Accelerando Paperback – 1 Jun 2006
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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)
The third novel from one of the most exciting new British SF writers of the decade.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is quite challenging to get into at first but it is well worth persevering with. Stross tells his story at 10 year intervals and develops his themes in a very interesting and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Peter J. Holmes
couldn't get into it at all, deliberately obscure and mildly offensive.Published 16 months ago by Jungle Jim
Mr Stross writes excellent books, and this is one of them. you may, if you're only used to standard characters and themes, wonder what it's all about, but this is the "New... Read morePublished 17 months ago by I. Baxter
For me, unattractive characters over-concerned with legal deals and sharp practice with little appreciation of the economic environment likely to apply around the singularity. Read morePublished 17 months ago by ROBERT M.
Bought this from Amazon a while ago and haven't as yet done a review. My bad. This is epic and ranks as one of my favourite Charlie Stross books. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Whitehatter
I understood more about the Singularity from this book than from every Ray Kurzweil book put together - and don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Kurzweil too. Read morePublished on 22 July 2014 by Amazon Customer
This book literally took over my life while reading it. Couldnt put it down, couldnt sleep early in the evening. Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2014 by Amazon Customer
I'm a Charles Stross fan, but this book irritated me a lot. Characters that are simultaneously two-dimensional and richly dislikable (quite an achievement, really): and... Read morePublished on 7 Mar. 2014 by HAMISH MCCALLUM
As someone who is a programmer and a keen sci-fi reader I couldn't recommend this book any higher. Its quite fast paced and without the required "background" (an awareness... Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2014 by Mr M N C Bannerman