Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Thursday, 31 July 2003

# 1:55 AM

Coming back from this unannounced hiatus with a book review: Charles Stross's Singularity Sky. Set somewhere between five hundred and a thousand years in the future, it's a fast and fun examination of what Iain M. Banks called an "Outside Context Problem" in one of his novels. To wit, start with a culture that's deliberately frozen itself in the late nineteenth century in terms of technology (mostly), politics (entirely), etc. Have a nomadic, post-human, information-trading culture, with access to all the indistinguishable-from-magic super tech one could want, drop in on one of their colony planets. See what happens.

It suffers a bit from small but irritating continuity errors, and largely two-dimensional characters. The latter is not the disaster that it would be for some fiction, because this is very much an ideas novel. I suspect first-novel rough edges, and will be reading more of his stuff as it comes out.