Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
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Iron Sunrise follows on from Singularity Sky but is a completely separate story. The same characters are there, Rachel, Martin and the Eschaton – a godlike post singularity AI – but the mystery they are investigating is completely different. An entire planet has been destroyed along with all of its inhabitants by forcing its sun to go supernova. The only survivors are those who were off planet at the time and the occupants of a distant space station evacuated just before the shockwave reaches it several years later. Wednesday, a young rebellious gothic teenager, may be the only witness to evidence leading to the culprits.

The story was good as was the hard science but once again I find Stross struggles to present the everyday aspects of his characters believably. I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, even Martin and Rachel who I had liked in the previous book (despite their clumsily handled romance) were this time just annoying and overly melodramatic in their reactions to events, and Wednesday who sometimes behaves like a twelve-year-old and sometimes like and adult, just grew more irritating as the book went on. It’s a shame because, as I said, the other aspects of the book were good (as they were in Singularity Sky). These two book were early offerings from Stross and maybe that’s all there is to it, his later works do not seem to suffer in quite the same way although I did give up on the Merchant Princes series (another of his earlier works) for not dissimilar reasons. I notice that the ending left an obvious dangling thread for a sequel but thirteen years on the absence of that sequel suggests that Stross (maybe wisely) has decided to move on.

A good story let down by bad two dimensional characterisation. Mediocre at best.

3/5 stars.
 

vanye

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Mar 18, 2012
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Hm. I remember reading the book and being a bit disappointed because it was a bit of a letdown after Singularity Sky, which I loved. But apart from that I cannot remember anything of the story, so I reckon your review is spot-on.
 
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