Friday, July 4, 2014
Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross
The book happens in the same world as Saturn’s Children, which was nominated for the Hugo award in 2009. Humans are still extinct – they have been revived a few times, but as they are so very fragile when compared with cybernetic lifeforms, they haven’t been able to survive for long. It is a few thousands or tens of thousands of years later that the earlier book. The artificial lifeforms, the descendants of humans, have spread across the galaxy and they are still spreading. The forming of new colonies is extremely expensive and depends on a pyramid scheme like financing, where a new colony is able to pay of its’ debts by establishing a few new colonies. Krina Alizond is an accountant, who has a special interest in the history of accounting practices and different accounting and pyramid scams, especially something called FTL scam, where people are lead to believe that someone has invented an FTL drive. That would totally revolutionize the whole society and monetary system. She is on the way to meet her sister, Ana, but she seems to have disappeared. Krina starts to follow Ana’s trail, but that turns out to be much more eventful than a humble accountant had ever suspected. Eventually, she ends somewhere she could never have foreseen – in more than a one level.
The book is a real avalanche of ideas and events. A lot of happens and with sudden and even sometimes surreal succession. There are a lot of gags and really unexpected events. I was reminded at places of Monty Python, especially when an insurance company turned to space piracy made an appearance. In spite of that, the book is not a farce, at least not for mostly. One of more interesting and entertaining sf books I have read for some time. This will most likely be my number one choice in Hugo voting.