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Wireless: The Essential Charles Stross Hardcover – 2 Jul 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841497711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841497716
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A great read, and a fascinating look at the future of security in a massively networked world.' Bruce Schneier, CTO, BT Counterpane 'The first couple of pages had me hooked, and I didn't touch another book until I finished it.' John Carmack, Technical Director, iD Software and creator of Doom and Quake 'As keenly observant of our emergent society as it is our emergent technologies, Halting State is one extremely smart species of fun.' William Gibson

Book Description

A collection of cutting edge SF stories and novellas from one of science fiction's brightest new stars.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Missile gap

Things change on a fateful day in 1962. The surface of Earth is moved to an immense platform in another galaxy in the far future. As increased gravity grounds missiles, and separated by much greater distances, the Cold War becomes irrelevant as the superpowers try to find where they are and why. It seems that other 'Earths' have been brought here as well. A chilling tale of humanity's ultimate failing.

A colder war

The story is a series of vignettes centred on the experiences of Roger Jourgensen, a family man, who is also a US government spook, monitoring the real struggle going on in the Cold War,and who is deeply affected by what he sees. This real struggle centres around the usage of alien lifeforms and relics, on Earth since before the dinosaurs. These lifeforms are so alien as to be things of nightmare fantasy or religious evil. They cannot reliably be controlled and killing them, even with a dedicated bomber wing using special plutonium nukes, is unlikely. On this alternate Earth, where Colonel Oliver North is a key figure in this Colder War, things go badly wrong. A classic, which opens up a new perspective on the boundary between science fiction and fantasy.

MAXOS

The universe around Earth is found to be teeming with alien signals beamed back to us in response to our outgoing broadcasts. However, decoding an alien signal reveals something worrying...

Down on the Farm

The Farm is a sanitorium for ex-operatives of The Laundry, a super secret arm of British Intelligence, set up during World War Two to counter the use of 'demonic-computing' by the Nazis.
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Format: Paperback
If you've never read a Charles Stross book before this wouldn't be a bad place to start, it covers some of the styles developed in his longer books and contains some really excellent yarns. The stories vary in length from short one-trick tales to the final story (Palimpsest) which is more like a short novel. What it really showcases is how versatile a SF writer Stross is- this collection contains stories with his own brand of off-beat humour as well as bone-tingling horror side by side.

If you are already a fan of his work this is an excellent addition to any collection. It has a Laundry story in it (Down on the Farm), along with other less humour-laden SF ideas. Some miss the mark a little but overall it's a brilliant collection from one of the modern masters of Science Fiction.
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Format: Paperback
A Colder War is one of my favorite SF short stories, as is Missile Gap. These are the type of stories that you actually want to read again, which I hardly ever do. Stross' ability to mix hard SF, singularity SF and Cthulhu is unparalleled. If you haven't read all of his other work get it all now and enjoy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some stories are great, some terrible but they all end before you get to the really good bit.
The style is so similar, its sometimes confusing s to which background belongs to which story.

I don't normally buy short stories, I won't again.
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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The First Law of reading a Charles Stross book is that you always get more than you expect (even taking account of the First Law).

With a collection of his short stories, I think that's even more true. Although some of the stories in this book have appeared elsewhere, it's still, word for word, excellent value. The stories range across themes - from Cold War metaphors and themes in Missile Gap and A Colder War, with some prefiguring of the later Laundry stories, which are my personal favourites from his extensive output, to wider themes including a bizarre pseudo PG Wodehouse story featuring robots (a precursor to "Saturn's Children"). The best of all, I think, is the longer story, Palimpset, featuring a society so advanced that it has learned to manipulate human history across truly deep time, stretching to the end of the universe (but without a restaurant). Palimpset perhaps has that classically Strossian "what the blazes is going on?" atmosphere to a greater degree than the rest - maybe because it is longer: the brew takes a little time and space to develop, possibly?

Overall - excellent.
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Format: Hardcover
Charlie Stross tells us in his introduction that short stories allow a faster feedback from the public than the protracted timescales involved in a novel, so here's mine. Although I have read some of these stories before, I really enjoyed having them all together in this anthology along with new stories such as Palimpsest. The usual Stross trademarks are all there - wit, intelligence and ideas that can make your head spin - all packed down tight into little nuggets of pure story. Fans of The Laundry books along with all those who just enjoy his highly intelligent writing will not be disappointed. So, Charlie, message received loud and clear and yes, we're out there!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Framed by the perfect forward this collection both shares the notion of creating sf with some blindingly engaging stories. You also get to see how short story ideas mutate and grow to become novels. A beautiful collection for Stross fans.
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