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Saturn's Children (Freyaverse #1)

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  5,987 Ratings  ·  490 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 ve ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Ace (first published January 1st 2008)
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May 18, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sexy femmebots, post-human prostitutes, people who love or hate Heinlein
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 sci-fi universe, and it showcased everything about Heinlein that has him rather out of favor nowadays. Friday, the title character, was a genetically engineered artificial perso
mark monday
Nov 12, 2010 mark monday rated it liked it
Shelves: futuristik
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
Jul 07, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 29, 2014 Gavin rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I'm not sure what to say about this unusual sci-fi. I liked the story. It was full of great ideas, but I felt like it could have been so much more. The execution of the story was just a bit off.

The story follows Freya, an obsolete android concubine in a society where humans haven't existed for hundreds of years. She accepts a job as a courier an is soon caught up in a whole lot of intrigue. This read a lot like spy story set in a post-human future.

The story suffered a dull middle phase, but st
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
Jun 28, 2008 Terence rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 28, 2010 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2010, e-books
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Saturn's Children' is an extremely dizzy spiral of a tight convoluted noir plot within a maze of speculative hard-science and neuroscience. This complex science-fiction opera was written in homage to the robot worlds created by the authors Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, while also introducing graphic sex scenes only hinted at in earlier science-fiction novels.

Saturn is one of those gods who symbolizes quite a number of dueling concepts - all of them fit the author's meaning and purpose in w
Jun 08, 2009 Cathy rated it liked it
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
Mar 25, 2009 C.S. rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Jason Pettus
May 22, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography ( 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
Dec 30, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: io9
Shelves: sci-fi, didn-t_finish
Humanity died out centuries ago, but they left behind space stations, wrecked eco systems...and the computer systems and robots they created to serve them. Over time these AIs created societies of their own, but not from scratch--even now the innate loyalty toward biologicals, values, and hierarchies that humanity programmed into their servants remain and inform modern AI society. Freya is one of these AIs, kept at the bottom of the heap by her pleasurebot design. She was built to please a long ...more
Nov 17, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing
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
Kat  Hooper
Sep 30, 2014 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

In the future of Charles Stross’ Saturn’s Children, humans have somehow managed to kill themselves off. But, before they did, they developed an array of artificial intelligence machines to serve them. Some were sent out to explore and settle the galaxy. The universe now contains all sorts of robots and cyborgs. They’ve set up a class-structured society with “aristo” robots owning those that humans had fitted with lo
Michael Hawke
Oct 15, 2014 Michael Hawke rated it did not like it
I cannot recommend this book, even though it is very well written and has a very interesting projection of what life might be like without humans. Stross is a good writer, no doubt about it; there is one scene in particular in this book that I read over and over: the scene with Freya and Stone on the train, it is spectacular in every way (took my breath away).

The reason I can't recommend it, and it is a very big reason, is because of Freya herself, and to be quite frank, the rest of the female
Feb 17, 2009 Karlo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
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
Oct 27, 2008 Bruce rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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.

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
Mar 25, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
I enjoy a good space opera every now and then, but more importantly, I enjoy Mr. Stross's space operas very very much. Sometimes, his novels remind me of the best genre virtuosity. It is an ongoing commentary on all the greats, like Asimov and Heinlein, and it tickled my funny bone to revisit the three laws.

I'll be honest, though. While the story was fun in a light but slightly twisted way, I still got a lot more enjoyment out of the ideas. It reminded me why I preferred sci-fi over almost all
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
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
Tony Gleeson
Dec 27, 2008 Tony Gleeson rated it liked it
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 25, 2014 Jenny (Reading Envy) marked it as did-not-finish
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
Bill Glover
Feb 28, 2009 Bill Glover rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2010 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it
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
Chock full of androids, spies, slavery, danger, space travel, who-can-I-trust, and some sex. Some humor -- occasionally clever, but mostly not the laugh-out-loud kind.

The MC/heroine is an outdated "love" model android (gynoid, technically) who gets herself into all sorts of predicaments -- many of them a bit, um... wet.

If the tale has a defect, it's that the android/gynoid/other bots here mostly (view spoiler) -- but that is pe
Feb 05, 2009 Skyler rated it liked it
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
I thought this was going to be a wonderful book when I started it. Stross has quite an imagination for worlds unlike ours. He has created a world where humans are extinct and robots have colonized the galaxy because they don't have human biological restrictions. He has some really interesting ideas such interplanetary travel that starts with a giant ferris wheel that takes your pod into orbit where you're attached to something kind of like a ski lift that takes you to the next planet. He also ha ...more
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Israel SciFi and ...: Robots in Space 2 21 Jul 24, 2013 12:27PM  
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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.

More about Charles Stross...

Other Books in the Series

Freyaverse (3 books)
  • Bit Rot (Freyaverse #1.5)
  • Neptune's Brood (Freyaverse #2)

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