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Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1)
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Singularity Sky (Eschaton #1)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  7,942 ratings  ·  328 reviews
After humankind discovers faster-than-light travel, a godlike race of post-humans called the Eschaton issue a warning of causality violations (time travel) by instantly removing 9 billion humans from Earth and relocating them throughout the galaxy on countless low-tech colonies. The next transgression with time travel will mean total destruction.

Centuries later, one such

Paperback, 389 pages
Published January 21st 2012 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2003)
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Ready Player One by Ernest ClineOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal StephensonAltered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
51st out of 320 books — 2,988 voters
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Excellent Space Opera
77th out of 280 books — 1,470 voters

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Community Reviews

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6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" novels. This is one of those novels (like some of Neil Gaiman's and Neal Stephenson's books) where I kept finding myself saying "WOW, how did he come up with such a cool concept." This is a great novel full of big, mind-blowing ideas and concepts. It is space opera for the 21st century. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2004)
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2004)
I am hovering around the 3.879435 out of 5 for this book. No quiet a 4 but way better than a 3.
Stross is ....... well, he is....... you see he write like.........

That sums up Stross. He is just out there on his own little planet, one minute writing hi tech scifi, where causality effects are detailed in a Stephen Hawking kind of way, then slams you back to earth when a talking rabbit toting a shotgun and a belt of farmers scalps asks you what you think are staring at.
If you have read any Stross y
Nov 27, 2013 Apatt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf-f
My first attempt at reading a Stross novel was Accelerando. I abandoned it after about 50 pages, we just did not get along. I had some problems with the prose style, the characters and the confusing plot. Still, I have always intended to give this author another try as I have been reading his blog for a while and I like them, no problem with the writing style there. Also, he is one of the most respected sf authors of the newer generation working today. He comes highly recommended by David Brin a ...more
Daniel Roy
The opening of Singularity Sky is as gripping as they come: one day, on the backwater planet of Rochard's World, telephones begin raining down from the sky. Everybody who picks one up is given a simple order: Entertain us, and we will grant your wish. And just like that, money, bicycles and replicator machines begin falling from orbit, and Rochard's World falls into chaos.

Soon, the New Republic, a strict dictatorship, dispatches a fleet to deal with the enemies 'attacking' their colony. But in s
Noah M.
Charles Stross's first novel is a very good first novel. Packed full of crazy ideas. Espionage. Space battles. Post-Singularity humanity with all its craziness. Just a crazy book in general.

I'm doing a poor job of reviewing this.

There are quite a few POV characters in this book, and while they're all distinct, I developed some favorites early on and was not usually pleased when I had to spend a chapter or two with other, less interesting characters. So, I suppose it was a bit unwieldy at times.

Jason Pettus
(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 illegally.)

I recently had the chance to acquire every single book ever written by trippy sci-fi author Charles Stross, and so have decided to spend the year actually reading and reviewing them here for the blog; and I've decided to read them in chronological order, too (or, the general books by chronological order, t
Emanuel Landeholm
“The Festival isn’t human, it isn’t remotely human. You people are thinking in terms of people with people-type motivations; that’s wrong, and it’s been clear that it’s wrong from the start. You can no more declare war on the Festival than you can declare a war against sleep. It’s a self-replicating information network. Probe enters a system: probe builds a self-extending communications network and yanks the inhabited worlds of that system into it. Drains all the information it can get out of th ...more
Ben Babcock
From the first line, this book hooked me: "The day war was declared, a rain of telephones fell clattering to the cobblestones from the skies above Novy Petrograd." A post-Singularity descendant of humanity, the Festival, arrives in orbit around the backwater Rochard's World. The Festival's willingness to share anything in return for information results in economic and social upheaval as the repressed citizens of Rochard's World find they can have anything they want: technology, money, even power ...more
Stross seems to absolutely refuse to reign his ideas in...which means we may have a good long term relationship as reader and writer. This has some flaws(first novel)it drags after spectacular start(telephone rain) before getting its legs and exploding into mixture of Catch-22 in space, bizarre fairy tale, a revolution designed Heironymous Bosch and Lewis Carroll, a lesson in economics and Russian history. Loses points for having a boring protagonist(though Rachel is awesome... a female James Bo ...more
I've enjoyed Charlie Stross's Lovecraftian stories he keeps online, and was keen to read a full novel. Decent: it kept me reading and I finished fairly quickly.

I liked most the ideas in the book. Cornucopia machines, grey goo weapons, fad-obsessed information-hungry virtual civilisations, libertarian treaty-based citizenship, communication via entangled qubits, a singularity artificial intelligence born when time-looping logic gates were built, and three different ways to travel faster than ligh
This book introduced the concept of singularity into S/F at large and set the tone for the new science fiction. Other writers who use concepts similar to Stross include Vernor Vinge, Iain Banks, and Karl Schroeder. But I read this book first and it holds a special place in my heart because of it. Stross uses this work to mock the Far Left, the Far Right, conventional military S/F, and the Perky Girl Heroine tropes. Among other things. He also examines the consequences of Singularity on the econo ...more
The idea of singularity rides roughshod through modern science fiction. As one fellow enthusiast I know put it, “Anyone writing a futuristic story now has to deal with the question of singularity. Did it happen? If not, why not?” For the uninitiated, the singularity is the moment (and brief aftermath of that moment) when technological progress accelerates so rapidly as to create a sea change in society at the blink of an eye. This possibility is often connected with some sort of A.I. that can bu ...more
Tim Hicks
Three stars, really, but allowing for the fact that it's his first, and rounding up for the many interesting ideas.

Too many ideas. And I read several suggestions that Stross doesn't do rewrites, which I have no trouble believing after reading this. I had already read Iron Sunrise, but no real harm done.

I was going to say that Stross never did decide whether this would be a space opera, a social satire, on a treatise on macroeconomics. It's all that and a bag of chips, and I think it could have
Phillip Berrie
This is the first book by this author that I have read. I believe this was also his debut novel so this could be the start of something good.

This book is a story about the possible effects of the technological singularity, a subject that has always interested me, so I was interested in seeing what he was going to do with it. And he surprised me because, as the story has an interstellar setting, he showed characters from societies pre-singularity, post-singularity and experiencing the singularity
Jason Kelley
Betsey is right. Charles Stross is a great big brainiac. An awesome exploration into the concept and possible results from a singularity explosion. I also appreciated his delving into causality tampering and the possible consequences.
Chad Perrin
This is one of the better pieces of singularity fiction I have encountered, despite the fact it dodges the hard problem of describing a post-singularity world by telling a tale from the point of view of the people the singularity left behind. The post-singularity intelligence(s) in the universe Stross built in Singularity Sky suppresses any ability of the pre-singularity entities in the universe to advance to a level where they may challenge it, or to perform any act that may threaten the events ...more
Michael Burnam-fink
Singularity Sky is where Stross gets it, chewing through the insulation of insufferable singulatarian techno-optimism to bite into the high voltage wire of Awesome that makes for a great and surprisingly deep space opera. The New Republic is a deliberate anachronism patterned after one of the Great Powers of the 19th century, and the bucolic colony of Rochard's World has fallen prey to The Pestival, a self-replicating interstellar civilization that trades radical cyborg enhancements and nanotech ...more
This book seems to contain both of my current favorite sci-fi themes, the Singularity, and Steam-punk. This seems like a strange juxtaposition at first, but it makes sense if you are trying to rebuild a society after a runaway Singularity event. The book seems to be trying to make the basic point of the struggle between people with a naturally limited capacity for understanding the world around them, and therefore a longing for imposed stability and structure in the face of their fear of the unk ...more
Bill Purdy
Apr 08, 2008 Bill Purdy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophilic Sci-fi fans, Douglas Adams fans
Seems to me sci-fi has come to embrace the absurd. The logic goes like this: when describing a future for humanity, a writer of necessity designs that future in terms of its technology.

Near-future stories are almost never absurd. They are frequently focused on issues arising from the technology we have now. There's nothing absurd about surrendering our rights to privacy, for instance. Or how the internet makes possible virtual worlds in which we can live our lives a second time.

Far-future stori
I started this awhile ago, but then we moved and it got packed away and forgotten. Month's later, I finally unpacked some books and there it was, book mark still in place and everything.

Of course, I couldn't remember near enough to pick up where I left off, so I had to start over, which really annoys me.

Anyhow, despite my grumpiness I found it enjoyable. It had plenty of interesting and fresh story ideas that kept you guessing. Although a lot of the sci-fi tech babble was all lost on me, thankfu
Michael Eisenberg
I just finished both of Charles Stross' Eschaton related books, "Singularity Sky" and "Iron Sunrise". Both were really fun, and somewhat dense (as in geeky science info-dumping dense, especially in the former) reads. It sparked enough interest in me to pursue other books about singularity events and post singularity life (Vernor Vinge, Ken MacLeod, which I found very engaging, unique and imaginative in Stross's hands.

On top of that...they both had a cool "spy vs. spy" thing happ
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Martin
An impressive wide-ranging intelligent space opera, if that word is not an insult, with that being a phrase used to describe some science fiction that is not of this level, a book that reminds me a lot of Vernor Vinge's novels, particularly his _A Fire Upon the Deep_. Though I prefer Vinge's works, it like Vinge's novels manages to balance action, interesting characters with often entirely different viewpoints, a well-developed universe, and tackles some of Big Questions in science fiction.

Mar 13, 2011 Peter added it
Stross & The Festival have arrived: Rachel Mansour is a UN diplomat based incognito in an interplanetary Russian-ethnic society based on a historical model of class-structure and aristocratic inherited privilege. Martin Greenfield is also working undercover within the society for a mysterious paymaster called Herman.
At the outset of the novel a presence arrives in orbit around one of these Russian worlds and showers the planet with mobile phones. The bemused natives are told on the phones t
Pretty fun, original read. Has some interesting concepts about AI, both its possible abilities, and lack of understanding. There was some pretty trippy stuff in the book too, that made me just think, what the hell and try to imagine what being in situation like he was describing would be like. Pretty scary really. Although it was fun and fairly fast-paced at times, I was kind of disappointed in the ending. It just kind of fizzled out in my opinion, where there was all this build up and then - th ...more
Bill Hayes
I thought this was an OK, but not a great read - I nearly stopped halfway though before the action picked up. I think 'Iron Sunrise', the sequel (based in the same universe anyway), is a better read.
This book had some interesting pieces, such as the very advanced but reclusive AI called The Eschaton
(created at Earth's singularity event), FTL (faster than light) space travel allowing time travel,
and a mysterious group called the Festival that visits planets and grants people wishes in trade for
Stross does a great job of making deep space travel seem plausible, and I applaud him for treating The Singularity as the ultimate disruption, instead of making it seem like just a super-clever human (as so many scifi books do). I like the way he has worked in theologies other than the standard stuff. Lots of good detail, well-thought out script. Only problem is that it also has too much detail, which is most apparent in the discussion of space maneuvers ... covering details of one space maneuve ...more
A wonderful and extremely odd book. Throughout the book, I felt unsure whether I really understood what was going on. I'm still not sure I understand what the Festival is or how it works exactly. But even with the confusion, I enjoyed the ride and could definitely imagine reading a sequel. Maybe if I read more science fiction, these concepts wouldn't all feel so unexplained and new to me. I don't know that I've read any other books about Singularity, so maybe a more elementary novel would have b ...more
It's a sci-fi novel, with various different planets, and lots of interesting machinery, and even some interesting races. I liked it a lot better than Accelerando, and understood pretty much all of it, which is a good sign. I think it's still more of an idea-novel than a novel about people, but the characters managed to be interesting and in most cases, not horribly alien.

Definitely going to read the sequel, Iron Sunrise, since I have it already, but I'm not entirely sure I'll ever read more of t
Alexey Popov
Several years ago I went to work, put on my headset and started to listen Singularity Sky. Several minutes later I went to the underground and got on a train. At the next stop I couldn't hold myself anymore and laughed out loud. A guy next to me gave me a concerned look and moved away. I continued laughing till the end of the commute.
The first chapter is brilliant. A Singularity in a world with the level of technology and society roughly of Russian Empire right before WWI looks so ridiculous tha
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Goodreads Librari...: INcorrect Date 3 11 Nov 25, 2014 10:12PM  
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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...
Accelerando The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1) Halting State Glasshouse The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2)

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“I am the Eschaton. I am not your God.
I am descended from you, and exist in your future.
Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone. Or else.”
“Accelerating to speeds faster than light was, of course, impossible. General relativity had made that clear enough back in the twentieth century. However, since then a number of ways of circumventing the speed limit had turned up; by now, there were at least six different known methods of moving mass or information from A to B without going through c.” 5 likes
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