Accelerando

( 22 )

Overview

The Singularity. It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.

Struggling to survive and thrive in this accelerated world are three generations of the Macx clan: Manfred, an entrepreneur dealing in intelligence ...

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Accelerando

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Overview

The Singularity. It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.

Struggling to survive and thrive in this accelerated world are three generations of the Macx clan: Manfred, an entrepreneur dealing in intelligence amplification technology whose mind is divided between his physical environment and the Internet; his daughter, Amber, on the run from her domineering mother, seeking her fortune in the outer system as an indentured astronaut; and Sirhan, Amber’s son, who finds his destiny linked to the fate of all of humanity.

For something is systematically dismantling the nine planets of the solar system. Something beyond human comprehension. Something that has no use for biological life in any form...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stross (Singularity Sky) explores humanity's inability to cope with molecular nanotechnology run amok in this teeming near-future SF stand-alone. In part one, "Slow Takeoff," "free enterprise broker" Manfred Macx and his soon-to-be-estranged wife/dominatrix, Pamela, lay the foundation for the next decade's transhumans. In "Point of Inflection," Amber, their punky maladjusted teenage daughter, and Sadeq Khurasani, a Muslim judge, engineer and scholar, try to escape the social chaos that antiaging treatments have wreaked on Earth by riding a tin can-sized starship via nanocomputerization to a brown dwarf star called Hyundai. The Wunch, trade-delegation aliens evolved from uploaded lobster mentalities, and Macx's grandson, Sirhan, roister through "Singularity," in which people become cybernetic constructs. Stross's three-generation experiment in stream-of-artificial-consciousness impresses, but his flat characters and inchoate rapid-fire explosions of often muzzily related ideas, theories, opinions and nightmares too often resemble intellectual pyrotechnics-breathtakingly gaudy but too brief, leaving connections lost somewhere in outer/inner/cyber space. Agent, Caitlin Blasdell. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Manfred Macx, a 21st-century intelligence amplification entrepreneur, lives partly in the physical world and partly in the virtual world of artificial intelligences, the Internet, biotechnology, and molecular nanotechnology. His 12-year-old daughter Amber, who seeks independence from her controlling mother, indentures herself to a company aiming to extract a fortune from the resources of Jupiter. Decades later, Amber's son Sirhan, a victim of multiple virtual childhoods, researches his dysfunctional family and uncovers a sinister new life form that threatens the continuation of biological life in the universe. Expanding on his award-winning short story cycle that appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, Stross (Singularity Sky) reveals a vision of the future that encompasses and expands on the newest technologies and explores the possibilities of humanity's future. Joining the ranks of William Gibson (Neuromancer), Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash), and Bruce Sterling (Schismatrix), Stross fuses ideas and characters with cheerful abandon and creates a high-tech galactic adventure that belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A fix-up novel linking together Stross's innovative "Lobsters" stories. Stross (The Hidden Family, 2005, etc.) begins his story in the second decade of this century, just on the verge of the Singularity-the emergence of artificial intelligences superior to humankind. Manfred Macx, central figure of the first three stories, is an electronic entrepreneur, reinventing economics on the fly to exploit the potential of amplified human intelligence. His major struggle is staying one step ahead of his ex-wife, Pamela, an accountant who pursues him around the world with a huge bill for back taxes. A brief reunion results in the birth of a daughter, Amber, who uploads herself into a computer program to go on an expedition to a nearby star, where alien intelligence has been detected. The aliens turn out to be small-time (but highly advanced) con artists, preying on naive beings who fall for their crooked economic schemes. But her real discovery is the inevitable byproduct of the Singularity, the emergence of computronium, microscopic artificial intelligences who surround their star and convert all extraneous mass into further copies of themselves. Upon her return to the solar system, Amber encounters her son Sirhan, the offspring of an alternate version of herself and the cleric sent by Pamela to undermine her father's plans to insure her freedom. The last three stories reunite the entire family, including Aineko, Manfred's cyborg cat, now working to escape the solar system while there's still time. Stross spins this generational saga with great wit and energy, throwing in references to a huge range of literary and cultural material, an even more exhilarating mix in novel form than in theseparately-published stories. Stross also manages to make economics seem almost as cool as the runaway cybernetic revolution that serves as background to the story. Cutting-edge science fiction from the brightest star in the new British invasion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441014156
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/27/2006
  • Series: Singularity Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 348,478
  • Product dimensions: 4.42 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2010

    An Odd Novel...

    This was an odd novel... It clearly shows its roots as a series of connected short stories; each of the first three chapters especially --- they all have a clear narrative arc with satisfying conclusions when they finish. It isn't until later in the book that things start to actually look like a novel.

    The book also has an odd metamorphosis, as the narrative starts in the near future and then moves along to post-singularity humanity. Kind of by definition, that means that I can relate to the people in the start of the book, but by the end there's so much hand-waving about how things work, that that ability to relate has faded significantly. It wound up giving me an odd response at the end of the book: while I was still very interested in the story, I really wanted it to hurry up and end!

    Ultimately, it was a good read, and I think Stross actually did a good job extrapolating out what the future might hold, even if it is mostly hand-waving. He makes interesting characters (for the most part), and kept finding ways to keep his humans puzzling out their issues.

    It wasn't my favorite Stross book, but it was solid. 4/5 stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Stross has written the singular most explosive work of his career

    On the dawn of the new millennium, technology has outpaced humanity¿s ability to keep up with it. Implants plug humans into the internet at all times. Artificial Intelligences have become smarter than its creators and people upload themselves into the neural net leaving their bodies behind. People can replicate themselves and live on two different time tracks and the ability to contact alien species is just a heartbeat away................ The three generations of the Macx clan have done their best to adjust to a brave new world. Manfred is working tirelessly to get the franchise for uploaded minds while his daughter Amber has sold herself into indentured servitude to get away from her mother who wants her to follow in her footsteps as an unaugmented human. Sirhan, the product of another Amber who didn¿t go through the wormhole has brought the family together from various incarnations to help them make the history museum on Saturn a reflection of the history of the humans. The Macx family also must find away to pull away from whatever is dismantling the solar system to create a Matrioshke brain that is clearly more brilliant than humans in all their various forms................... This novel has appeared as short stories in Asimov¿s Science Fiction magazine from 2001-2005. Each story has been extended with its own chapter in a seamless plot. The individual members of the Macx family and those who came into their orbit show three generations of technological change and how it affects society. All three Macx characters are fully developed and have their own distinct personalities but when they come together they are a force to be reckoned with. Charles Stross has written the singular most explosive work of his career.................. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Took a few read throughs, but this has become my favorite Stross

    Took a few read throughs, but this has become my favorite Stross book. 

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    Not really recommended

    I bought it as I like cyber punk, having cut my teeth on William Gibson, and was disappointed in the writing to the point that I cannot finish the book. The industries and premise are so blown out they don't resemble any extension of science and the sex and marriage aspect is pretty disgusting. I'm not a prude, but you have to draw a line somewhere. The only thing remotely interesting were the lobsters. Says a lot.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Ambitious and strange

    Sirt of a romp thru rapidly evolving technology as witnessed by multiple generations of a family Got me started on Stross

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  • Posted October 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    thought provoking futurist sci-fi, a great read

    As a long time reader of science fiction of many genres, I was really surprised and delighted by this, my first novel by Charles Stross (I now plan to read many more). It is set in a future world where nanotechnology has made it possible to create physical goods of any kind at no cost. What a great boon to mankind, to be able to conjure up any physical item desired. But, as you might guess, this comes at a price - the nanotechnology is self-creating its own intelligence, which then competes with humans for dominance of the galaxy. A thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable read.

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