Accelerando

Accelerando

by Charles Stross

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441014156
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Series: Singularity Series , #3
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 329,811
Product dimensions: 4.42(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A cornucopia of notions and neat writing.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Makes hallucinogens obsolete.”—Cory Doctorow

“Stross sizzles with ideas…whimsical and funny as well as challenging and thoughtful.”
The Denver Post

“Like Bruce Sterling or William Gibson at their best, Stross surfs a wave of ideas and information that seems always on the brink of collapsing into incomprehensibility, but never does—a careening plunge through strangeness in which every page contains something to mess with your head.”—SF Site

Customer Reviews

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Accelerando 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
SteveTheDM More than 1 year ago
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.
EngineerDave More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Uffer on LibraryThing 7 months ago
If you're looking for a book to unwind with, you may want to keep looking. Accelerando is dense with new and strange concepts, scattered across paragraphs in passing like confetti, and, for the most part, you aren't getting any kind of explanation of what they are or how or why. For the bits where you really need to understand what's going on to follow the plot, you get /just/ enough explanation to bluff your way through if you stretch a bit, but you may be at risk of a small bout of future-shock of your own, anyway. (This does appear to be more or less intentional though, so just sit back and enjoy the side-effects.)I enjoyed it, though. The plot is a little bit bumpy in a couple of spots - the book is apparently a number of shorter stories bolted together and tightened up until they squeak - but it's about as far-reaching as it gets, arcing from near-present to beyond singularity, each thing building on the previous in a logical enough way that soon enough adds up to a post-singularity Frankenstein, and it's going to take more than a mob with pitchforks and torches to sort this one out.Well worth the time and effort.
m.a.harding on LibraryThing 7 months ago
the best review I have seen is 'exploding ideas factory'. educational and bloody fun
lewispike on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is really short stories tied together by characters. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I loved it. Lots of things like where Web 2.0 will take us explored in an interesting way.
defrog on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is what I end up reading when Warren Ellis namedrops someone. Stross is Ellis¿ kind of palooka: a twisted imagination and lyrical prose rooted in science so hard you practically need a degree in it to keep up. Stross has at least two degrees and it shows, what with about 40 scientific/IT tech buzzwords hurled at you per paragraph. Beyond that it¿s basically a generational family feud story covering the 21st century. In terms of tracking how IT will transform the world, the solar system and humans, it¿s pretty thorough, with theories on post-capitalist Democracy 2.0 and everything. Impressive, but so much hard work I was glad to be done with it.
emed0s on LibraryThing 7 months ago
For the first hundred pages I thought the writer, instead of writing himself, had just developed a computer program that took random text snippets from Slashdot discussions and mixed them to generate some kind of literary nonsense. Cause the book is no more than a lot of technobabbling mixed with some explicit sex passages.The last 300 pages are more technology chatter but now said chatter comes straight, and raw, from the writer's imagination and it gets worse and worse, think miniaturization plus space travel, as he seems not to know where he wants to take the story.If anything the books explores a little bit into the post-scarcity economics issue, but that doesn't make the book as a whole any better.
mensenkinderen on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Not a fan of this novel. Although there are some very interesting ideas in this novel, the narrative ultimate lacks a certain cohesion due to the fact that the novel is made up of separate stories. The excessive technobabble doesn't help either. In spite of this, I still might try Glasshouse or one of his later novels one day.
danahlongley on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Amazing and heady cyberpunk!
robertweaver on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was a free online version but still enjoyable.
lucasmcgregor on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow! I have never had a single book make me feel so uncomfortable and unsure of the future. It was like having futureshock in text form. The characters and ideas were compelling. Simple things like dating things in second and mere decades really had an impact. It was both space opera and down to earth. This book stands unique in my collection. I am very excited to spread the word to others.
etimme on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is so densely packed with ideas that it's hard to move, and also a bit hard to find a place to start talking about why I enjoyed the story. Stross starts in our today, but very quickly moves to our tomorrow in an organic way. I think his way of storytelling across 3 generations is effective, as is his use of the backdrop to frame a discussion about the ideas of self identity and rights progressing with technology and time is equally so.As ever, the author pokes fun at the absurdity of some of our present in a fun and overstated way (turning the IRS into debt collectors, US outsourcing intelligence and becoming irrelevant, selling the RIAA to literal knee-breaking gangsters, sex in a world that can't be shocked).There was a ton to love about this book, and the only thing I didn't was the rushed ending. It would be hard to recommend this to anyone but Stephenson/Gibson geeks, but I think they would all love it.
grizzly.anderson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Accelerando is the story of the transition of humanity through the Singularity as told from the perspective of one family and their AI robot cat. In fact the book has three parts and they might as well be three different stories. There is only minimal need to have read the previous parts to follow the later ones, and I felt they actually decreased in quality.The first part details the relatively near future in which Manfred Macx, itinerant genius, economic iconoclast and futurist wanders Europe avoiding his ex-fiance/dominatrix and the IRS and giving away at least one hugely profitable idea a day. In fact, the IRS and the dominatrix ex are pretty much the same thing (I don't think anyone has ever accused Stross of having a subtle sense of humor). Along the way Manfred helps set a bunch of spiny lobsters with bad Russian accents, the first intelligences to be mapped and uploaded to the 'net, escape to their own little colony in space. He encounters an emergent group-mind and helps pave the way for rights for uploaded and/or dead persons. The story of how Manfred escapes the clutches of his ex and tries to found a bright future of plenty for all by subverting conventional capitalism is entertaining and well paced.The second story takes place some time later as Manfred's daughter, Amber, whom he's never met escapes from the dominatrix mother with Manfred's indirect help. She takes the family AI/Cat to Jupiter with her where she has a run-in with Islamic law, establishes her own empire, uploads a copy of herself, her friends, her cat, and her spiritual adviser into a super-powerful computer the size of a hefty book and uses a solar sail to head out to a point in space where they believe an interstellar internet has established a local router. Meanwhile back on and around Earth sentient corporations, contracts and other abstract business concepts have taken over the every growing computing power of the impeding/just past Singularity and are making the Solar System an ever more hostile place to be merely post-human. Stross's take on what comes after unlimited computing power becomes ubiquitous and new social-economic rules take over is imaginative and interesting.The third part concerns events after the return of Amber and the other the light-sail voyagers to Saturn to an out-of-control hostile economic system and the complete division of "people" into the trans-human software AI/concepts/beings and post-human refugees. Amber-the-traveling-copy's original (now dead) had a child and he, in turn, had a son which turns out to be a cloned sort-of-reincarnation of Manfred. A reunion of the family ensues. The third part is constantly interrupted by rather odd bits of back ground, characters delivering information, and then re-delivering it mere pages later, personality quirks and multiple deus ex machina that make it difficult at best to follow and not all that entertaining. Stross's entire treatment of what comes "after" the Singularity is rather unsatisfying, as if he couldn't conceive of it himself, so he just mixed up as much random stuff as possible hoping that the reader won't notice.
jdrisko on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An idea rich set of stories. Strongly techno sci-fi with a long term view. Some complain its too long or disjointed - I did not find the book this way. It requires imagination and flexibility but the core stories are quite clear and all have good character development and lots of humor. Dense but rich, provocative. The ending - in a work that goes to the far future, is ambiguous but I have yet to read any that works well. C'est la vie. Worth the price of admission if you are curious and enjoy running with great ideas.
reading_fox on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Weird. Written over a few years as short stories, this is the compiled novel version, all featuring the same characters at various points along their timespan.The basic premise is that of an accellerated society with increasing computer imput, until most people are running solely as AI simulations of themselves. The story follows one family through about 6 decades of "real" time, in various locales through the solar sytem. Manfred is a bit of shyster - dreaming up schemes and ways around problems. But even he gets stuck keeping up with the new artifical conciousnesses of Economics 2.0Very very fast paced, you really have to think about what's happened in the changing timeframes. Not exactly likely to occur to us, but it does provide some interesting insight into potential problems of the future. I was impressed with his solution to the Fermi Paradox, although I'm not sure the informational density figures were calculated rather than guessed. Being comprised of short stories the characterisation is pretty poor.Overal it' sa bit too long really, as the point had been made by the third or fourth short story. Fun in a zany kind of way.
PortiaLong on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Strong win! One of the best new books I have read in a while. I wasn't overly impressed with Singularity Sky but Stross has obviously found his stride.Warning: I wouldn't recommend this book as someone's fist SF read, as with many genre works the standard tropes are assumed. But if you liked William Gibson and Vernor Vinge then jump right in...
jshrop on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow, what a mind blowing book! I want to say pioneering, but I'm not sure if that's really the word, I think mind blowing is better. Stross has taken the idea of a post-singularity world and run with it to the nearest black hole! The number of awesome concepts and themes developed, thrown at us, re-mixxed, and thrown at us again is mind bottling! (Blades of Glory anyone?) The story centers around the tipping point in human history where people's concsiences are uploaded and run on the increasingly large scale of computing power created out of all the dead matter in the universe. Entire planets are dismantled to create processors to run the collective of what was once mankind. Schisms develop between humans who don't want to be uploaded, the next generation of post-humans who have never known a physical body, explorers (and explorer copies), and weird outer planet colonists. This novel has the hardest concepts to try and distill in a few hundred words, bottom line is: Read Accelerando. It is science fiction at it's best, it's most confusing, it's funniest, this novel has it all!
lawecon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When reading Stross one sometimes wonders if he is writing serious fiction or is engaged in some sort of elaborate spoof. This volume favors the spoof hypothesis. Up to about half way through there is an excellent plot, entertaining, and with a presentation of some interesting ideas. After that, the plot becomes convoluted, labored and approaches the essence of boredom. The ending is, well, it just isn't there. The reader has been wondering for some time: "Gee, isn't it about time that this was over?" And then, all at once, and with little warning, the author must have agreed.Very disappointing performance. One of the earlier reviewers comments that this volume is a compilation of previous short stories strung together.. If so, the author should have used stronger twine. Maybe he had a deadline to meet?
JulesJones on LibraryThing 8 months ago
[2006-12-17] Fixup novel about the Singularity and its aftermath. Three generations of the Macx family deal with the consequences of ever-accelerating technological change. Enormous fun, and stuffed with ideas, but *so* stuffed with ideas that you need your wits about you when reading it.Note to self -- stop doing first-time reads of Charlie's books on long haul flights, they interact strangely with jet lag. And the Laundryverse will probably *really* not mix well with jet lag...Fixup novel about the Singularity and its aftermath. Three generations of the Macx family deal with the consequences of ever-accelerating technological change. Enormous fun, and stuffed with ideas, but *so* stuffed with ideas that you need your wits about you when reading it.Note to self -- stop doing first-time reads of Charlie's books on long haul flights, they interact strangely with jet lag. And the Laundryverse will probably *really* not mix well with jet lag...
shawjonathan on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Accelerando combines science of the brain, economic theory, any amount of hardware, and aliens. It's post-Internet and post-Neuromancer, and moves so fast and so far and so strangely that it's main pleasure for me, not an inconsiderable pleasure, was the constant sense that it was going to spin out past the point where I could follow what was happening to its increasingly post-human world, and the thrill of feeling that I was almost keeping up. I just read that Charles Stross's previous book, Glasshouse, is one of the twenty science fiction novels that will change your life. It must be a humdinger if it's better than this, because this one certainly presents a future, or a range of futures, that are way beyond plausible or likely, and I would have thought until now way beyond imaginable. Like Neal Stephenson at his most exuberant, the book teems with ideas and inventions that seem to be generated and squandered for the sheer thrill of invention. (It does have a plot as well, and a satisfactory romantic thread or two.)
atticusjame6 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
All in all, this is a book i don't regret reading, though it's clunky, overdone, and seems to be written in a computer code. Read it for its treatment of technology, and for its hope, not for the more rarefied aspects of fiction.
tcgardner on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wow! Computers are becoming more intelligent all the time and the rate of gaining intelligence is increasing. This is a great book. Fast paced, modern writing without offending, and just a gripping story.If you read any Charles Stross this has to be the book.Highly recommended!
KromesTomes on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was an exquisitely mediocre book, featuring just enough suspense and philosophizing to keep things moving, although without much in the way of originality.The book uses the ¿lives¿ of three ¿generations¿ of the Macx family as the frame from which it hangs a story of humankind¿s future. I have to resort to quote marks back there because the book posits that technology will soon allow people to essentially be uploaded into and ¿live¿ in virtual environments, split off into different ¿copies¿ when needed and downloaded back into new bodies, among other things.The basic plot focuses on the people who avail themselves of this technology but still try to maintain some kind of essence of what it means to be human, as opposed to the fully ¿posthuman¿ entities that ¿live¿ entirely within technologically created digital environments. Things eventually turns into a case of irreconcilable differences, and the ¿real¿ humans look for ways to leave the solar system and avoid disassembled by the posthumans for use as dumb matter in building their (the posthumans¿) structures.There¿s some alien interaction, too, which gives the ¿real¿ humans insight into their predicament.But, especially considering the book was 400+ pages long, there just wasn¿t much new. It was like reading an older, shallower, blander William Gibson novel, albeit one that extrapolates much farther into the future than Gibson usually takes things. And, to be fair, I think it¿s the time scale of Stross¿ book that prevents him from creating characters as strong as Gibson¿s. Also, the whole ¿uploading people¿ meme has been around at least since Frederick Pohl¿s Heechee series.And making a key character a Muslim religious scholar struck me as pandering a bit to the times, as well as a recycling of a semi-common trope in sci-fi: having a non-judeo-christian character attempt to integrate his/her religion into the new technology and vice-versa, all in a way that¿s supposed to bring a new viewpoint to all of us materialistic Westerners. Somehow, these characters always end up getting better treatment than would a similarly religious man/woman with a J/C background.My final nit to pick: Most of the book seems to support a wider concept of what it means to be human, or at least sentient, in terms of rights, duties, etc. Except in a couple of key places: For example, one of the characters has ¿copied¿ herself in such a way that one of her goes exploring interstellar space while another remains behind. When years pass and the space voyager comes back to find the home copy dead, she finds herself legally responsible for the home copy¿s legal liabilities.And, at the very end of the book, a character faces what should be a very difficult moral problem: Should he let another character, not human and much more technologically advanced, ¿run off¿ a copy of himself for experimental purposes, knowing that, for plot reasons, the copy will be killed at the end of the experiment. The ¿human¿ character blithely agrees, with very minor qualms about the situation.Bottom line: A perfectly readable book that doesn¿t quite have enough breadth to make up for what it¿s missing in depth.
andreas.wpv on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Nice ideas, way too long, I quit without finishing. Not at all to compare with hidden family or halting state.