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Missile Gap

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  457 ratings  ·  25 reviews
It's 1976 again. Abba are on the charts, the Cold War is in full swing -- and the Earth is flat. It's been flat ever since the eve of the Cuban war of 1962; and the constellations overhead are all wrong. Beyond the Boreal ocean, strange new continents loom above tropical seas, offering a new start to colonists like newly-weds Maddy and Bob, and the hope of further glory to ...more
Hardcover, 99 pages
Published December 31st 2006 by Subterranean Press
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Veeral
My second novella this year after Connie Willis's Fire Watch (which was just above average kind of a read).

This novella served as an introduction to Charles Stross's works to me and I think it was not a bad place to start. The amount of detail Stross crammed into this less than 100 pages novella was really amazing. With characters like Yuri Gagarin and Carl Sagan, Stross successfully managed to held my attention throughout. And the illustrations were funny too.

The staggering dimensions of the f
...more
Michele
This was a frustrating story because it could be a great novel and instead it just kept almost being great. I kept getting lost which seemed completely unnecessary. There were great ideas but 1) a novel was probably called for to do the ideas justice, and 2) great ideas tank if the writing and editing confuse the reader.

Stross wrote a blurb at the end in his "Wireless" collection where he expressed his discomfort at far future sci-fi writing. It really is too bad he feels that discomfort, becaus
...more
John
Another excellent Stross riff on the cold war-era and super beings, this one dark and intensely disturbing. To describe too much of the story would be to ruin the experience of having it unfold for you over the brief arc of this novella, but it was like no other science fiction (other than Stross) that I've read, despite some vague reminisences of Robert Charles Wilson's "Protocols of Consumption" and the creepy Twilight Zone feeling I was left with at the end (and it's an awesome ending).
Norman Cook
This is a thoughtful novella that presents some incredibly gonzo ideas. The alternate history includes characters such as Carl Sagan and Yuri Gagarin set in a 1970s cold war, with the added twist of aliens and their mind-boggling cosmic constructions. The story is told in a series of episodic slices featuring a fairly large cast of characters. If I had a suggestion for improvement, it would be for Stross to expand the story so that we could get a fuller picture of each character. The story also ...more
Tancredi
Sono ben lieto di andare contro tendenza, nel ritenere questo lungo racconto (o breve romanzo) un piccolo gioiello della narrativa sci-fi.
I pochi commenti che si trovano sono tutti negativi: la trama è confusionaria, si dice, affollata di troppe idee, e il finale è brutto e inutile.
Io non condivido né la prima né la seconda delle affermazioni.
Innanzitutto, la grande varietà di idee non è affatto un punto debole, anzi. Ciò che risulta assolutamente originale è proprio la contaminazione di generi
...more
Giovanni Dall'Orto
Questo (non-)racconto lungo è un pastone senza capo né coda, scritto in modo straordinario.
Si tratta d'uno scritto "postmoderno", uno di quelli, cioè, in cui l'autore non scrive per il lettore, ma per se stesso, e per dimostrare quanto è bravo sia a scrivere, sia a dominare le convenzioni e i generi letterari.

In quanto scrittore postmoderno, l'autore non è capace di trovare alcun senso nell'atto di scrivere, e infatti senso questo scritto non ne ha. Si tratta di un centone nel quale convivono p
...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Sono ben lieto di andare contro tendenza, nel ritenere questo lungo racconto (o breve romanzo) un piccolo gioiello della narrativa sci-fi.

I pochi commenti che si trovano sono tutti negativi: la trama è confusionaria, si dice, affollata di troppe idee, e il finale è brutto e inutile.

Io non condivido né la prima né la seconda delle affermazioni.

Innanzitutto, la grande varietà di idee non è affatto un punto debole, anzi. Ciò che risulta assolutamente originale è proprio la contaminazione di gene
...more
Nikola Tasev
Wow, just wow. I read it in one sitting. It's not very long, and I admit, it has some 'not as interesting as the rest' parts, but the style was clever, and the ending was the the greatest Grand Finale I've read in some time.
Someone, or something, has moved the whole surface of the Earth and placed it on a solar-system-sized disk. Is this a superinteligent race experiment, or a simulation? What are the implications?
Humanity is deprived of spaceflight, but given endless territory to explore and c
...more
G33z3r
This novella was originally written for an anthology, One Million A.D., whose theme was stories set more than a million years in the future. Stross essentially punts on that, instead creating a replica of the past (60's and 70's) that's been transported and/or replicated in that deep future. Within that context, he creates a mystery for an alternate history mankind of the half-century ago. It's entertaining and thoughtful, as I usually find Stross, following three barely-related storylines invol ...more
Mylesgorton
interesting story evoking the cold war from a different angle. really interesting, but not perhaps the best written story I've ever read. still worth reading - a quick read!
Voss
Sciapo insulso banalotto
Adam
Aug 26, 2008 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: members of the flat earth society
This creepy WTF alternative history(but not really..so there is hint)treads similiar ground to Stross's "Colder War" with another take on the cold war, but this one is very different and filled with a wider sense of wonder and dread also. Hints of Invasion of Body Snatchers, George R.R. Martin's Sandkings, and Kafka. Plus it has Carl Sagan as a Character.P.S. get it from a library it is expensive..or find the cheaper Gardner Dozois edited collection it is in.
Joshtafari
Kind of a melting pot for all of SF's tropes, from alternate history to Big Dumb Objects to Bug Eyed Monsters to post-apocalyptic worlds and far future galactic engineering. I was left with a lot of questions, but I think that's kind of the point. I wouldn't necessarily complain if Stross revisited this world, but I think I'm happier with the more nebulous finish.
Maxwell Heath
The premise is very interesting, and I like how Stross uses real historical figures like Gagarin and Sagan. The Gagarin part also feels like Stross is riffing on Star Trek, which is amusing. The ending is interesting; I'm not sure if I like it or not, but unlike some other works I've encountered I think this adds to the story rather than detracting from it.
Franco Vite
Un bel romanzo breve - un bel racconto lungo - questo di Stross. Non avevo mai letto nulla di questo autore, e in questa storia dimostra una fantasia veramente ricca, rigogliosa direi.
Ovvio che in poco più di 100 pagine non si può approfondire tutto come vorremmo noi lettori, ma onestamente l'equilibrio del racconto regge benissimo, e il finale merita.
Brennan Griffin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeremy Preacher
For a one-off novella, this was a fun trip. Combining the politics of the cold war era with the idea that humans are far, far from the most advanced life forms in the galaxy - it's grim, but it's fascinating. Glad to see it at the library.
Peter
The premise alone is worth reading this book. I pick this up to sample Stross's writing. If this is an accurate indication of his writing, more books of his will follow.
Salvatore Pulvirenti
Buone le idee di base, ma raccontate troppo velocemente e con troppo poco spazio.

In due parole: non decolla
Lee Gibson
Interesting premise. Not sure what was going on entirely, but I'd love to read a novel (this was a novella).
Landon
This was the first novella in the Wireless collection, very imaginative and very cool.
Chris
A bit random and arbitrary but compelling.
Leah
Jul 07, 2008 Leah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
Short novella, but very interesting concept.
Justin Lynn
Intriguing ideas lacking a story.
Josechung Miller
I have a signed copy!
Sune Kirkeby
Sune Kirkeby marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Alex
Alex added it
Dec 06, 2014
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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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