Thursday, February 9, 2012

Accelerando, by Charles Stross

Accelerando is a "fix-up" novel, I guess meaning it's assembled from short stories and novellas, because that is what it is.  I came across this while reading the award winners from 2000-2005 on Free SF Online.  Several of its components have been nominated for awards: "Lobsters", "Halo", "Nightfall", "Elector".  And when I went to read them, I found that the novel was actually pretty seamless, so decided to read the whole thing.

And it was quite a commitment--bloody LONG, it seemed like, especially being densely packed with near future/singularity jargon almost impossible to avoid in describing it.  Obviously a labor of love, also, taking him five years to put together.  It is on the whole a fairly entertaining period piece, kind of a William Gibson satire or parody, careening off the edge of weird.  It just does manage to make sense all the way through, which I am sure was a tremendous challenge.  Did I say it was long?  Three weeks to read it!  Not counting the Firefly interlude, even.  So it's an interesting speculation on what would happen if change just kept accelerating.  Good thing it isn't.  Change just doesn't work that way, it differentially penetrates and our poor meatminds hold it back, which is on the whole a good thing, as long as they hold out.  After all, once our computers start to program themselves (see a recent Dilbert, am too lazy to get the link) it's all over.  3 stars.

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