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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money, fast and slow
This book is a follow up (not a sequel) set in the same universe as Stross's earlier Saturn's Children (and for completeness, a short story, "Bit Rot" in the anthology Engineering Infinity fits in between and is mentioned in passing here).

It is several thousand years in the future. Humanity has become extinct - and been recreated - several times. Taking our...
Published 12 months ago by D. Harris

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why can't Stross finish a book?
Once again Stross creates an interesting premise, but is unable to satisfactorily conclude.

This is the case with iron sunrise, the whole laundry series. We get to about 95% of the way through and then it is finished in a 1, 2, 3, often a deus ex machina.

I like Stross' work, but like Iain Banks, I think his work rate is undermining the quality...
Published 11 months ago by Alexander J. Thirkill


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money, fast and slow, 4 July 2013
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Hardcover)
This book is a follow up (not a sequel) set in the same universe as Stross's earlier Saturn's Children (and for completeness, a short story, "Bit Rot" in the anthology Engineering Infinity fits in between and is mentioned in passing here).

It is several thousand years in the future. Humanity has become extinct - and been recreated - several times. Taking our place is a flourishing society of post-humans, originally robots created to do our bidding (as described in "Saturn's Children"). They are tougher than us, better able to survive the rigours of interplanetary travel and able to be transferred, as software, from one body to another. Yet their design was originally based on ours, and they share all our failings and feelings (subject, of course, to the effects of a tweak here or there to increase empathy or decrease libido - the better to focus on the task in hand).

Krina Alizond and her kind inhabit a society that is enthusiastically colonizing the galaxy, establishing toeholds in remote systems where "beacons" are constructed to which colonists can be "beamed" and downloaded into freshly grown bodies. it's a lucrative trade, financed by massive debt, and Stross goes to some lengths to explain the economic basis of the whole thing. The debt is key here, as the brave new post-human world is nakedly capitalist: freshly created "persons" are owned by their progenitors until they have paid off the costs of their instantiation; those distant colonies are also born deeply in debt, which they generally pay off, by founding daughter colonies which are in debt to them.

As I said, the post-humans of Krina's universe inherit our failings, and it's hardly surprising to find fraud, scams and unbridled greed flourishing as part of its financial system. Krina is a historian of such things, a "nun-accountant" on an academic pilgrimage who plunges into adventure by accident (well, sort-of). Why is somebody trying to kill her? What's happened to her sister? And what does all this have to do with the failed attempt to establish the "Atlantis" colony, two thousand years before?

This book is a rollicking good read, with a crisp plot and plenty of trademark weirdness - from pirate bats to communist squid via a spacefaring church. You'd think a SF story based on debt and set in a cosmos rigidly bound to slower-than-light travel could drag, but Stross turns both of these features to his advantage, creating something both outlandish and convincing. It's recognisably the same universe as "Saturn's Children" but (like Krina's people) it has evolved too. And the slightly nerdy heroine, who gets way too deep in something she didn't expect, is also easier to identify with than an all-guns-blazing SF protagonist.

All in all, a brilliant book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good. not quite great., 17 July 2013
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
An excellent read. Very Charles Stross. Very enjoyable.
The end feels a bit abrupt - it could do with an epilogue In my opinion, but that's Charlie for you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why can't Stross finish a book?, 6 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Hardcover)
Once again Stross creates an interesting premise, but is unable to satisfactorily conclude.

This is the case with iron sunrise, the whole laundry series. We get to about 95% of the way through and then it is finished in a 1, 2, 3, often a deus ex machina.

I like Stross' work, but like Iain Banks, I think his work rate is undermining the quality control. I'd like to see him get back to the heights of Glasshouse and Accelerando.

Adequate, but I should have waited until it came out in paper-back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious, amusing, but ultimately unsatisfying space opera, 6 July 2014
By 
P. Kendell (Wokingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
They call economics the "dismal science". So does it follow that a science fiction novel based on economics will also be dismal?

Well, no, not necessarily, but it's a close-run thing. Charles Stross has obviously had a good think about the economics of interstellar colonisation in a relativistic universe and boy, does he want us to know it. So he falls into the the old SF trope of introducing a term, leaving it a couple of pages, and then explaining it. At length. And all that had me doing was saying, 'OK, Charlie. Got it already. Let's move on now, shall we?' Surely Stross has been writing long enough by now to remember the mantra of "show, don't tell"? Trust your readers!

Fortunately he does, mostly. But look - I'm neither an economist nor a nun-historian, so if I can get it without having it spelled out in repeated detail so can anyone.

That over, what's left is fun in a later version of the post-human future history we first encountered in (the superior) Saturn's Children. It all rollicks along in a cheerfully gruesome manner until we reach the final showdown when everything unexpectedly and abruptly sto
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 4 Jun 2014
By 
Dominic Storey "The Dome" (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
I really like Charles' quirky sense of humour. The book was gripping right to the end, and the texture of his reality was rich and expansive. My (very small) gripe is that I wish there was an 'afterword' or something - the end of the book was very sudden (can be a complete surprise when reading on a Kindle to find you got to the last page!) I wanted to know just a little more about her life after mother ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas on interstellar economics, 28 Sep 2013
By 
Robert (Uxbridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Hardcover)
Charles Stross is the first author I have come across who has written a story around the possibilities of interstellar economics in a non-FTL universe, and which feels based in real economic principles. He explains that where star systems are light years apart - slow currency which is uber-valuable is vouched for via third parties. The result is that one hundred slow dollars is equivalent to a million fast dollars in the local currency. But transfers are slow and there is a feeling of the old "when the boat comes in".

Set several thousand years after Saturns Children, Humanity has been restored as 'fragiles' but the protagonists in this novel are inheritors of the AIs in the first book. The plot is convoluted but revolves around the possible interstellar scams and lost fortunes inherent in a system where money can take centuries to arrive via two or more different keys.

This is what makes the book so gripping. The feeling that this is a real economy. The characters are fine, nothing special, bt it is Stross' universe that is the real character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mind blown, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
@cstross Saturns Children was always a tough act to follow but any writer that can turn an accountant into a hero clearly needn't fear that issue. Human evolution, body plans for the choosing, slow money, so want to believe future, damsel in distress (but not so defenseless at all), the story builds like crazy and is over too soon. This is so rich with tech and ideas I will be thinking about it for weeks.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the year so far, 8 July 2013
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I've definitely always been a big fan of Stross' work, but this has to be his best SF book to date. Solid world building, excellent use of current tech to extrapolate likely technological evolution, great characterisation, and best of all - it's not rabidly anthro-centric like the bulk of other SF. Sure, the subjects of his book are mostly humanoid, but that's where the resemblance ends.

His use of economics borders on the genius, and the people/objects which make up the universe he's built are surprisingly believable - even the ***SPOILERS*** communist squid robots. ***SPOILERS***

I expected a good book from Stross, but not a book this good. I can't find a flaw, which almost irks me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyble read, 22 May 2014
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
I am a big fan of Charles Stross' Laundry series but haven't read that many of his space sci-fi novels. Initially I struggled to get into this book but it really draws you in. Charles has created a very detailed and rich hard sci-fi universe that seems totally believable. The main character Krina is mostly along for the ride as the observer. Interesting things happen to her but she doesn't really have any control over them. This is a plot device used by other authors which I don't really like but with this book it doesn't actually matter. I really loved the extremely well thought out descriptions of his future post human civilisation. The ending was very abrupt and as other reviewers have said it would have been nice to have an epilogue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very original, 19 May 2014
By 
Norbury (Stockport, UK) - See all my reviews
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I love hard sci-fi, and requiring no FTL travel is as hard as it gets for me. Add in plausible ways of financing interstellar travel and human (or post-human) greed and criminality, and you have one of the most original and "realistic" sci-fi books I think I've ever read. Will definitely buy more by this author.
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Neptune's Brood
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross (Hardcover - 2 July 2013)
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