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October Books 6) Accelerando

6) Accelerando, by autopope

The complete sequence of nine stories in Charles Stross's series about the Singularity And After originally published in Asimov's. As a diligent reader of Hugo-nominees, I had in fact read four of these nine stories before - "Lobsters", "Halo", "Nightfall" and "Elector", respectively nominated for Hugo awards in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and being stories #1, #4, #6 and #8 in the sequence. Now we have all nine together between one set of covers, mildly revised and tightened up (so the author assures us). As I've said in previous reviews (linked to by year of nomination), I found them so full of ideas that they were a little difficult for me to absorb. Having them all together as a unit does help.

A few things jump out at me that didn't hit me on first reading. First of all, family is very important; the three generations of Manfred -> Amber -> Sirhan are faintly reminiscent of Abraham -> Isaac -> Jacob. Big differences too, obviously, but the "founding family" myth is there. Second, Charlie's language at his best is reminiscent of early Zelazny at his best. I've recently been reading Samuel R Delany's essay on Zelazny and Disch, and it's sort of weird - people were saying about RZ forty years ago what they say about CS today. And finally, I have realised that, of course, the "EU politician" mentioned in "Elector" is in fact Gianni from the previous stories, not (as I had bemusedly surmised) a completely new character meant to be in some way satirical.

Anyway, good stuff, headed for a decent result in next year's Hugo ballot I expect...

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 16th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
I found Accelerando to be very reminisant of heinlen's future history stuff.... If heinlein had been into the singularity, and computers, instead of tin cans in space, and liberterianism, he might have written something like Accelerando.

Perhaps it's just the format, but the "big man of history" , and family legacy bit struck me as very Lazerus Long-esq.

don't get me wrong... I think this is a good thing... Heinlein had many faults as a writer, but he was a damn good story teller, as is Charles.

del_c
Oct. 16th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
The family isn't all that big in the scheme of things, really. It amounts to Amber being briefly important in the solar system for a little while. Manfred and Sirhan would be mainly famous for being the father and son of the Queen of that place around Jupiter in the mid-21st century.
nwhyte
Oct. 17th, 2005 05:26 am (UTC)
Hmm, in the Biblical narrative, the Egyptians and Sumerians would have said much the same of the patriarchs I mentioned! (If they had even heard of them.)
del_c
Oct. 17th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
Well, that's why the biblical folks aren't big men in history: we're usually delighted if we can even confirm they ever existed!

What Anonymous was alluding to was those books that try to combine the "family chronicle" genre with the "pivotal figure in history" genre, and have successive members of one family moving everything around, without any obvious reason such as hereditary kingship.

But it's not something I think Accelerando is guilty of: the Macxes are moved more often than they're moving. We wouldn't complain that The Forsyte Saga was about a family, would we?
coalescent
Oct. 16th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
What book is Delany's essay in? It sounds interesting. I'm assuming it's too much to hope that it's online ...
nwhyte
Oct. 16th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
It's in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. If you're very lucky, I may be able to pass it on to you somehow when I've finished with it...
sammywol
Oct. 16th, 2005 10:20 pm (UTC)
I like the Wunch - even before I worked out the rhyming slang angle. 'Vile Offspring' may well become a household catch-phrase - so expressive.
(Deleted comment)
nwhyte
Oct. 14th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
It's always a good time to reread Zelazny short stories!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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