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on 13 August 2005
Charles Stross now lives in Edinburgh where, no doubt, he spends his free time with the other SF alumni of that city (Banks, McLeod et al). Indeed, fans of the 'Edinburgh set' are going to lap this novel up with great relish; 'Iron Sunrise' is a big-canvas space opera, and manages to pack a whole lot of action, intrigue and nasty plot twists into a surprisingly punchy page-count. There are echoes of the dark humour of Banks, if a little more up-front, and there is plenty of political intrigue and ideological interplay, without the socialist gong-beating of McLeod. Simultaneously serious and entertaining, this book stands alone from its predecessor, 'Singularity Sky', with no problems at all, but the post-singularity universe Stross is building here is all the more enjoyable when you immerse yourself in it as completely as possible.
To briefly synopsise; Rachel Mansour, causal WMD inspector for a far future evolution of the UN, is called to 'take out' a crazed terrorist with a nuke in the centre of Geneva. Meanwhile, the sun of the New Moscow system has been destroyed, taking the system with it, by protagonists unknown. Wednesday Shadowmist, a teenage malcontent from said system, finds herself entangled in a nasty web of people who want to kill her, because of a little mission her 'imaginary friend' Herman asked her to do before evacuating her original home. These threads and more are drawn into a complex yet rewarding tapestry spanning lightyears of space and time, all embellished with Stross's trademark wit and attention to detail. Suffice to say, if you like modern, high-octane, more-ideas-to-the-gallon space opera, then 'Iron Sunrise' is a must read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 February 2006
Iron Sunrise overtops the movie script dictum of "start with an earthquake and build to a climax" by kicking off with the destruction of a whole solar system, with collateral damage to nearby star systems. The "Iron Sunrise" indeed.
Our youngest protagonist is evacuated from an outpost in a nearby system to avoid the radiation storm, and holds the key to who did the deed. Those familiar with previous works will recognise the team sent to solve the conundrum, which involves saving another inhabited system from the consequences of the Sunrise.
Wittily written, a potential classic in its own time. Highly recommended read.
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on 1 March 2005
This is a sequel to Stross's first novel (Singularity Sky) though I have no doubt it would work equally well for anyone who hadn't read the first one.
The good news is that this is even better than Singularity Sky - it isn't quite as balls-to-the-wall inventive (there isn't anything quite as madcap as the Festival)but it is still full of big sf ideas (the "iron sunrise" itself is a memorable concept). The writing is noticeably sharper (though he was in no sense a bad writer before) the plotting is more measured and the whole thing just hangs together beautifully.
What it really has going for it, though, is the sly humour. There are more clowns (a Stross trademark?) and plenty of weirdness but it all serves the story.
A very, very good book.
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on 28 July 2004
A friend gave me this book and from the moment I started reading it, I could not put it down!
Charles Stross' Iron Sunrise is an easy read, which carries many laughs together with very tense moments. The storyline would carry the same if it was not for the characters: the disassocaited teenage goth, the female secret spy and the aging, drinking journalist.
It starts with a planet being blown to smithereens, and then follows the race to uncover who was behind it, and to stop further destruction of people and planets.
The story is dissimilar to any other books I have read and I thoroughly recommend you read this.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2013
This novel, a sequel to the wonderful, almost exquisite, Singularity Sky, is a venture into another area of the same universe. The protagonists of the earlier novel are there, but as a pair of 'walk on' characters who seem strangely unable to affect the action.

The protagonist here is a Goth chick from outer space, being chased by an evil a set of Space Nazis as you could ever hope to come across, and chased she is, half way around the universe. There are loads of tech toys, clever spaceships, well explained physics and lovingly described weapons along with some nasty deaths and the 'God in a box' that is the defining feature of this universe.

Oh yes, and clowns, there has to be clowns...

Not much of a plot though...

Stross has said he's 'broken' this universe and won't be writing another book set in it, which is a pity...

The author expands on this here:

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on 17 September 2012
Charles Stross is a hugely impressive sci-fi writer, few current writers can perhaps really rival the sheer volume of ideas he generates or his engaging and well crafted prose. Iron Sunrise is the sequel to Singularity Sky, and it continues in the same tradition in providing an excellent read.
Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise (along with Children of Saturn - which isn't part of this series) represent Stross' foray into the world of Space Opera. Stross combines a suitably sense of irony toward the genre with superlative storytelling, in this respect I prefer Iron Sunrise to Singularity Sky which had a slightly more tongue in cheek feel to it than Iron Sunrise. That said Stross retains his trademark humour, the book opens with an amusing scene featuring an Idi Amin impersonator!
Stross builds on the first story with some well conceived villains, continues to develop the previous characters and manages to balance the addition of a couple of other strong characters. I don't really want to spoil the plot for any potential readers, but it well structured and the way that the themes of a galactic trade dispute and second strike capabilities in space are handled is both intelligent and well executed.
I'd really recommend this book to anyone who has read Stross' other material and in particular to anyone who has read Singularity Sky. Fingers crossed for more stories in this universe!
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on 29 August 2007
This is the first Charles Stross book that I've read, and I'm going to find the others as it was funny, fast paced and enthralling. The science is carefully thought out, the story doesn't insult the intelligence and I cared what happened to the characters. Amazon had recommended it to me before, but I'd ignored it - possibly because the title put me off - but I really enjoyed it.
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on 5 May 2010
This sequel to Singularity Sky would work just as well as a stand-alone novel, while also maintaining continuity of character and setting with the first. The style, however, is rather different. Gone is the humour, replaced with a much darker over-all feel, and with far more action. While this does make the book more immediately accessible, I feel that there's something missing now.

It's still worth buying, mind. There is also room left for another book in the series, although Stross has no plans for one at the moment.
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2008
Wednesday is evacuated from an orbital station in the path of an exploding star. UN weapons inspector is called from a grisly bomb disposal to prevent retaliatory weapons launched in response to the star's destruction from targeting an inhabited world. Frank is a hard nosed journalist with a past which includes being imprisoned by a totalitarian planet invading regime.

This is a solid hard SF novel, with plenty of entertaining ideas, sufficient plot twists to keep things interesting, endearing characters, and a real sense of fun.

I felt Singularity Sky was rather lacking a narrative drive, but this is a much stronger novel.

While, on the evidence of this, Stross is not a Banks or a Reynolds, he is certainly ahead of Morgan or Ascherson.

Recommended, if a bit convoluted at times.
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on 24 June 2011
Great characters and suspense. Plenty of intertyning tales.
Very scary in places with a smack back to Earth history.
Great to have a femail hero in the main role,not your usual hero at all.
Basically a scared late teenager with gothic tendancies.
Enough twists and turns to keep you griped for hours.
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