Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Scratch Monkey” as Want to Read:
Scratch Monkey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Scratch Monkey

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  248 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Oshi Adjani works for the Boss doing odd jobs, fomenting a revolution here, confronting a mass murderer there. Her field of operations is the Milky Way galaxy, and the Boss is a Superbright, one of the man-created super-intelligent artificial intelligences who regard this galaxy as their property. She has been rigorously trained, her body filled with nanotechnology that au ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 18th 2011 by New England Science Fiction Association, Incorporated (first published 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Scratch Monkey, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Scratch Monkey

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 469)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ben Babcock
I’m terrible at explaining orally what books are about. Two people, the sort of people who don’t read books like this, asked me what Scratch Monkey is about while I was reading it, and I stumbled over my reply. “It’s a far-future posthuman story featuring nanotechnology and strong AI,” I mumbled, knowing that this explanation would make no sense to them and is more an over-generalization of the setting than any useful description of plot or story. This is why I write reviews, but unlike Oshi, I ...more
Joel Finkle
I'd only recommend this to completists of Charles Stross, Post-Cyberpunk, and Dystopians. It's an early short novel (padded out with some essays on publishing from Stross's blog), and some of the writing is rough: I think an editor might have told him that characters who say "Ack" to mean "Yes" might get mistaken for Bill the Cat, and there are places where he'll use a Shiny! New! Word! several times in a couple paragraphs, probably just because he discovered it -- things that should have gotten ...more
Matt Fowle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Weems
Jun 22, 2012 Kyle Weems rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I read this right after Accelerando, another of Stross' books that deals with human society affected by the Singularity.

That one I liked.

This one...

The writing is rough, unpolished. Tenses change in a fashion that is jarring, sentences are occasionally mangled. Way less polished of a read.

Furthermore, the story is brutal and unforgiving in its grimness. Concentration camps, frequent maiming, mass extinction, radiation sickness, grotesque mutations, and lots of eye gouging. These sorts of moment
Jamie Rich
Mar 16, 2016 Jamie Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scratch Monkey by Charles Stross

What a ride!! Wowzers!! This book was originally written a couple of decades ago, by a much younger Charlie Stross that we are used to reading. But don't let that fool you! What it lacks in subtlety and smoothness, it more than makes up for in pure, raw, angst and energy.
I think it would be fair to say that this short book is really almost a mashup of three different short stories. And there is some much needed, but somewhat awkwardly handled, exposition along t
Oct 30, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
It's a bit rough (it is a never-published manuscript), but I very much liked it. The first part felt a lot like darker Banks. Not sure if that's a coincidence, but Scottish SF writers have to be a relatively low percentage of the international population.

It's an interesting conception of the future, post-singularity. Humans are absurdly capable, considering how powerless they turn out to be.
Jul 15, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of early Charles Stross
Oshi Adjani works for an inconceivably advanced artificial intelligence, doing various jobs like taking out planetary dictatorships and mass-murderers. She believes what she's doing, even though it may require some despicable actions of her own, is for the good of humanity as a whole. And it may well be, but when Oshi discovers a secret about her boss, she can't let it lie. In punishment for questioning, she's given one last dangerous assignment, one that, if she completes it, she can go free. B ...more
Sam Jones
Interesting post-Singularity story. Good concept, but could use more polish. I think it's one of his early stories, so I can forgive that.
Joe Crow
Oct 21, 2013 Joe Crow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was a downer. Try and stay away from sharp objects for a while after reading this one.
Jul 31, 2016 Cale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange book. Charles Stross usually seems to have big ideas in his novels, and this one is no different as it tackles relationships between humanity and AI's that see humanity as nothing more than ants, and then another level of AI that sees the first level as ants and humans don't even enter the picture. This is the background behind Scratch Monkey, exhibited through four loosely related long chapters recounting the major interactions of Oshi with various environments. They layout of ...more
Jul 10, 2016 MD rated it really liked it
This is a book about death, and the Singularity, and death, and space colonization, and death, and love-is-pain, and death, and the-evil-in-men's-souls, and death, and monsters (literal and figurative), and death, and mortality, and death, and insanity, and death, and moral choices, and death. A dense read with the darkest ending I've read in a very long time. When I went to sleep I dreamt of trying to rescue a young woman from a serial killer.
A.R. Davis
Feb 01, 2016 A.R. Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A grim and gruesome story of a soldier fighting for some sort of malevolent superbeing. The verbally dense description of this future world of nanotechnology, self replicating von Neumann machines, bionically enhanced super warriors, and an eternal afterlife of a digital copy of the soul in a virtual reality is almost overwhelming. However, the plot action pulls the reader on and on and on as the external scenery whizzes past.
May 14, 2014 Pants rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to rate this higher because I really enjoyed it, but it's not as polished as his other work. If I had read nothing else by Stross previous to this I probably would have rated higher.

Once again, his work is incredibly dense. I love that. Plus he never holds your hand, each book introduces some tech it never bothers to detail and you have to figure out out through context.

Also this book does the rare thing of presenting some same sex interaction completely without comment. Both parties ha
May 12, 2015 Ashryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
After reading the laundryfiles books, I had been worried that I had read all of the more speculative science novels by Stross, and as much as i enjoyed the lighthearted laundry novels, I much prefer books I can immerse myself in and believe.

I really enjoyed this book, though I am curious to know what the 'this book may offend you, if it does, don't read it' warning at the beginning was all about. I would love to see this turned into a film, though the imagery was vivid, I'd like to let someone
Davis Kingsley
Edgy isn't the same as good.
Apr 23, 2014 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I generally enjoy Stross, but this one left me cold. The main character was hard enough to understand that I didn't really end up following or caring much what happened next.
Sep 12, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy and unsettling. If that was the intention then it was technically very good, but I didn't enjoy it. Deals with a lot of the transhumanist themes stross has dealt with elsewhere but in a much less optimistic and enjoyable way. Reminds me a lot of Bank's Use of Weapons. Similar stretched out hopeless feeling ti the protagonist, and unsatisfying unsettling ending.
Aug 08, 2015 Marcos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Charles Stross put up this rough, "final" draft up on his website since he feels it's good enough for publishing, but probably will never be. The truth is that this is still in need of some revision and it shows: It's uneven and a bit of a slog sometimes, and in general not as brilliant as most of his other work. Still, it's worth a read, specially for the price ;)
Cool technology, inventive plot... but the love story and ending were absolutely incomprehensible balderdash.

Edit 1/17/2016: Bumped up the rating to three stars. Many of the ideas in the book have stuck with me deeply. The writing may be terrible, but the ideas are unique within literature I've read, and I'm definitely glad I took the time to read the book.
It was a gripping read, yet after finishing it, I don't know what to make of the story. It is well written, albeit a bit rough around some edges (unreleased book, after all), contains a number of very interesting ideas, but the end left me a bit stumped. Can't quite put my finger on it, though.

Reading it wasn't wasting time, so that's a net gain. :)
Interesting ideas, well-pace, but very dark for my tastes.
Stephen Graham
Definitely a trunk novel, dark, dystopic, confusing, lack of character motivation. Had this been the first Stross novel I read, it wouldn't have enthused me as did Singularity Sky. Nor would it have turned me off of him. Would have made it less likely that I'd buy in hardcover.
Jan 30, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not as good as Stross' later ventures into the cyberpunk/hard sci-fi genre, Scratch Monkey is definitely worth the time. The version I read had a few grammatical issues but that's to be expected considering that I don't think it ever received official publication.
Sep 09, 2012 Alec rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Overall a good read, although I'm not sure I like the ending - a bit dark for my taste here.
But some great super-high-tech ideas covered.
Jul 03, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the first page says, this book is not for the faint of heart; it is very dark and graphic at times.
Robert Bogdon
Robert Bogdon marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2016
Panagiotis Alexiou
Panagiotis Alexiou rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2016
Ive Zagorc
Ive Zagorc rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2016
Jay marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2016
Voodude marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • With A Little Help
  • Everyone in Silico
  • Maelstrom (Rifters, #2)
  • The Ware Tetralogy (Ware, #1-4)
  • Ventus
  • The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourteenth Annual Collection
  • Dark Disciple
  • The Restoration Game
  • Eden: It's an Endless World, Volume 9 (Eden: It's an Endless World, #9)
  • Catastrophe's Spell (Dance of the Gods, #1)
  • Apocalypse World
  • The Revelation Space Collection
  • The Complete Pegāna: All the Tales Pertaining to the Fabulous Realm of Pegāna
  • The Prize in the Game (Tir Tanagiri #3)
  • Star Dragon
  • Salamander
  • Best New Horror 22 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #22)
Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.

More about Charles Stross...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »