Thursday, September 5, 2013

Neptune's Brood

I've been a big fan of Charles Stross since I first read Accelerando years ago. I got my hands on this one the day it was released (ebooks ship quickly) - it's a followup to Saturn's Children, set some number of thousands of years into the future, in a posthuman universe that is being gradually colonized by the successors of Humanity.

More than any Sci-Fi author I've read, Stross is fascinated by economics. This thread in his fiction seems to be becoming stronger over the years, though it has always been there, and played an important part in Accelerando. In Neptune's Brood, the protagonist is a banker - specifically, a historian of accounting practices. The gradual colonization of space is drive by economics, not by any sense of manifest destiny or adventurous spirit or greater good of humanity. The novel is, in the end, a accountancy detective thriller set in the far future, rather than a classic space opera. Stross throws in a lot of ideas about how interstellar colonization will work in a universe governed strictly be the speed of light and laws of physics as we know them, and a few of them are quite fascinating. A few of them seem to be of more interest to Stross than to this reader, though.

I wasn't left as impressed with Neptune's Brood as I was by Saturn's Children or Accelerando, but it was still a worthwhile read.

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