- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (1 July 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841493333
- ISBN-13: 978-1841493336
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.4 x 20.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,559,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Singularity Sky Hardcover – 1 Jul 2004
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Breathtaking ... a real contender for "space opera of the year" (LOCUS)
Stross is an author who anyone interested in SF should read and relish (SFX)
Darkly funny and crackling with high-bandwidth ideas (PAUL McAULEY)
Where Charles Stross goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow (Gardner Dozois)
A major SF debut from a British writer who will stand alongside Banks, Hamilton and Reynolds.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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It is perhaps the element of irony and irreverence to the genre that makes the work such a delight. The story line focuses on a particular human empire's response to an attack on one of their colonies, Stross uses this to satirise the genre on a range of topics including the need for spaceships to look good, through to the place of authoritarian regimes in space.
The work also handles the subject of time travel and causality in an intelligent way, certainly far better than most novels in the genre. Whilst Stross certainly gives space opera a humorous and at sometime cheeky send up, what does shine through is his awareness, in depth working knowledge and appreciation of the genre. In this respect humour is used perhaps to help create things that are truly alien and never at the expense of the integrity of the story. Purists I'm sure will be offended however I can't believe that Stross irreverent tone is not born out of a sincere appreciation of the genre.
I'll avoid an in depth discussion of the plot to avoid spoiling the story for potential readers, however it is enough to say that it is thoroughly engaging and intelligent and will reward both new readers and experienced sci-fi fans. The sequel Iron Sunrise is also an excellent read!
These 'Russians' get involved in something that is just way beyond their experience and ability to deal with and their society more or less falls to pieces.
But our hero isn't from there. He's a 'sovereign citizen' from Earth. The book more or less destroys the idea of sovereign citizenship in a couple of pages, by letting this individual, who is Mr Stross's inevitable highly competent technician hero, fall into the clutches of the secret police who care not a fig for his 'sovereign citizenship'.
What then happens and what will happen is more or less inevitable. The military stuff is obvious for anyone who has any knowledge of the Russo/Japanese War of 1905 and the other technological ideas about the 'singularity' aren't that new if you've read anything about the idea.
Oh yes, the techie hero gets laid, he always does, and the female lead is a character who will seem familiar to anyone who has read anything from Iain M Banks.
But there are some excellent ideas here and a couple of entertaining set pieces that show what happens when people get EXACTLY what they ask for.
Read it, just don't expect something spectacular or particularly new
I guess this - and indeed all his books - are 'Marmite' books - love them or hate them. If you like Gibson, or Banks (Culture universe), if you like word play, political philosophy and defective charters, then you'll like this. If you are looking for a straightforward 'easy on the tired brain book' then this isn't it. Good plot, good science, clever book.
There are some good bits of the book - especially the towards the star, but after about 1/3 if the book it becomes a hard slog; slow paced with just too much detail. Overall, I would have to say I don't recommend it, but if you do decide to read it, you may well have a different opinion - it's a bit of a marmite book I think!
Unfortunately, I did find the quality of the writing unaccountably inconsistent; Stross is clearly a talented author but, on the strength of this book alone, an Iain M. Banks he is not. However, on the whole, I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely read more of Stross' work, but I'm not sure whether to go for the next in the series (`Iron Sunrise') or `Accelerado'.
Great characters and well realised scenes. The science fiction is there but does not push out the plot or the readability. I certainly felt engaged with the characters from the off, and immediately followed this book by reading the follow up Iron Sunrise (which is also excellent).
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The writing is poor and clunky in places, at various points the characters state their...Read more