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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good. not quite great.
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.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer

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13 of 15 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 16 months ago by Alexander J. Thirkill


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4 of 4 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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13 of 15 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
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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13 of 15 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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4.0 out of 5 stars robots, space travel, deep sea diving, and economics, 28 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Paperback)
This is a tale of robots, interstellar space travel, body modification, economics, child abuse, brain downloading, deep sea diving, and more. This is set in the same universe as Saturn’s Children, although several thousand years later, when the robots have established an interstellar civilisation. Krina Alizond is a clone-daughter of Sondra, trained as a historical economics librarian, now at loose on the universe, trying to track down her clone-sister. The reason gradually becomes clear: they have a great secret, and lots of other people are after it.

The robots are “humans”, but not the old-fashioned “fragile” variety: those keep going extinct. These new improved less-fragile people still have many of the same issues, though, only with longer lives and stronger more malleable bodies for those issues to play out in.

The main thrust of the book, leavened by many delicious little scenes of utter madness, is how to run a currency across interstellar space when there is only slower-than-light travel, and the scams that can be played as a result. That might sound potentially dull, but remember, this is Stross. The complex plot weaves several threads skilfully together, until the final denouement where all becomes clear (and Stross again subverts Weber).

Good fun, with some deep ideas, and I gave it my vote for the Hugo this year.
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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
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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
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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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, but flawed pacing, 12 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
The core story of the book is wonderful, and there's a rich amount of world building that runs deep from accountancy, the interaction of finance and society to radiation and the physics of (non-FTL) space flight. However, it feels like there's far, far too much going on, the plot lines do all intersect and tie together but it as you read through it there's a slight lack of flow until it's all pieced together. Stross is accused (unfairly, in my opinion) of not being able to write an end to a book, but for this one it feels like he ran out of steam or had to drastically trim the word count in and the ending comes and goes in the blink of an eye without a lot of resolution.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book, I just wish the payoff was delivered slightly better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rip-roaring Econimic Advendure!, 21 July 2014
By 
JA Fairhurst "johnfair" (Edgeley, Stockport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Neptune's Brood (Kindle Edition)
A great story, as you'd expect from Stross.

This is a return to Far Future science fiction Stross rather than the equally good 'hidden history' current times Laundry books. In the grand tradition of Hard Science, there is no true FTL travel in this universe and a whole economic system has been designed to cope with the multi-century journey times required sub FTL travel times and if there is a... difficulty with the book it's the amount of explanation that Stross has his character make over the economy but it is fairly vital to the plot that you have a reasonable understanding of the economics.
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Neptune's Brood
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross (Hardcover - 2 July 2013)
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