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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,814 ratings  ·  134 reviews
The Hugo Award-winning author of such groundbreaking and innovative novels as "Accelerando, Halting State," and "Saturn's Children" delivers a selection of speculative fiction brought together in one collection, showdcasing the limitless imagination of one of the twenty-first century's most daring visionaries.
ebook, 304 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Ace Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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It's really hard to give a star rating to a short story collection, especially one by an author who is as hit-and-miss as Charles Stross. I've read two of his novels. I hated one and really enjoyed the other. That's kind of how I feel about the stories in Wireless.

Two of the stories, "Down on the Farm" and "Palimpsest" would have rated 5 stars. I especially liked "Down on the Farm" and will be checking out his novels featuring The Laundry, The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue. "Rogue F
So what rules does Charlie follow to ensure maximum Strossness in his writing?

I think I've sussed out a couple:

1) Introduce at least one new thing every page.
2) Never explain any of these new things.

Let me elaborate on what I mean by these rules.

Ever hear of the van Vogt rule of writing? Referring to A.E. van Vogt, of course. His particular style was to introduce a new idea (or a new detail that helps unravel the plot) every 800 words. Damon Knight called this the "kitchen sink technique", but I
WIRELESS is brilliant from cover to cover. The first story/novella, "Missile Gap," is my favorite. The ideas! What if a vast alien intelligence, without our noticing, instantly "peeled the Earth like a grape" and transferred it to a colossal deep space disk large enough to contain a billion Earths? What's on all those other continents that came from somewhere else? Is this real, or is it a simulation? Stross has done some deep thinking here.
Steven Cole
Wireless is a quality short-story collection by Stross. Quick reviews:

Missile Gap: This is the story of a late 1950s earth whose crust has been peeled off our globe and stuck on an even larger flat plate, what that means to the people who live there, and how that influences the tensions of the Cold War. It was fascinating, weird, and fun. The concept was oddly original. 4 of 5 stars.

Rogue Farm: A weird concept of extreme body modification (to the extent of creating communes-in-a-body), and the b
Wonderfully dense introduction to some of Stross's flavors. Loved Trunk and Disorderly (a Jeeves and Woosteresque romp through future from the point of view of a truly dense high society boy who does not understand just why he was sent that butler that day). Quite enjoyed the Lovecraftian fan fiction. Was disturbed by the hard core science fiction.

A recent episode of Geeks Guide to the Galaxy, made the point that much of "realistic" fiction isn't realist
Not too bad a collection, but not the career-defining retrospective that I hoped to read. None of the stories really blew me away. But they were all fairly solid science fiction.

Missile Gap - A bizarre kinda-alternate-history story, with a Big Dumb Object thrown in. Lots of cameos from historical figures, and a weird story-telling structure, make this pretty compelling.

Rogue Farm - A rather funny—and kinda creepy and repulsive—story about baseline humans clashing with post-humans in a strange fu
Titus Fortner
Stross mentions that he likes writing short stories as a way to experiment with style and format to see what works. That being said, I think the raw density of Stross' ideas make it difficult for me to get a handle on the story he is telling before it is over.

There are only two stories in this collection that I especially enjoyed.

The first is "A Colder War," which is the only duplicate with Stross' Toast, which I haven't read, and am not sure if it is a priority for me any longer.

The second sto
De Jan P.
Ovako: Sad mi je dosta!
Prijevod! Je sve!
U ovom slučaju katastrofa!
U nekom djelu, pored pisca, druga važna stavka je prevoditelj.
Nažalost imao sam prilike 5,6 puta susresti (sudariti) se sa prijevodima Marka Fančovića. Iako sam isto toliko puta rekao sam sebi "Nikad više", kad bi vidio njegovo me kao prevoditelja, eto opet njega... A tako sam se radovao Strossu... I pomislih da je čovjek ipak nakon 20 godina svladao koliko-toliko zanat. A ne. Nevjerica, ljutnja, bacanje knjige kroz prozor (skoro)
Britanski autor Charles Stross u ovoj antologiji kratkih priča u integralnom obliku konačno se prikazuje hrvatskoj publici. Bio je dosad objavljivan u Monolithu, kao i Siriusu B (tu sam prvi put naišao na njega s pričom Bit Rot - Propadanje bitova). Autor sam priznaje da ima "nezdravu sklonost Lovecraftu i egzistencijalnom užasu općenito"; a tu je i dašak kafkanijanizma (kukci, birokracija, egzistencijalni užas), te mješavina specifičnog tipa horora i SF-a.

U "Missile gap" ljudi otkrivaju da se
***Dave Hill
I grew up reading SF short stories, mostly from the Gold and Silver Age. That was the primary form of the medium, then, fostered by a healthy SF periodical biz. Now short stories are a lot more uncommon, with novels (and, more importantly, novel series) the primary medium.

Stross demonstrates why that's unfortunate with this 2009 collection of some of his shorts (and an introduction that analyzes quite nicely why the form is so wonderful). While not every tale is a hit out of the park, it is full
All very thought provoking stories. Some of them took me a while to get my mind around, but I did enjoy every word of this book. "Missile Gap" is a particular mind-blower, with the Earth somehow being transported to a flattened disk, outside the Milky Way and in the far future. "A Colder War" has inspired me to put Lovecraft on my "to read" list. I think my favorite was the last, "Palimpsest." A palimpsest is a scroll or book that has had the text scraped off so that it can be reused. In the con ...more
Vickey Foggin
I'd read the story Palimpsest as a stand-alone novella and enjoyed it enough to track down the collection of short stories it was originally published in. This was a fun read with great ideas--I had to stop reading midway through some stories and could not stop thinking about them which is always a good sign. My favourites other than Palimpsest were Down on the Farm, which is about an investigation at a hospital for magical maladies and Unwirer, about pirate wireless internet operators on the la ...more
Aaron Adamson
Generally enjoyed these stories, although more than one of them will throw you for an existential loop after forcing you to contemplate the far, far out future of the human race (we're talking the end of the universe, here).

So don't go to this book for a pick-me-up. Do go to this book if you want to think of the universe in new ways, imagine realities you've never before considered, and be grateful to live in comparatively uninteresting times.

Palimpsest is really the stand-out piece for me, and
Svježe i originalno, puno energije. To mi je bio prvi Stross, ali definitivno ne i zadnji. Moram jedino napomenuti da je prijevod pomalo čudan, rečenice i redoslijed riječi su ostale u duhu engleskog jezika, s te strane štivo nije ugodno za čitanje.
This is a very enjoyable collection of shorts from Stross, a writer I usually enjoy anyway. Of the two longer pieces in the book, Missile Gap and Palimpsest, I probably enjoyed the latter more than the former, with its rather interesting ideas of time travel which seemed to resonate at times with Asimov's 'Eternity' (as in The End of Eternity). Mind you, the Big Dumb Object of the former (a vast disc in space upon which the Earth was 'peeled' and deposited by unknown aliens) was pretty mind-blow ...more
I picked up this book at random at a clearance store, not recognizing the author (yes, I'm kind of out of the loop). The first few lines of the introduction I decided were entertaining enough to risk spending the three dollars on a book of short stories. I have to say I am not at all disappointed, and Charles Stross is now a name I will remember. This collection has a pretty wide variety of stories in it, especially considering it's length. There's a little science fiction, horror, alternate his ...more
Neil Shurley
It's the worlds he creates. Layered, fascinating worlds. In stories like Missile Gap, A Colder War and Palimpsest, he creates strangely familiar yet utterly cold and different realities from our own, worlds so textured I wanted to spend more time exploring them.

This was my first Stross book and it's a mixed bag. I loved the world-building stories mentioned above, but felt left out of some others due to my utter lack of knowledge of Lovecraft. And one story, Trunk and Disorderly, never pulled me
More struggling with short stories on my part. Actually I'm struggling with all fiction at the moment. Of the ten books I read before Wireless, only 1 was fiction, and that was a holiday read.

I finished Wireless impressed with Stross, but not particularly impressed with the collection. I've now read a few of Stross's blog posts and I'm currently following him on Twitter, and I like the guy. He's clearly very smart, and that's evident from the stories themselves too. But I didn't get much out of
Alex Telander
From the author of the Hugo-nominated Saturn’s Children comes a collection of short stories featuring a number of novellas and one previously unpublished work. Wireless kicks off with the strongest in the collection in “Missile Gap”: its 1962 and the Cold War is in full sway with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then something catastrophic happens. Somehow all the continents and oceans of planet Earth are transported across the universe to the Large Magellanic Cloud where everything is situated on ...more
Lesley Battler
I can get pretty sick of my little box of pseudo-reality. When I read a book I want to be challenged; go somewhere I have never travelled, marvel over ideas and concepts I would never find on my own. Charles Stross takes me to those places and this collection is a great sample of his work.

Most of the stories are long, dense and crammed with humour, despair, science, information technology, horror, spy tropes, alternate histories. One could argue that shorter more focused stories could better sho
Feb 06, 2010 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stross fans, hard SF/Space Opera types
Recommended to Terence by: AV Club book review
I defer to my GR Friend Sandi's review here:

She pretty much nails it on the head in my own reactions to the stories in this collection.

"Palimpsest" was definitely my favorite (easily 4-5 stars). Finally, a time-travel story that squarely faces up to the "grandfather paradox"! I almost wish Stross could expand it into a novel as his afterward notes. It reminded me of Asimov's The End Of Eternity SFBC 50th Anniversary Collection, another story about a nearl
Joel Neff
It's always interesting to read single author story collections. As a reader, you can see themes and ideas as they form and interbreed across stories. In fact, that seems to be the point of this collection:

Two of the stories collected here show the origins of Stross' popular Laundry novels. "Colder War" and "Missile Gap" are variations on the ideas of Cthulu, Cold War, alternate history, and ways in which we're all doomed and don't even know it, and how they might all interact in the confines of
If you haven't read any Charles Stross yet, you must. The two best places to start are either Accelerando or Wireless - this short-story collection.

Not all the stories are a hit for me, as not all of Stross's books are, since he has such a widely varied repertoire.

A few are great, though:

The first story, Missile Gap (a Locus Award–winner), is my favorite for the great Cold War setting that is really pretty well executed. It's about the US-USSR conflict transported from boring old Earth onto a di
David Pappas
Although I could not get very far into Wireless before deleting it from my iPod the story ideas appear to be clever enough, but the author is far too self absorbed in his own egotistical warping of clichés and stilted dialogue to infuse much interest into the story for my taste. Its almost like the author is attempting to string together snippets of fuzzy dreams for an audience of one -- himself. Of course everyone's tastes are different as these reviews attest to.
Excellent collection of short stories and novellas by Charlie Stross. If you aren't particularly familiar with Stross, this would be a great set of example work; it definitely shows off his "voice". If you're already a Stross reader, there are probably a few things here you've read before online, but you may not have them bound together, and many of these are excellent choices for a collection. Recommended.

And even if you're a total fan-boy like me, and you've already read almost everything in
Mark Mallett
While I used to read a lot of science fiction, I haven't much in the last decade or more; while I used to read a lot of short stories, I haven't much in the last decade or more. I seem to have stumbled across a bunch of collections lately (short stories, short novels) and at least a couple of SF. This one was quite entertaining; Stross has an impressive imagination that is sometimes projected on a grand scale. The last story, Palimpset, was one of these epics, and I mention it mainly because it ...more
Several of the stories focus on alternate Cold War scenarios, which were interesting to me since I confess I hadn't given much thought to the political machinations of that era. My favourite stories were those like 'Palimpsest' and 'Rogue Farm', which were about relationships more than geopolitics. 'Down on the Farm' has made me want to seek out the Laundry Files books, since I like the idea of magic being a branch of applied mathematics. A fun collection!
This was a great collection of short stories.

Stross has what very few speculative fiction authors have: an actual aptitude for prose. Rather than be like the typical speculative author, who's merely declared a truce with the English language, Stross can use the language as a tool to further his ends of tone, mood, pacing, and atmosphere. He can inhabit many different voices, something that a collection of short stories can really show to good effect. He's more than once sent me scrambling for t
Extremely enjoyable collection of Stross' work--I particularly enjoyed Missile Gap, the first short story/novella. One of the things I love about Charles Stross is how he always tosses in loads of references to other books and authors: in-jokes are my thing.

The only real weakness here is the last novella, Palimpsest. I'm definitely not as smart as the author, and I never was one for the time-traveling branch of sci-fi (more the space-opera, far-future, or military branches for me). I felt like
This is a varied collection of mostly excellent recent stories by Charles Stross. In particular, it is worth calling out "Missile Gap" which won the Locus Award for novella in 2007, and "Palimpsest" which won the Hugo Award for novella in 2010. Several other of the stories were nominated for awards as well. The one which fell flat for me was "Trunk and Disorderly" which was an attempt at a smarmy style of humor I don't care for. Full content list is:

Missile Gap
Rogue Farm
A Colder War
Down On
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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) Singularity Sky (Eschaton, #1) Halting State Glasshouse

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