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Accelerando Paperback – 1 Jun 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3453521951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841493893
  • ASIN: 1841493899
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.6 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Stretches the limits of narrative to make us see how wonderful ideas can be (TIME OUT)

Stross's most accomplished and strikingly imaginative SF book so far (STARBURST)

Utterly original, gripping the reader with the power of its ideas (DREAMWATCH)

Intelligent future history grounded by terrific characters (DREAMWATCH)

Book Description

The third novel from one of the most exciting new British SF writers of the decade.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Don't believe the detractors, this is one of the most far sighted, visionary and original pieces of SF to emerge in the past 20 years.

Accelerando takes the reader into a future not so far from our own in subjective time (most of the book is set less than 100 years in the future) but through, as another reviewer said, tackling the idea of the technological singularity head on Stross delves into a world which by its very definition is at an incomprehensible remove from that of the reader. His masterstroke lies in sustaining this sense of alien change whilst keeping enough of a thread of understandable humanity runnning through the story.

Be prepared to have to re-read passages and to take the time to do a bit of side research on his ideas, technical details and vocabulary, but prepare also to be rewarded by a true 'sense of wonder', that of standing teetering on the brink of a fathomless gulf of experience over and above and beyond your ken . . .

Woven through these towering ideas there is a hugely powerful thread of character, for those who read carefully enough . . . the Macx family with its forks, twists and disfunctions is presented, in a way, as a reflection of the future shattering of human values as we currently understand them. And, whilst trying not to give anything away, the thread which ties all this together is a character who I think is one of the most believably, spine chillingly developed images of an alien intelligence yet written.

My caveat would be that this is not a book for those who are just starting to delve into sci-fi. There are both explicit references to and subtle echoes of many previous works of SF.
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Format: Paperback
Vernor Vinge created something of a problem for SF authors with his idea of a technological singularity. Accelerando is possibly the first novel to tackle this head on. Starting in the near future, it narrates along the exponential curve of computer power that rapidly leads all the way to solar-system-spanning AI. Stretching characters and a plot across such a canvas is a tall order, and inevitably the story is a little ragged at times, particularly toward the end. However, Stross really manages to pull it off remarkably well. This is SF that takes the idea of exponential progress and runs with it further and deeper than anything I've seen before. It's not a perfect book, but if you like the SF of ideas, you'll enjoy the ride.
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Format: Paperback
Let me try to explain the 3 star rating.

On one hand, the technology used and described in the book is fantastical and brilliantly researched. It is not visionary as some reviews would have you believe - a quick browse on Wiki shows that all of the ideas in this book have been thought of already, but don't let that detract you in the slightest. It's a wonderful delve into what the future could bring, and indeed some of the ideas such as glasses with CPUs in them are already happening. 5 stars for this eye opening and well written dimension to the novel - especially considering there's a lot of fact-based learning to be had.

I would also recommend having a Wiki to hand whilst reading the book, in fact there is already a website wiki made solely for the book (have a quick Google).

Therein lies one problem. A book that requires a wiki to understand is not exactly free-flowing. No attempt is made to explain some of the concepts - not even a glossary. So if you want to enjoy the book you have to have the internet available. Not a great way to enjoy a book, but some may be able to tolerate this.

The second issue is that the grammar and writing style borders on the obnoxious. Woefully over-complicated grammar ruins some paragraphs. And it's not necessary for about 50% of the text. I don't know what the author was trying to prove, but it ends up with dialogue that is incredibly hard to read. I love sci-fi and technical novels, but this is in a league of its own.

So, in conclusion buy the book if you want a technically brilliant and hugely in depth text that will have you reaching for wiki every two pages. Some may love this, although I believe the majority will not.
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Format: Paperback
An occasionally confusing and sometimes confused narrative, this is nevertheless a compelling read. The high-octane style of its opening chapters give it an escape velocity that takes it beyond Gibson, and plunges into a world strikingly reminiscent, if more believable than 'The Dangers of the Last Days'.

Taking near future technologies as it departure point, it accelerates inexorably towards the event horizon of that obsession of postmodern apocalyptic - the collapse of the 'real'. And in doing so, it does what all good science fiction does. A family saga, set across three generations, it takes relations that we would normally recognise and re-imagines them, using technology and the 'real' to examine the notion of identity and what, ultimately, it means to belong to humanity. And all with a wry smile.

Definitely worth a read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All you needed to know about the Fermi paradox (if there are all those clever aliens out there, how come we've never met them?), and more than you ever needed to know about why economists should never ever be given control of anything important. Utterly barmy, quite funny in places, but goes on a bit and I thought that the ending was a little weak. Really liked the cat though. You might need a better dictionary than Kindle provides, and a thesaurus, and an encyclopedia, and even then a lot of terms will probably be incomprehensible. Possibly they're meant to be, but I think Charles Stross has read far too many legal/commercial textbooks for his own good, or ours. Having said that, it's one I will probably read again sometime.
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