Stross: How is his newer work?

Salvelinus

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I see Stross is nominated for a hugo yet again with his latest novel.

The only work I've read by him was "Singularity Sky" and was extremely disappointed after reading all the raving reviews. His characters were poorly developed and uninteresting. The plotline was slow and predictable. The battle scenes and miliatry drama were a chore to read through. The social commentary was cliched (yes, we all agree, opression of the proletariat = bad). Finally, his complicated scientific ideas are explained poorly in most instances. True masters of sci-fi, such as Clarke are able to explain the science behind thier fiction with extreme clarity and without resorting to lay terminology that alienates their audience. Stross was definitely inconsistant at best in this regard.
Nevertheless, the book had many incredibly original, fantastic ideas in it with some occasional beautifully articulated descriptions of a far-future galaxy.

I know he's been quite prolific since this debut novel. Has his writing improved? I'd like to give him another shot, but not if he's writing in the same way. Anyone read his more recent stuff like Glasshouse and Halting State?
 

easygoingman

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Hi there

I've read a few novels by Charle's Stross and will tell you what I think.
I didn't enjoy 'Singularity Sky' either. Very disjointed and not worth re reading sums up my experience of it.
However 'Glasshouse' is quite another story. Excellent even. I don't want to ruin what it's about other than it's science fiction set in the future. Well worth reading.

For a fun combination of James Bond, Buffy and H P Lovecraft fantasy then 'The Atrocity Archives' is well worth a read as well but the sequel didn't work for me - some excellent parts but over long and I gave in.

I haven't read 'Halting State' so can't comment on that
 

Salvelinus

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Thanks for the reply, I've been reading some other reviews and it sounds like "Glasshouse" is indeed the most promising. I think I saw a copy at the used book store down the street last week. Looks like I'm going for a walk ;)
 

Omphalos

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I think he is hit or miss. I personally loved Missile Gap, but dont like much of his longer work. Though I am interested in his upcoming novel about an AI in a universe where all the humans have moved on or died.
 

Ian Whates

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Not only that, Omphalos, but in the novel you're talking about, Saturn's Children, the central character is a sex-slave android whose sole purpose is to provide sexual pleasure to humans, but who is 'born' into a universe where humanity has just gone extinct.

Charlie has lots of other twists and bits lined-up in the book, which is a deliberate pastiche/homage/disassembling of Heinleinian SF. Can't wait!

I think the idea that his work is uneven is principally because it covers so many bases, from the high-tech space opera of Singularity Sky, to the Amber-like Zelazny-esque surrealism of the Merchant Princes series, to the humorous future-spy Laundry books and the profound SF of Accelarando. Charlie turns his hand to it all, and don't forget that his last novel, the near future techno-thriller Halting States missed the NYTimes Best Seller List by one place.

It's hard to knock a genre author shifting enough copies to do that! :)
 

Connavar

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For a fun combination of James Bond, Buffy and H P Lovecraft fantasy then 'The Atrocity Archives' is well worth a read as well but the sequel didn't work for me - some excellent parts but over long and I gave in.

It does sound interesting. Is the setting in 1940's and not in the future ?

The story gets SF like with the alternate Universe?
 

Ursa major

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I thought that The Atrocity Archives and most of The Jennifer Morgue were set in the present day. So yes, Connavar, it's the "environment" of the stories that's different to our own world.
 

Omphalos

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Not only that, Omphalos, but in the novel you're talking about, Saturn's Children, the central character is a sex-slave android whose sole purpose is to provide sexual pleasure to humans, but who is 'born' into a universe where humanity has just gone extinct.
That's the one, Ian. It just sounds great to me, but Lord, I hope they come up with a different cover, because this one:




Is just awful!
 

GOLLUM

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Hey, speak for yourself!...;)

No but seriously I wasn't impressed with any Stross novel including Singularity Sky or Glasshouse. I just found his stories boring, not particularly visionary and the characters unegaging...
 

easygoingman

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I thought that The Atrocity Archives and most of The Jennifer Morgue were set in the present day. So yes, Connavar, it's the "environment" of the stories that's different to our own world.
That's right I think. I can't honestly remember if it's a parallel universe or not but these two stories are set in the same time as virtually now.

A Colder War and 'Missile Gap' were the two short novellas that first attracted me to his writing.

here's a link to one for free:

A Colder War - a novelette by Charles Stross
 

Omphalos

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Here is a link to Missile Gap, another story by Stross. I wrote Stross about this one to ask a few questions, and we struck up a conversation about his writing. He told me that writing this one creeped him out so much that he vowed never to go back to this universe again. I think that is the right choice, as more detail would probably muck up the absolute magic of this story. Enjoy!

http://subterraneanpress.com/index.php/magazine/spring2007/fiction-missile-gap-by-charles-stross/
 

vurtomatic

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Just saw Halting State on the shelves and he has another one coming out already?

I liked The Atrocity Archives and Accelerando, and I'm looking forward to Halting State. But his earlier lauded books didn't grab me when I flipped through them, so I never got around to them.
 
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