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Author: Charles Stross
Science fiction guru Charles Stross "sizzles with ideas" (Denver Post) in his first major short story collection. — The Hugo Award-winning author of such groundbreaking and innovative novels as Accelerando, Halting State, and Saturn's Children delivers a rich selection of speculative ficti...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780441017195
ISBN-10: 0441017193
Publication Date: 7/7/2009
Pages: 352
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.

2.9 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Ace Hardcover
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Members Wishing: 1
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reviewed Wireless on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I admit it - I'm a sucker for Stross' books. And I'll also admit that most of the stories here are available online, or in other collections. Still, its worth it to read these all in one spot and in a book. The table of contents is as follows:

Missile Gap
Rogue Farm
A Colder War
Down on the Farm
Snowball's Chance
Trunk and Disorderly

I found I enjoyed all of them, though some more than others. "Missile Gap" is always good, and there is a part of me that wants to see more of this tragedy. It involves the Earth of the Cuban missile crisis suddenly relocated to a huge disk a million years and million light years from their origin.

"Rogue Farm" is about a post-singularity England and the remaining humans and post-humans in conflict.

"A Colder War" is always chilling. And you have to wonder at the end - is Roger in the simulation spaces?

"Maxos" is a nice chuckle worthy bit of small fiction where SETI meets certain internet behaviors.

"Down on the Farm" revisits the Laundry universe and Bob is sent to inspect a very special hospital the Laundry maintains. Humor, snark and other dimensional horrors ensue. And oh yes, Dalek parodies...

"Unwirer" is a collaboration piece with Cory Doctorow (sort of like the Jury Duty series). Anyway, the premise is that the US treats the internet like drugs and puts Jack Valenti in charge of the FCC.

"Snowballs Chance" is a sneaky little favorite of mine. In it, a real shit gets one free wish from the Devil for all the misery he's created. Then it gets interesting ...

"Trunk and Disorderly" is a P.G. Wodehouse tribute, and while I liked it, I thought it suffered from Stross trying too hard with it.

"Palimpsest" is a time patrol and time travel piece. And it really needs to be a novel. It opens with Pierce as an agent candidate being sent back in time to kill his own grandfather (an anti-nepotism measure) to gain admission to the Stasis (the time patrol). The novella follows Pierce through training, trainee mission, and a time travel ambush I'm still trying to figure out. And on and on. Its neat - it has time travel logic twists, a decent character and a mystery. Plus some stellar engineering and a sensawunda. The Stasis doesn't have anything as abstract as a maintaining history in its charter, its is to preserve the human species, no matter what.

It could be better though - some more about Pierce history, the women in his life (as characters in their own right), possibly some of the stellar engineering up close from one of the people involved would be worth it. And, oh yes, some more from the folks in Stasis Internal Affairs, differing versions of the opposition and some more of the Science Empires, Engineering Republics and the reseeded humanity and ecologies that the Stasis plants.

Anyway, worth the money and the time.
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reviewed Wireless on + 907 more book reviews
Charles Stross has never given me anything that i wished i hadn't read. All the stories in one book. I loved this read. There are so many good stories here i can't even pick my favorite, but if you like Stross, grab this book and just open to one, start reading and you will be entertained for the rest of the day because you will just keep reading from one to the next, saying to yourself "just one more" Promise.