Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Palimpsest, by Charles Stross

(Accidentally posted in draft form yesterday - this is the real thing.)

Second paragraph of third chapter:
"Good afternoon, honourable students."
When I first read this the year it was a Hugo finalist (2010), I wrote:
didn't really grab me I'm afraid. It is a tale of time police and overlapping universes and histories, broken up by some reflections on the evolution of the solar system presented in rather odd powerpoint format. I wasn't really convinced either by the astronomy or the mathematics of deep time, and they appeared to be the point of the story.

On the other hand, the story does get my approval for being the only one presented to Hugo voters in a format that my handheld can read without a conversion process.
I should note that despite my ranking it sixth, it actually won the award, proving once again that my tastes do not always align with those of Hugo voters. I voted for the Scalzi story, which lost by 11 votes.

Rereading it ten years on, I'm again struck by how different it is from most of the author's usual work (and usually I like Stross's work much more than Scalzi's). I think I am more sympathetic now, though. It's a real Big Picture story, packed into a few dozen pages, with a grand sweep of time-manipulating narrative but characters who are pretty human. You can get it here.

This was (I thought) my top unread book acquired in 2014 (directly from the author, I think - my copy is signed), but it turned out I had read it before. Next on that pile is Symbiont, by "Mira Grant".
Tags: bookblog 2020, writer: charles stross
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