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Neptune's Brood

(Freyaverse #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  5,437 ratings  ·  517 reviews
Krina Alizond is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans became extinct five thousand years ago. When her sister goes missing she embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her, travelling to her last known location - the mysterious water-world of Shin-Tethys.

In a universe with no faster-than-light travel that's a dangerous journey, made all
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Ace (first published July 1st 2013)
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Andrew Definitely. It's set several thousand years later, and while there are some minor details that reading Saturn's Children might help with, it's not at all necessary.
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's not for everyone, but I personally love financial sci-fi stories. Mr. Stross blew my mind with Accelerando, but the merchant novels were quite good as well, and one should never forget Rule 34. In fact, I've been enjoying a lot of financial chicanery novels over the last decade and a half. Like I said, it's not for everyone, but it is for the type of person who loves a good heist novel with huge-scale grifters and con-men.

Make no mistake, it's a heist novel, but it happens to be populated
Tom Lee
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Charles Stross is brilliant and prolific and maybe a bit lazy. That's the best explanation I have for books like Neptune's Brood. It seems clear from his prose and his blog that he gets seized by an idea (this novel starts with a quote from David Graeber's book about debt) and then rapidly cranks out a story on top of whatever intellectual scaffolding emerges from his brilliant noodling. The approach prioritizes creativity over craft, and I find it kind of irksome.

This is a shitty novel. The pro
Peter Tillman
Review from my 2019 reread:
4.5 stars, and by far Stross's finest and most successful "space opera", he calls it (or the publisher did). What it is, is a semi-rigorous exploration of how a much-slower-than-light interstellar civilization & expansion could actually work. I'm not at all sure that it actually would, and I'm not sure why Stross made the process so expensive -- ordinarily, tech stuff gets cheaper, often a LOT cheaper, as progress is made. Stross for some reason posits that scientific
This book is drunk.

But like, bear with me and stuff, k? Because there are different types of drunk, and analogously speaking, this is one of the better ones. I’m not talking about one of those slurry, messy drunks, where you couldn’t find your own ass if somebody paid you to. And I’m not talking about mean drunks or black-out drunks or any of those other kinds of drunks that basically make you temporarily worthless as a human being. This is the kind of drunk where you’re only drunk enough to sa
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm a Stross devotee, and, as usual, I devoured this book almost immediately. And while the book isn't a failure — quite the opposite! — I can't help but feel disappointed.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who's read a Stross book before that he is, to say the least, good at futuristic finance. In just about all of his books, there is, inevitably, an creative, fascinating new economy on display, one perfectly matched to the far-flung worlds of tomorrow yet entirely unexpected. From the Ec
Kara Babcock
Space is big. Hugely, mind-bogglingly big. Travelling across the vast distances of space is daunting, especially if faster-than-light travel proves impossible. In Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross rejects the luxuries of hyperdrive or warp speed in favour of good, old-fashioned laser-based transmissions of data—and people, who are just another type of data, after all. In such a universe, debt and the tracking of it is of great importance.

Krina Alizond-114 has travelled to the Dojima System to meet
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interstellar Nigerian scammers, post-human mermaids, robot pirate space-bats
The Big Idea behind Neptune's Brood should immediately grab your interest: in a far, far future in which the android descendants of humanity have colonized the stars but not broken the light-speed barrier, the interstellar equivalent of the Nigerian 419 Scam is still going around.

Add to that: space mermaids, pirate spacebats, and robot assassins, and Neptune's Brood should have been fifteen kinds of awesome.

Alas, Stross, who is a clever, clever guy, drowned a lot of the awesome in monologues abo
Jun 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I received the first 100 pages of this book as part of the Hugo voters packet, but I only made it to page 46.

Harlan Ellison once used the phrase 'obscurantist drivel.' A bit harsh maybe, but that's the phrase that kept occurring to me as I was reading. I don't mind dense writing and detailed worldbuilding - Dune is one of my all-time favorites, after all - but it seems like Stross is dense just to be dense. Like he thinks his world will seem more rich for being incomprehensible. His writing is f
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Abandoning 212 pages in. At first I thought this was so much better than Saturn's Children - fast-paced, interesting story, funny at times, creative setting within the freyaverse, pre-established. I was really into it for 95 pages. Then the author decided to stop writing the story and instead, went on and on about the economic system he'd created. He really wants the reader to understand his concept of Slow Money. I got it. I wanted to move on and tell me more during the story. But he kept stopp ...more
Megan Baxter
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
First of, I didn't realize until I had it out of the library that I had, yet again, managed to pick up a series midway through. I'm trying to get better at that - realizing it earlier and going back to read earlier books rather than diving in around the midpoint. However, it looked like this book, while it existed in the same universe as a previous book, happened about 400 years later. I figured that I could probably managed to muddle along.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to
Tudor Ciocarlie
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An extremely intelligent novel and an utterly brilliant read. Stross, for the first time in the history of science-fiction, really thinks about the economics of the interstellar travel and outer system colonization, and builds around it a fun and intelligent story. This is pure science-fiction at its best; with Neptune's Brood, Stross wrote possibly the best book of his incredibly diverse career. ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, sci-fi
This is Stross's Strossiest book since Accelerando. The Big Ideas are still there, but this time instead of Singularitarian enthusiasm and terror, Stross has woven a thriller about the intricacies of interstellar finance. Nominally a sequel to Saturn's Children, it is both much better and stands entirely on its own.

It's the deep future, and humanity is long-dead, replaced by robot with nanotech bodies and very human minds (messing with autonomic nervous systems tends to wind up in bad ways). Kri
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Stross is getting better with each book. This post-human adventure is crammed full of clever, inventive, detailed habitats, spaceships, societies and their denizens. And it's a fun and exciting ride. ...more
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I had to push through this, which is not usually the way a Stross hits my brain. Still enjoyable. I will file with Stephenson's Baroque Cycle under "fiction with a surprising amount of banking-related content." ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a rare thing – a financial SF novel. Formally it is the second volume of Freyaverse series, the first being Saturn's Children, but it shares none of the characters of note and happens millennia later. I read is as a part of monthly reading for February 2021 at Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group. The novel was nominated for Hugo in 2014, lost to Ancillary Justice and came 2nd, even if initially it was 5th (out of 6) nominees. I guess its strong result were largely based on the author ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Charles Stross is a genius. In "Saturn's Children" and "Neptune's Brood" he has created a universe of everyday surreality populated by metahumans. Who else could possibly dream up a mindbendingly, superfast space opera centred round interstellar banking, bit coinage and accounting? Who else would dream of establishing such a glorious adventure on a Ponzi scheme? Indeed, who else would make a scholar of the historiography of accountancy the heroine of this universe peopled with "robotised" exoske ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Woo, this was a rough one. I admire Charles Stross as a writer in terms of his prose, which is still mostly excellent, and his worldbuilding. You know how some people will say to an author "oh you're so imaginative!" and it always sounds so trite (at least to me, since we all have the potential to be imaginative)? Well, Charles Stross is one of those guys where it would be entirely appropriate. There is a lot of weird stuff going on here, starting with the space-going chapel. The bat insurance u ...more
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Abandoned reading this mess of a book. Two stars only because I like that Stross tried, however poorly, to explore economics in speculative fiction.
“Gideon” Dave Newell
This fast-paced story combines the fascinating post-human robo-society of Stross’s earlier “Saturn’s Children” with an intriguing thesis that even over interstellar distances, the Almighty Dollar is the greatest force in nature. I found it hard to decide if this later was a satiric extreme or a natural progression of macroeconomics. Stross argues that human curiosity, cooperative aspirations, and other trite SF notions for the expansion of civilization into the stars are all naively ignoring the ...more
Paige Ellen Stone
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Simply, utterly brilliant storytelling and writing from one of the best "hard" sci-fi writers of our day. In the midst of telling a compelling story of the future of humans millenia from now, Stross tackles, invents, whatever, the future of intergalactic monetary systems in a time when bank transfers can take years (standard time) to be completed. Humans are no longer "Fragile" but are bio-nano technological wonders who can have many "iterations," sometimes several at once, if desired.
This is a
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I would have enjoyed this book more if I had begun reading at Part II.

Part I: Incoming (1 star, noting that my reason for one star will be someone else's reason for five.)

The imagry was repellant. For the first 100 pages you are immersed in an H.L. Geiger painting (*shivers*). The writing style that said "this book is only for uber-intelligent readers" was at first amusing, playing to the readers pride that they get all the obscure stuff - but after 50 pages I was tired and annoyed, and the stor
John Carter McKnight
Solid Stross, more reminiscent of Accelerando than his books of the past 5 years or so. Set in the same universe as Saturn's Children, but not a sequel... unfortunately.

It may be that one can like Saturn's or Neptune's, but not both: I'll be interested to hear what other Stross fans have to say. Neptune's is clever, tightly plotted, with a much more tidy ending than Stross tends to. My problem was, after the Church-starship arrived at its destination about 80 pp in, I just didn't care anymore.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Eric by: Chris Bauer
This is the second thing I have tried reading by Charles Stross. Both this and The Rapture of the Nerds, which Stross co-wrote with Cory Doctorow, were other people's book club picks, and I had similar reactions to both. They were just too weird for me, and I didn't finish either. When you combine the space travel, the metahumans, the elaborate system of currency linked with time, the flying spaceship temple, the pirate insurance agents, etc., it just became too much to wrap my head around. And ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible conceit, world-building, and twisty plot. One of the most imaginative novels I've read in a while. ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Policy wonks
Recommended to Alan by: Its whiz-bang predecessor
Although Neptune's Brood is nominally a sequel to Charles Stross' late-period Heinlein homage Saturn's Children, and the books are set in more-or-less the same universe, there are otherwise few similarities between the two. As if aping its namesake planet, Neptune's Brood is both colder and more remote than its predecessor. This shows up in several ways—physically (Saturn's Children was cozily confined almost entirely to our own Solar System, but its successor is set in multiple star systems, no ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Still 3 stars, as it is good in the grand scheme of things, but I am currently battling hard with myself whether I want to ever read a Stross again:

the reason being that I start to think that Charles Stross is just taking the piss: I recently read his thoughts on this book and am currently not sure whether I think Charles is just more honest than other authors or an extremely unlikable arrogant rip-off.
He basically admits that the book was rushed, written for money only, the plot not very well t
Johan Haneveld
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
8 Charles Stross has a peculiar style that can turn some readers away. Looking at the reviews on Goodreads I see a strong 'love it or hate it'-reaction going on, with some readers taken away by the book and others very critical and harsh in their opinions. I confess that even thoug I can see some flaws in Stross's work, I am firmly in the camp that likes his way of telling stories. Stross is an unapologetically pulpy author, not shying away from action and adventure in his novels, some sexual te ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Krina Alizond is an itinerant scholar, a student of economics in an interstellar (but STL) posthuman civilization. That's "posthuman" in the literal sense; metahumanity does not have access to infinite resources, unbounded intelligence, or godlike abilities. They're just the folks who hung around after homo sapiens went extinct. They're somewhat tougher and much more radiation-resistant than us, which makes interstellar colonization possible -- though still a royal pain in the ass. And expensive ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not at the same level as Saturn's Children...largely due to the main character having pretty much 0 personality or internal dialogue.

The water world setting was unique, but underutilized. The first third on the Church-ship was better than the rest. The space battle at the end was too abbreviated to be satisfyingly climactic, the end itself was such a hard stop I almost fell out of my seat; literally not a single word of denouement.

Stross is occasionally inventive as ever, but many of the best id
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I usually buy Charlie Stross's stuff as soon as it appears, but I held off Neptune's Brood as the previous in this series, Saturn's Children, really did not appeal to me at all.

However, Neptune's Breed proved to be much more to my taste. Set in the sane post-human world, but thousands of years later with, as far as I can see, no overlapping characters from the previous book, Neptune's Brood has all Stross's usual excellent world-building and meditations on how things /really/ work, but a pace ju
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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.


Other books in the series

Freyaverse (2 books)
  • Saturn's Children (Freyaverse #1)

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