Saturn's Children
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Saturn's Children (Freyaverse #1)

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  3,939 ratings  ·  388 reviews
Sometime in the twenty-third century, humanity went extinct - leaving only androids behind. Freya Nakamichi 47 is a femmebot, one of the last of her kind still functioning. With no humans left to pay for the pleasures she provides, she agrees to transport a mysterious package from Mercury to Mars. Unfortunately for Freya, she has just made herself a moving target for some...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Ace (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
the ideas behind the theme What Makes a Slave a Slave are particularly interesting when considering how they are approached and transformed by the genre in which they appear. in fantasy and historical fiction, slavery is often depicted as a regular part of the environment, and if a central character is enslaved, it is merely an obstacle that is usually surmounted. in horror, the idea of a total loss of freedom, especially the loss of an individualized mind, becomes another facet of evil: possess...more
Matt
Apr 04, 2011 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Experienced readers and lovers of science fiction
Recommended to Matt by: Glenn
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
This book goes down a lot better if you realize that Charles Stross was taking the piss out of Heinlein. (I love that phrase, even if I'm not British.)

Specifically, it's a semi-satirical rewrite of Friday.

Friday is one of my most hated favorite Heinleins. It was a fantastic story with a cool character in an action-packed scifi universe, and it showcased everything about Heinlein that has him rather out of favor nowadays. Friday, the title character, was a genetically engineered Artificial Person...more
Ben Babcock
“Humans were dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatsoever about that.”

That is perhaps how Dickens might have begun Saturn’s Children, if Dickens had somehow conceived of a near-future world in which humanity is extinct but its human-like robot servitors have kept on going. Charles Stross isn’t quite so economical in explaining this underlying fact, but he’s almost there. Through references to “pink goo” and “green goo” and the lack of prokaryotes and eukaroytes on Earth, Stross manages to c...more
Terence
Nov 23, 2008 Terence rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Charles Stross fans/Hard SF/Space Opera types
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.S.
I am always all over the place with Stross. He is a gifted writer and can really put a story together but sometimes his books just don't knock me out.

This book was good but I admit that I was expecting more and it wasn't nearly as clever as I think it was suppose to be. I will continue to read Stross but I have a feeling he is going to always be one of those writers that just completely wows me or is just all right.
Cathy
I was excited when I picked this up from the library. It is subtitled, "A Space Opera," and dedicated to Heinlein and Asimov, then opens with the 3 laws. I figured it had to be good. Then I read the reviews and was less hopeful. But in the end, it was a good, solid 3. Nothing wrong with that. The whole book is patterned off of Heinlein's Friday meets Asimov's Robots, moderately successfully. A robot (a dirty word to them) designed to be a female sex slave gets into all sorts of adventures and tr...more
Sandi
Saturn's Children is a book that I've wanted to read but have avoided because of the really embarrassing cover. Let's face it, a middle-aged woman would really look silly reading a book with big-boobed bimbo on the cover. Fortunately, this is 2010 and I've acquired an e-reader that allows me to discretely read anything, no matter what the cover looks like.

Charles Stross has been a hit-or-miss author for me. Saturn's Children falls strongly into the "hit" category. It's a hard sci-fi, post-human...more
Karlo
This is the first of Stross' books that misfired for me.

Stross starts out by quoting Newton "standing on the shoulders of giants..." and then referencing Heinlein and Asimov. I remember liking Heinlein's Friday a great deal, but then that was 20 years ago when I was a Teenager. I read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistess" more recently and enjoyed it, so I'm cool with Heinlein. Asimov is more problematic; I've read lost of his stuff, but even then I found his ideas were neat, but his characters where a...more
Kelly
I loved this book.

I sometimes have a hard time reading Charles Stross. I enjoy his concepts but I don’t often feel empathy for his characters. I adored Freya, however, her voice sang loudly and clearly to me and her personality leapt from the page.

As always, the writing is superb, but in this case, even more so. As all of the characters in Saturn’s Children are constructs of a sort, artificial beings, his writing and his style were particularly relevant. He managed to convert chemical and mecha...more
Bruce
Well, three and a half stars ;-)

I have a sort of proprietary narcissistic interest in stross, given that I found out about him early in his career, bought Toast when it was his only published book. Or maybe it's just that I like his writing.

But for some reason the guy just puts out stuff that has a high amount of mediocrity to it. Maybe it's the crazy amount of books he's writing-- I mean, you don't make any money as a sci fi author, so I understand, or maybe that's just how he writes, mostly.

An...more
Tony Gleeson
This was probably not the best place for me to begin exploring Charles Stross-- I read it to be familiar with it when he showed up at our shop for a signing. This book is ablaze with homages to science fiction authors old and new, from Asimov to Scalzi, and it's written quite puckishly despite there being some rather dark and disturbing ideas behind the whole thing. As any good speculative science fiction should, it has some intriguing extrapolations of social implications for the future. Think...more
Tamara
The concept for this - the adventures of an angsty sexbot in a post-human solar system - sounds almost like one of those risible kindle freebie erotic romances, (cover doing all it can to help out.) The execution is somewhat better, and I was ultimately impressed by the willingness to follow a thread through from humor and titillation through to questions about free will and slavery. It didn't quite get me there, intellectually or emotionally, but it is an interesting attempt. Just too much of a...more
Rebecca
So, I'm told this is a tribute/parody/something to the old Heinlein and Asimov space operas. I can see it -- I read a lot of Heinlein as a teen, including some stuff that my parents probably didn't know about. It is a little less problematic* than some of the old Heinlein, though, despite the former profession of the character. Seriously, you can feel the allusions to Friday throughout the first half and even the main character's name (Freya is the Norse goddess of beauty, related to the Germ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (cclapcenter.com). I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Oh, Charles Stross, how crazy you drive me sometimes! And that's because, as long-time readers know, I have a real back-and-forth relationship with the work of this multiple-award-winning science-fiction veteran, coiner of the very phrase "Accelerated Age" that critics like me now use as a general ter...more
Wealhtheow
Dec 30, 2013 Wealhtheow marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi, 7th-floor
Astonishingly terrible cover art aside, io9 just declared the sequel to this book as one of the best sf/f books of 2013, so I feel like I should give this a chance.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 29, 2014 Jenny (Reading Envy) marked it as abandoned
Took this back to the library after 100 pages. I don't mind the sex, and I usually like bots and other similar creatures. I think what I don't like is space opera, a term which makes authors feel as if they need to draw out a story longer than it requires. This concept would have been a spectacular novella, even a short story, of what the femmebots created to please humans are to do when the humans are extinct. It has great potential for poignancy and depth, but I got bored of the space trips an...more
Ashley
If nothing else, my experiment in reading Charles Stross for the first time resulted in one of the most unique reading experiences I’ve had in the last couple of years.

This book was somewhat of an impulse read. I wanted to read Stross’s Neptune’s Brood, because it was one of the few Hugo noms I hadn’t read yet, but noticed it was the second in a series. All the reviews said you didn’t need to read the first one, but I’m me, and I have to do things in order or my brain will explode and I will die...more
Stuart
This tale of a female robot almost works. It is a tale that moves the goalposts a little too often and borrows from Asimov and Heinlein. At times, it is quite exciting and there is a very imaginative approach to space travel. The sexual content is sparser than the flap jacket or some of the more lurid covers might make you imagine. It is also not surprisingly described in quite mechanical fashion. I never quite felt the attachment for the heroine I wanted to; I think it was more to with the book...more
Elizabeth
Before we begin - anything that has to use the word 'gushing' this many times is never going to sit well with me.

Every time I think about this story it goes something like 'I liked X but I feel like it had a problem with Y. So the world was fascinating as a concept but too many infodumps were used to describe it. The characters were sort of interesting but felt shallow and confused. The plot was elaborate and a clever idea but jumped around without sufficiently explaining things. Oh and the sex...more
Bill Glover
Mar 22, 2009 Bill Glover rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Stross fans and hard SF fans, Creationists
Shelves: sf
This book is a thoughtful and original exploration of what it means to be deliberately created as a slave. It's a serious subject, but there are also plenty of subtle and not so subtle references to other SF to lighten things up especially near the end. It's an ambitious book with very dense plotting and extremely complex intrigue. There's also plenty of good hard SF exploration of interplanetary travel and colonization and a very plausible culture of machines built to be like us, twisted in bru...more
Daniel
Charles Stross' work can be really hit or miss for me. This book was enjoyable, but seemed almost rushed. I don't mean rushed in terms of pacing, but almost like there was a lot going on in his head that never actually made it to the page, which made it a far less thoughtful book than it could have been.

There are some interesting ideas in here, particularly the musing on how a society of robots designed to serve humanity cope with the fact that humans are extinct, and thus their primary purpose...more
Alan
Mar 07, 2009 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: If you liked Heinlein's later work...
I simply devoured this book. Oh, not in one straight sitting - my life does not allow for that anymore, for books of any serious length. But it did only take me two days to read, snatching time when and where I could. I kept wanting to find out What Happens Next, and by that measure Stross succeeded with me unconditionally.

Well, almost...

Stross writes a rollicking tale, an explicit homage to the sf of Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. The book is dedicated to these giants of the field, in so...more
Skyler
A synthetically erotic novel about the legacy humanity leaves behind: Robots. In fact, androids (like the main character) have become obsolete, and Freya is left with a feeling of isolation, as if her race discarded her. As she tries to find her place in the galaxy, Freya unwittingly becomes more important to a possible future of her people than she could have imagined.

I loved how this book captures a very strong feeling of the "soft" novels that my mother used to read. The strangely sexual natu...more
Doug
I was disappointed by this - Stross has the capability to produce something much better. This book has a twist (look ma, no humans!) and some of the ideas are pretty interesting - but frankly I think he's writing too much and too hard. This could have done with maturing for a lot longer.

The main character is very reminiscent of the lead from Friday by Robert A. Heinlein which is apparently intentional. As with Friday the lead is a robot made for erotic purposes. For what it's worth, the supposed...more
Harold Ogle
I loved the central conceit to this book: it's almost an opposite to Asimov's Robots series. In this, humans created robots with artificial processors modeled on human brains (Stross never quite calls it a positronic brain, but...) and installed the Three Laws of Robotics as every good science fiction author seems to have them do. But in this, the humans then died off because they no longer had to work for anything. In the hundreds of years since, the robots have continued maintaining and buildi...more
Gary
Started well and I'm hooked already. It has chibi dwarves in it! More later. OK finished it now and I enjoyed it quite a lot because of it's original take on humans dying out and leaving their 'robots' (excuse my use of this pejorative term)to take over and create their own stratified society throughout the galaxy. There are some genuinely very amusing snippets and some quite technical descriptions of future technology - based no doubt on Mr Stross's knowledge of current tech and it's possible d...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Charles Stross is a unique voice among today's wave of "New British SF" writers, but he also knows his history. Saturn's Children is dedicated to old lions Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, and the ghosts of both (especially Heinlein) can be felt in the latest effort. Reviews of the novel vary wildly, which may suggest as much about the tastes of particular SF readers as it does about the specific case. The combination of sex and violence clashes a bit with some deep philosophizing on identity a

...more
Psychophant
This book filled me with deja-vu. At times it was Heinlein's Friday, at others it was Varley's whole solar system. It was predictable, the sex was non-descript (but still all over the place) and the premise did not hold together.

In spite of all of that (or, in the case of Varley, maybe because of it) I liked the novel, and devoured it quickly. In this case it was the science part of the SF, including the whole future presentation, even the many non-serious parts, the details, what kept me mesme...more
Jenne
I realized after giving up on this that I've read quite a few of Charles Stross's books but I haven't really loved any of them.
So why do I keep reading them? I think it's because they always sound really interesting, but the execution never quite lives up to the promise. I really like his characters, but there's just always too much STUFF in the way of the story!
In this one, even after I stopped reading I still kept thinking about the main character and sort of wondering what was happening to he...more
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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...more
More about Charles Stross...
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