtual universe, the coffee club that ate the world, what H. P. Lovecraft only suspected, and other, equally peculiar tales.

Stross's tongue is always squarely in his check, even as he displays an impressive intellect and a deep understanding of what the world inside a geek's head really looks like. I'm to old to be considered a geek any longer, but it is fascinating to read Stross's own spin on what was interesting about my own generation of 'techies' (the title story). And there is even a delightfully ironic narrative about a Y2K apocalypse cruise.

While I haven't been converted to a short story lover, my faith in one of the odder minds out there producing quality science fiction has been confirmed. This is a writer who first made his mark as a short fiction writer. If you want to see what the fuss is about, with the added pleasure of occasional comments by the author, start here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, but worth reading 31 Dec 2010
By D. R. Cantrell - Published on Amazon.com
This collection of short stories has been available for some years now, being originally published in 2002, and containing stories written between the late 80s and 2000. This limited edition is supposedly the last one there will be, but it is still available in a mass-market paperback edition and online, although the online edition doesn't include one of the best stories, "A Boy And His God". The limited edition is worth buying though, simply because it's a far higher quality physical artifact.

As you would expect of a book containing some of the author's very earliest work, the quality is patchy. Some of the stories have dated badly, and others are poorly plotted or poorly written. However, there are four really good stories here that are well worth reading and which between them make the book worth buying.

The best two are "A Colder War" and "A Boy And His God", both of which use H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, and use it far better than Lovecraft himself ever did. "A Boy And His God" is particularly interesting, as it twists the mythos to be funny and even cute. Both are well-observed and eminently enjoyable. Also worth mentioning are "Big Brother Iron", which brings Orwell's "1984" up to date by exploring what might happen when Big Brother computerises his records, and "Lobsters", which was later turned into the first section of Accelerando.

All of the other stories have fairly serious flaws, but are at least worth reading as most of them do at least contain interesting ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Collection 10 Jun 2008
By Mr. Robert F. Sigal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A collection of early short stories. You can see some of the early ideas that get developed later in the novels. His later novels are much better.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great retrospective 20 Jan 2010
By R. Victoria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
These are several short stories that were written before 1995, with a current commentary. It is interesting to see how technology has made some of these stories outdated, and some of them have held up. The commentary by the author adds interest. While many of the stories were clearly written in the early part of career, it is worth reading to see how his writing has improved and ideas have been expanded. Buy this if you like Stross' writing.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and varied 6 May 2009
By Alexander Rosen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Every story is in a different tone, almost in the style of a different classic SF author each time. Highly recommended.
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