Saturday, September 27, 2008

Accelerando by Charles Stross

A collection of closely linked novellas. The central theme of the stories is a approaching, and in the later stories, passing technological singularity. The book follows one very special family through three generations, more or less. The real central character who is a major influence (at least behind the scenes) in most of the stories is a somewhat of a surprise, and is revealed only somewhere through the halfway of the book. That character is also by far the most interesting one in the book, even though its’ significance might be hard to recognize, or even believe after a first few stories.

By definition what happens after the singularity can not be known. The stories and characters are not exactly taking part of the singularity, but rather they are close to it, or it could be said that they are riding on the wake of it. The real postsingularity beings are mainly hinted at, and it/they are something with incomprehensive motivations and actions even for main characters who are almost post singularity beings themselves, they are “evil offspring” of humanity, who are slowly - or not so slowly - dismantling the whole solar system and changing its’ total mass to the computronium, to all powerful microprocessors. The stories grow more chaotic story by story, as the speed of change increases by the passing time, and it hard, or even impossible to tell which events happen in the “real world” and which are computer simulation of the real world. However, that distinction has little meaning for story, even less for the characters in the story. There are enough ideas and new concepts for several books. The readability suffers a bit in some stories due to chaotic manner of concepts and change. However, the book is almost always entertaining and intriguing, well worth of read.

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