Scratch Monkey
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Scratch Monkey

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3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  180 ratings  ·  18 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)
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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
Matt Fowle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Weems
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...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
Chris
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.
Pants
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...more
Ashryn
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...more
Emily
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.
John
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.
Carlo
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. :)
netjeff
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.
Kevin Wadlow
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.
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.
Alec
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.
Cameron
Cool technology, inventive plot... but the love story and ending were absolutely incomprehensible balderdash.
Alex Hermes
Like the first page says, this book is not for the faint of heart; it is very dark and graphic at times.
Joe Crow
Well, that was a downer. Try and stay away from sharp objects for a while after reading this one.
Don
Don marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2014
Stephen
Stephen marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2014
Andrew Belanger
Andrew Belanger marked it as to-read
Jun 07, 2014
Matthikins
Matthikins marked it as to-read
May 31, 2014
Marie
Marie added it
May 28, 2014
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8794
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.

SF...more
More about Charles Stross...
Accelerando The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1) Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1) Halting State Glasshouse

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