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My friend Mark was kind enough to loan me his copy of Rule 34, which is the sequel to Halting State , and I managed to wrap it up earlier this week.

Man, is there ever some interesting stuff in here. Weird characters that make perfect sense in the equally weird environment of the late 21st century UK, a truly fiendish financial scheme, and a middle-aged policewoman trying to figure out WTF is going on while coping with a police bureaucracy that has been automated, webified, networked and integrated to the point where the cops almost (but not quite) can't get anything done. There's also a sly subtext about the conflict between enforcing the law and maintaining order in a future where society and its perversions are changing almost too fast for the politicians to keep up.

Anyhow, the bare bones of the plot revolve around some folks who are turning up dead in extremely embarrassing ways. They're all ex-convicts, but nobody can find any obvious connections between them...except for their increasingly paranoid would-be employer. There's also a gay Muslim Scotsman on probation who winds up with a job as the honorary consul of a Central Asian country he's never heard of, and he too is going nuts trying to figure out what the catch is - because there's GOT to be a catch, right? Throw in the sometimes hilarious, sometimes awful results of home fabber technology intersecting with pirated blueprint software, a dollop of mordant humor, and an unusual POV technique I haven't seen since the days of text adventures, and you've got a pretty decent novel, easily better than its predecessor. Recommended.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 18th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
I've got it on hold at the Seattle Public Library. I love Stross's novels and stories. I've read his Children of Saturn and a sequel to it posted on his blog earlier this year, his Laundry series, and his collection Toast. I recommend all of them highly. :-) Thank you for this review -- it just reinforces my determination to wait to get my paws on Rule 34 and read it! XD
Sep. 18th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I generally like all of Stross' novels, with the exception of Accelerando and Glasshouse.
Sep. 18th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
Those are available on the Web, or, at least, Accelerando is. :-)
Sep. 18th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
I already wasted time on both and money on one. :(
Sep. 18th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
On the book, or what?
Sep. 19th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
I bought Accelerando and checked Glasshouse out of the local library, and regretted both decisions. I think I managed to unload the former on my daughter, but it seems to have snuck back onto my shelves. :(
Sep. 19th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
Ah, well. As Theodore Sturgeon said, 85% of everything is shit, including any author's written work. Stross manages to keep it down to about 20%. I'd say that's pretty good. :-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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