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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, Intelligent and Entertaining Sci-Fi
Charles Stross has crafted a deeply thoughtful, elegant and many layered science fiction tale. The story is a fantastic mix of traditional sci-fi concepts (there are sly nods to things such as "Ghost in the Shell", "Do Androids dream electric sheep), coupled with fresh perspectives, new ideas and slick narrative and dialogue.

The most interesting aspect of this...
Published on 20 July 2009 by Kuma

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was I disappointed...
I think this book suffered from a a back drop that was too colourful, I kept wanting questions answered about the post human socieites and culture that were not really relevant to the story being told. Freya's story is tragic because she cannot fulfill the purpose that she was designed for becasue there are no Human Males and she has to find a new path through her life...
Published on 15 Oct. 2009 by Pamela Jane


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant story, 30 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Kindle Edition)
It's been a while since I've read a sci-fi book as gripping as this one. I loved the concept - robots after the fall of humanity. I loved the 'otherness' of their conscious. I loved the space travel, I loved the broken economy. Most of all I loved Freya, our hero, and all her other selves. It was a great book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read that teases the mind but ultimately goes nowhere, 4 Mar. 2012
By 
R. HOW "gymnophoria" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Paperback)
I was originally put off by reviews mentioning the complex plot: in a robot society where personality is merely software on a chip, how can we be sure who is really who? But I actually found it easy to keep up, and enjoyed what boils down to an old-fashioned espionage thriller set in an intriguing post-humanity solar system where only androids are left to carry on the functions of civilisation. My one complaint is, after all the interplanetary to-ing and fro-ing, identities swapped and masks revealed, not a great deal is really achieved or resolved. I suppose this paves the way for a sequel, but after ploughing through x number of pages, I was rather disappointed at the lack of satisfying payoff.

That said, Charles Stross still blows many of his contemporaries off the page, and this is a fun, rip-roaring read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When Robots Run Themselves, 18 May 2009
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Hardcover)
Stross is one of the newer hard-sf voices, and his previous books have shown a great inventiveness and a plethora of ideas and concepts that go well beyond what we've seen in the field before. This book, while firmly grounded in homage to some of the great early SF masters of Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, is in many ways just as inventive as his earlier books.

The situation is a solar system populated entirely by robots; their creators, us poor humans, having given up the ghost a couple of centuries ago (exact means of our demise never explicitly stated), but in any case, humans have left the building. This situation alone is reminiscent of Simak's City, where the humans left en-masse for Jupiter, and left stewardship of Earth in the hands of robots. But unlike that story, here we have a vibrant society of robots, who only nominally follow Asimov's Three Laws, robots that have evolved various classes and a hierarchy based on power and money, complete with a method of completely enslaving a robot who has run out of funds.

The story follows Freya, a sexbot built to service the sexual needs of the now long-gone humans, and as such can find no purpose to her life. She has to make do with sex with other robots, which is simply not as satisfying. But the plot very quickly becomes very complicated, as Freya is hired to transport a certain illicit package to Mars (shades of Heinlein's Friday), and in doing so becomes involved in schemes and counter-schemes by those who are attempting to really control the entire solar system. During the course of delving into these schemes, we are treated to a grand tour of the Solar system, from Mercury all the way out to the Oort cloud, all thoroughly grounded in the best information currently available about conditions of each of Sol's family members.

In many ways, this book's message is about identity and just what makes a `person', as one of the capabilities these robots have is to record and exchange `soul-chips' with other robots of the same lineage. While this message is clear, it also leads to the major problem with this book. In its later stages it becomes very difficult to keep track of just who is who (schizophrenia runs rampant!), who the bad and good guys really are, and just what the ultimate purpose of each of the factions really is. Freya's character, which had been so carefully and well built up in the first half of this book, seems to get lost in all the multiple other personalities. Alongside of this is one other problem: the portrayed level of sexual attraction Freya feels for another robot who is extremely close to the model of their Creators (i.e., a human male), as I found it rather unbelievable that robots would be designed with such an overriding complex that it would subsume their normal rationality.

The ending was also a bit of a disappointment, with a bit too much of `all ends well' and `things will get better from now on', and too little resolution of some of the more complicated details of the various plot threads.

There's a fair amount of sex in this book, almost a given due to its premise, and while never extremely graphic, does include certain varieties that some might consider `kinky', and certainly makes this book unsuitable for younger people.

Inventive and scientifically solid, but eventually too complicated to really satisfy.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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2.0 out of 5 stars Life proved to be too short for this one I'm afraid, 2 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Paperback)
I have enjoyed all of Charles' books up to now and was of the opinion that the man could do no wrong - right up until I read this one. Actually I'm lying. I haven't read this yet. It is so dull and uninspiring that I just can't quite bring myself to get through it, and I have tried! The idea is good but Mr Stross has made such a meal of it that getting past the half-way point is beyond me. It may be that the book improves and has a fine finish worthy of the effort getting there, but I for one will probably never find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific read, 9 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Kindle Edition)
Great momentum, excellent writing, innovative ideas. Really worth the read - about time Charles Stross was recognized for the great writer he is!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun and some important concepts, 21 Feb. 2011
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Paperback)
The top few reviews give a sufficiently detailed introduction to the book that there's no need for me to cover the same ground. But I have to add that the problem with virtually all space operas is that you have to suspend disbelief, because it seems highly unlikely that human interstellar travel will ever happen. So it was good to read an SF book that recognises this and suggests a way around it. Also there is a very good "female" protagonist - unusual in a book written by a man.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sexbot assassin, 17 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book.I liked the whole premise that mankind fabricated a race of superior slaves and became so lazy/complacent because of it that the human race just fizzled out.
Its a job to keep up with the "sibs" part of things but as the story develops it starts to clarify.All in all a very good book.
It blows my mind every time i read a space travel based book,how much research the author must have done on physics/astrophysics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fast paced and well written book with plenty of action, 20 Mar. 2013
By 
Peter T (london, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Paperback)
I have read two other of Stross's books (one of which was Accelerando, the other a book in the Laundry series) and I think this is my favourite of the three.

One thing I like about Stross's books is his vision of the future, which I find relatively plausible, for example his recognition of the very long travel times required for inter system travel.

Anyway, fast paced and well written book with plenty of action.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ...and the point is?, 15 Oct. 2013
By 
T. Ryckmans "TR" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Kindle Edition)
I am a big fan of Stross, but I found this book hard to finish. The long narrative has a few interesting perspectives (history of banking, life on long timescales etc) - yet it fails to deliver much interest for the heroine, or why any of the topics have any importance at all. I felt mildly relieved when I reached the last page - and asked myself "...and the point is?"
Will buy Stross's next book anyway!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a sexbot, 9 April 2013
By 
P. J. Coffey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Saturn's Children (Kindle Edition)
So, it's the future, humanity is gone and only robots are left over. They come in all shapes and sizes and have arrayed themselves into their own civilisation.

Except civilised isn't really the word for it. The creation of artificial intelligence to serve us has never had this angle taken on it before and it's thoroughly thought out and thoroughly horrible.

Nice.
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Saturn's Children
Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (Paperback - 2 July 2009)
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