wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Speaking of things not to everyone's taste...

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.
Tags: books, shameless capitalism
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