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Saturn's Children (Freyaverse) Paperback – 2 Jul 2009
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A cutting edge space opera from the Hugo Award-winning author of Singularity Sky.
Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters ? hardwired to become aroused at the sight mere of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct. Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. But the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry ? and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way. If Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul ...See all Product description
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The most interesting aspect of this novel is that it is set after humanity's extinction, and is a tale of robotic society that survives the extinction. This offers a refreshing and new perspective on the traditional human/robot relationship, with robots having to come to terms with the emotional fall out of there being no humans, as well as tapping into an interesting trend in science fiction of looking at non-human propogation of human culture (there are some amusing comments about contemporary philosophy within the text).
With regards to the story, I am unwilling to discuss it too much in case it spoils the novel for potential readers. However for those readers who might be worried about Freya's (the main character) role as a courtesan, I would say that this is well handled and works well within the story, if anything it provides a useful point of empathy for a reader by providing a "more" human robot with emotions. The real delight for any reader will be from the well written narrative and some snappy dialogue which works to create a vivid, elegant and tangible sci-fi universe.
All in all I would recommend this work to anyone interested in reading a good, enjoyable and different sci-fi adventure.
I came to this novel whilst trying to find something to read after Iain M. Banks. With a similar scope, a familiar-yet-alien society and a host of morally ambiguous characters, it's cut from the same cloth. There a lots of interesting ideas extracted from the concept of a post-people society, particularly one which is (effectively) immortal. That these are executed in an exciting way whilst remaining within touching distance of theoretical physics is a credit to Mr. Stross.
So much effort is put into world building that characterisation suffers. Freya's character arc stutters and most of the supporting cast feel a tad thin - character development often seems forced to fit the plot rather than driving it.
Nevertheless, it's an effective space opera with an efficient plot and plenty of fascinating futurology.
Interesting ideas and well exploited - I did like the development of the technology as explained- you come across some of the enhancements as a side comments and then you realise how pertinent that become - I like that.
I have read a few of Mr Stross' books and have like them all.
It reads well on a Kindle Paperwhite and is hard to put down - which a lot of other sci-fi tales cannot boast.
Good read and well worth the cash.