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Accelerando (Singularity)

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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  15,581 Ratings  ·  957 Reviews
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 a
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Mass Market Paperback, 415 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Ace (first published July 5th 2005)
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Irishlazz I'm slogging through an audio version from my Library... it reminds me a lot of some not-so-great sci-fi written in the 70's. I keep wishing One Click…moreI'm slogging through an audio version from my Library... it reminds me a lot of some not-so-great sci-fi written in the 70's. I keep wishing One Click Digital had fast play-speed options. If I were reading, not listening I'd have quit too, I think.

Even as an audio I found it too tedious to keep going. None of the characters is well developed or likable enough to care what happens to them next. I will wonder what happened to the spiny lobsters.(less)
SeekHplus No, while the first part does touch somewhat on the near future of the internet and its influence on society, the real focus of the novel is the…moreNo, while the first part does touch somewhat on the near future of the internet and its influence on society, the real focus of the novel is the concept of a technological singularity, from the point of view of a few individuals.(less)

Community Reviews

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Scott
Oct 17, 2009 Scott rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi
OK, let's start with the fact that the book jacket compared Charles Stross's writing with William Gibson and Neal Stephenson at their best.

As a reader who has a serious crush on Stephenson's writing, I instantly had an expectation was set up in my mind, as you can imagine.

However, this novel was thoroughly disappointing. I like hard SF and cyberpunk that explores social mores and the impacts of technology and science upon society. And can do so with humor (or irony). The science was so outlandis
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Adam
Sep 06, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
Acclerando is Stross’s most frustrating, annoying, idea-packed, difficult, dense, and arguably best novel. Can feel like taking a crash course in astro-physics, computer science, economics, sociology, while reading a dozen blogs, Bruce Sterling’s “Deep Eddy Stories” and Shismatrix , and cliff notes of science fiction’s back pages. But once you get over the buzz of the overload it is a hauntingly odd story of a dysfunctional family in a world of increasingly weird technology and its implications. ...more
Megan Baxter
Aug 06, 2013 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
I am trying so hard, but I still haven't read a Charles Stross I like as much as I like his twitter feed, and that makes me frustrated. I want to fall in love with his books! This gets closer than the two I've previously read, but not quite there. It's a good book, but I'm still a little on the fence.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entir
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Apatt
Nov 19, 2012 Apatt rated it liked it
I finally understand why Charles Stross is so popular even though I often find his fiction borderline unreadable. I think he writes for a tech savvy readership and they love him for it. It's great when an author gives you credit for intelligence and understanding and never talk down to you. However, while I know my way around Windows and Android phones I don't consider myself tech savvy, certainly my understanding of programming is minimal. A lot of what Stross puts in his fiction goes right ove ...more
Nostalgebraist
Oct 25, 2013 Nostalgebraist rated it it was ok
Can Hype Machines Think?

Stopped at p. 289. This book has been haunting me for months, and it isn't even that long. The idea of finishing it began to seem like a chore several weeks ago, and at some point I realized that at my steadily decelarating (ha!) reading pace it would haunt me for months more if I didn't just stop.

This is clearly supposed to be a fun, bubbly, readable book. What turned it into such an albatross?

I guess the problem is a fundamental difference between my worldview and the w
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Morgan McGuire
Aug 29, 2010 Morgan McGuire rated it did not like it
Many people recommended this highly to me. I found that the plot and ideas, as summarized on Wikipedia, were brilliant and mind-expanding.

The writing of the book was intolerable. I couldn't get past page 20. It was like reading Wired Magazine--Stross drops every current technology name and buzzword, apparently without a deep enough understanding to know which might have staying power 15 minutes into the future. When "slashdot", "open source", "bluetooth", "wimax", "state vector" and more terms
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Clouds

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
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Robert
May 14, 2013 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This book starts off with a headache inducing deluge of acronyms and technogadgetideas, some of which are well known realities now. It's something that might be familiar to readers of some other Stross books, for instance the ones set in a near future Scotland e.g. Halting State. A geek-guru makes a living from freebies given by grateful companies he puts in touch with other grateful companies in order to realise whatever mad idea he's come up with next.

The future overtakes even him, though, and
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Rob
Jun 27, 2007 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: accelerationistas!
I tried reading the PDF (found at [http://www.accelerando.org/]) of this last year and didn't get very far. However, once I held the book in my hands, I seemed to fly through it. At first.

Stross seems to share some of the literary memenome as Stephenson and Doctorow. The prose style (especially early on in the text) felt a bit like Snow Crash ; those vivid bits of lurid ephemera, that nearly comic book pacing, every tawdry details competing for your attention right alongside the critical core.
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Brainycat
Jul 16, 2010 Brainycat rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of hard SciFi and multiple/concurrent realities
This book is fantastic hard SciFi in the emergent post-human genre. From what I can gather, this book has done for post-humanism what Neuromancer did for cyberpunk. It's a touch dry in some places and the characters are a bit clunky, but I feel Charles is most interested in describing the "singularity" rather than telling a traditional story.

Post-humanist writing is obsessed with the concept of "singularity" - a point at which the old ways of doing things (relying on grey matter and the associat
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Tim
Oct 24, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok
In the future, all of Europe will speak English as if they were plucked straight from an episode of 'Allo 'Allo. The French are addicted to "mais oui". The Germans can't without basic errors of grammar related to their own language structure talk. And Russian cannot use definite or indefinite article or plural. Even AI. Hallo. My name Boris. It's like Stross had never met a real foreigner before writing Accelerando.

But aside from the grating dialog Stross paints a wonderful picture of a world st
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Lightreads
Dec 09, 2009 Lightreads rated it it was ok
Hard SF. Three generations of an entrepreneurial family invent and scheme and survive the singularity, the point where artificial intelligence power bypasses old-fashioned organic brains, and humans first augment themselves, then disassemble the planets to build a solar-system wide computer and become something else entirely.

What a disappointment. I can forgive unapproachable characters in hard SF, and frequently have. I tried hard to cut some slack, because the point of the book is the screamin
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Richard
Jan 30, 2010 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Singularitarians and geek-positive futuristas
Recommended to Richard by: Scott Jackisch
A 3 1/2 star book, downgraded to three because Stross ultimately doesn’t deliver much more than a caffeinated theme park ride of the singularity.

I doubt that Accelerando will ever be seen in quite the same way as the early cyberpunk books, but it is certainly similar in its hyperkinetic and chaotic creativity. Stross tosses in a billion and one tasty tidbits of near-future circum-singularity and presses the “Will it Blend?” button.

And, as one would predict, the result is a very intriguing if chu
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John
Mar 21, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-fantasy, 2009, scottish
This book will short circuit your geek meter: a kind of epic chronicling three generations of a pretty messed up family through humanity's advance from a near future not too much unlike our own to a totally post-human universe. Although I found the story and characters to be a little wanting at times, these elements often felt like mannequins anyway, putting human form on the tsunami of ideas Stross lays out. If that doesn't sound fascinating to you, this ain't the book for you - I think I added ...more
Andreas
A book full of futuristic ideas which superpose content and characters. Sometimes, it reads more like a non-fiction book than a story. The author's staccato of futuristic terms will probably be hard for most readers, a Bruce Sterling on crack, similar in style to Hannu Rajaniemi.
I found the concept of exponentially accelerating development very convincing: The novel was published 10 years ago. In that decade, technologies developed and spread out that nobody really believed in then: Natural lang
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Tama Wise
Not a good sign of things really. I was doing so well at sticking to books when I didn't work in a library. Now that I do, I see so many other interesting books.

Finishing this book was hampered in a great part by the language of this book. I'd consider this a 'modern cyberpunk', in that it takes into account things like wireless network and the like. However, the story and characters were so buried in technobable and politico-socio speak that for the most part I was lost in skimming.

The same sor
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Susan
Nov 22, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: genre-sff
If I were to outline the plot of this novel, it would look like the most brilliant epic on the the Singularity that has ever been written. And, damn it, that's exactly what it should have been. This is my second book by Charles Stross, and I am concluding that his strong points are quippy prose and great ideas, and his weakness is story.

He may have shot himself down by his raw audacity. This is supposed to be a novel about the Singularity as it is happening. For those of you less into science fi
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Jorge Bouza
Mar 06, 2017 Jorge Bouza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aunque se nota una pequeña desconexión entre los capítulos de la novela por estar construida a partir de nueve relatos independientes, no puedo decir que para mí suponga un gran problema a la hora de valorarlo en conjunto. Por supuesto que es mejorable, ¿pero hay algo que no lo sea?
La cantidad de información por página que Stross vuelca en el cerebro del lector puede marear un poco, pero es agradable y repleto de sentido de la maravilla. Me he quedado con ganas de más, quizás en que profundiz
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Gary Ballard
Dec 10, 2010 Gary Ballard rated it it was ok
Charles Stross is more intelligent than me.

His intelligence oozes through the book on every page, but unfortunately intelligence is not the only quality needed to make a book entertaining. I won't rehash the plot as it's available above. Suffice it to say that this is Stross' concept of humanity's movements from a post-cyberpunk, connected reality through transhumanism into post-humanism, and our stumbling attempts to connect with alien intelligences as well as deal with the increasing hostilit
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Sara Mazzoni
Mar 03, 2016 Sara Mazzoni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-i-e-postumano
Fantascienza post del 2005: post cyberpunk e post umana; ha tutto: il viaggio spaziale, il cyberspazio, la realtà aumentata; il transumano e gli innesti cyborg; e ancora: le mutazioni sociali, l’upload delle menti nella rete, l’immortalità; e poi: la singolarità tecnologica, i postumani e gli alieni. Ci sono pure le aragoste digitalizzate in fuga dal sistema solare e una diabolica A.I. felina, che ricorda il Gatto del Cheshire. Nonostante l’ironia, non è una fantascienza umoristica: il divertime ...more
Robert
Dec 16, 2014 Robert rated it did not like it
I heard good things about this book, but I just could not finish it. The characters and plot are thin and the prose is loaded to the gills with jargon, much of it not even very good.

For instance, at a bar early in the book, the main character (of the first story), Manfred Macx, finds "...one of the hipper floaters has planted a contact bug on it, and the vCards of all the personal network owners who've have visited the bar in the past three hours are queuing up for attention. The air is full of
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Gar
Sep 26, 2008 Gar rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Traci Loudin
Mar 24, 2012 Traci Loudin rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, male-author
Full of interesting ideas, but no satisfying conclusion. Although to be fair, I'm not sure how he could have satisfactorily ended it after the mind-expansion of the first half of the book. Unlike in something like Dune or Ender's Game, where the interjections provide context and depth of meaning, the boldfaced exposition in Accelerando seemed tedious and simply repeated what the previous chapter had already stated. The idea of augmenting our minds with add-ons (as the cell phone and computers ar ...more
Althea Ann
Nov 29, 2011 Althea Ann rated it liked it
"From the book itself:

"An old-fashioned book, covering 3 generations, living through interesting times... A work of postmodern history, the incoherent school at that - how do you document people who fork their identities at random, spend years dead before reappearing on the stage, and have arguments with their own relativistically preserved other copy? ... I thought that perhaps as a narrative hook I'd make the offstage viewpoint that of the family's robot cat."

Yep. That about sums it up.
(That q
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Brian
Jan 25, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all SF fans
Shelves: ebook
The first third of this book is a five star white knuckle fall off the cliff ever accerating drop into the singularity. It's fascinating, breathtaking, horrifying, belivable and plausible. You're never quite sure what's coming, and you never catch your breath, but you're never completely lost either.

I distinctly remember thinking 'I have no idea how the heck he can keep this up for the whole book', and the answer unfortunately is that he doesn't.

Once you hit the second generation (loosely speaki
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Nikki
It's a sci-fi book, and tosses around words like singularity and wetware and all kinds of words that seem to be required knowledge for reading sci-fi (since I recognise them from Ken MacLeod's books). To be honest, I'm rapidly discovering I'm out of my depth with a lot of sci-fi. I'm alright with Le Guin, Alastair Reynolds, Tad Williams and Asimov, but a lot of the rest is beyond me.

Most of the book basically flew right over my head. The characters weren't that special, either. About half way th
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Stantontas
Jun 16, 2009 Stantontas rated it liked it
Recommends it for: wired magazine readers, twitterers, SF fans
I'm ambivalent about this. Considered as SF, it's very good. Lots of ideas, pageturner, humour.

But I think I just don't care about hard SF any more. Even the best of it (which I'd class this as) feels like riffs on ideas that are floating around the internet and lacks emotional depth. Post-humans don't interest me, especially if they only vaguely interested me as humans. I find PKD's suburban ennui more convincing and engaging than Wired-magazine handwaving about future shock and all that.

This b
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fromcouchtomoon
Nov 07, 2015 fromcouchtomoon rated it really liked it
The first really interesting Stross book I've read. The hip comp-sci jargon, virtual applications to the physical and cognitive worlds, and speculative socio-economics make this fun. It gets a little too Ellison-esque with the ex-wife hate, but it's surprisingly rectified at the end. Still leans too heavily on American sf genre-blah style (setting-dialogue-setting-dialogue-dialogue-dialogue structure; and don't tell me the subtext. it's not subtext if you have to point out the subtext) and a bad ...more
Ami Iida
Dec 05, 2015 Ami Iida rated it it was amazing
Awesome! I recommend you to read science fiction.
it is a singularity fiction.
Ben Babcock
We’ve just entered the tail end of 2013, fast approaching the middle of decade the second of the twenty-first century. Few of the changes Charles Stross lays out in this book have come to pass, which isn’t surprising. Many of them are still possible within our lifetime, though, which is interesting.

I’ve felt rather burnt out when it comes to posthuman SF ever since my last foray into the subgenre. Postsingular just left me feeling quite cynical about the potential for such stories. I had an epip
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Manfred's lifestyle in the very first chapter 2 18 Apr 30, 2015 11:03PM  
  • Diaspora
  • Learning the World: A Scientific Romance
  • Rainbows End
  • Schismatrix Plus
  • River of Gods (India 2047, #1)
  • Postsingular
  • Ventus
  • Blindsight (Firefall, #1)
  • Spin Control (Spin Trilogy, #2)
  • The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur, #2)
  • Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1)
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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
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“To boldly go where no uploaded metahuman colony has gone before' has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?” 10 likes
“Humans are just barely intelligent tool users; Darwinian evolutionary selection stopped when language and tool use converged, leaving the average hairy meme carrier sadly deficient in smarts.” 9 likes
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