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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  2,908 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Science fiction guru Charles Stross "sizzles with ideas" ("Denver Post") in his first major short story collection.
The Hugo Award-winning author of such groundbreaking and innovative novels as "Accelerando, Halting State," and "Saturn's Children" delivers a rich selection of speculative fiction- including a novella original to this volume- brought together for the first
Hardcover, First US Edition, 352 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Ace Books (first published July 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  2,908 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Richard Derus
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Science fiction guru Charles Stross "sizzles with ideas" (Denver Post) in his first major short story collection.

The Hugo Award-winning author of such groundbreaking and innovative novels as Accelerando, Halting State, and Saturn's Children delivers a rich selection of speculative fiction- including a novella original to this volume- brought together for the first time in one collection, showcasing the limitless imagination of one of the twenty-first century
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't 'like' many of these stories, but they were well written with wild landscapes & interesting points. The first few were plain depressing, others were funny, & the last one just pains me in its complexity. Not what I expected, but fascinating. I can't say I really look forward to reading more by him, but at some point will probably read The Atrocity Archives since one of these stories was in the same universe. Anyone who can blend SF & Lovecraftian horrors together this well deserves my a ...more
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Peter Tillman
This is Stross's most recent collection (of 2), in the time when he was giving staid old SF some well-needed kicks in the pants. An exceptionally good collection: 4.5 stars.

WIRELESS is bookended by two 5-star novellas: "Missile Gap" (2005) and "Palimpsest" (2009), first publication here. The latter won the 2010 Hugo. Somehow I'd never read it, and boy is it a winner. It's a rewrite of Asimov's classic "The End of Eternity" -- which I figured out for myself (honest!), and just confirmed at https:
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
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. ...more
Steven Cole
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Johan Haneveld
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had read a couple of short stories by Charles Stross online and read some of his commentary which I found insightful, so I looked forward to reading more by him. I was not disappointed, even though I would have wished more stories here (maybe a bit shorter?) so the collection would have been even more diverse. Even so there's a bit for everyone here. The opening story had a gonzo concept: the surface of the earth at the height of the cold war flattened out as part of an enormous disc, surround ...more
There are some interesting science ideas here, but they're outweighed for me by the endless male gaze, authorial smugness, and oddly retro obsession with the Cold War. Charles Stross, I have concluded, is not my thing. ...more
Guy Haley
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
There is no denying Stross’ credentials. He holds twin degrees, one in pharmacy, the other in computer sciences. This colours his work to a great degree, in a positive way. There are precious few writers out there who can convincingly utilise the terminology of both biology and IT; there’s deep science in what Stross writes.

However, there’s a degree of narrowness to his concerns. Many of his stories obsess over Cold War style spy-jinks, codenames clutter the prose whether he’s giving us a Lovecr
McGrouchpants. McGrouchpants!
A real head-stretcher, this collection of stories will put you in the mindframe of thinking of many things at once: Sort of like surfing the Internet to find out an indie label's history while getting your new browser to work like an air conditioner you have to smack on the side to get right, or TV whose picture keeps rolling until you thump it. Sound confusing? It isn't; it's just that the multilayered world we live in calls for a Strossian (which is, to my mind, post-Pynchonian) integration of ...more
Good collection of scifi short stories, including one from the Laundry Files (which I'd already read as a separate ebook). Some of these were mindbending. As always with Stross, I skimmed all of the technobabble and jargon. :) ...more
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A good range of stories in different styles, though many with similar themes.
If you like their novels, go for it.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to be upfront about something – I like anthologies of all sorts. As Stross himself puts it they really are perfect for SF writers when you want to explore ideas but don't really have the time to write a novel about it which could take much longer to complete. Additionally, anthologies make it easy for anyone discussing them to not really go into excruciating detail and analysis because, well, they're collections of stories so you can just give an overall impression and summary of individu ...more
Lesley Battler
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: keeper
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
Titus Fortner
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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
***Dave Hill
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: text
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
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
Tim Hicks
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This collection has a very wide range of stories, so much that if you liked or disliked one of them, you can't predict how you'll feel about the others. There are some wild ideas, and in some cases a high density of ideas. Maybe a little too much of the stunned observer having things happen to him, but many, many authors use that. I enjoyed it.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, collection
Stross writes engaging SF, and this is a collection of his longer and shorter short SF. A range of sometimes related stories, most of which I would like to see in a novel. Complicated, a second read would be worthwhile just to work through all the permutations. Normally, not a fan of the short story, but willing to make an exception here.
Tim Poston
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Favourite short quote:

"and my herpetologist is having another sex change,"
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Great insight to Stross style and ideas. If you like it , then progress to novels :). I like his mixing of different genres, for example Sci-Fi story with Lovecraft monsters thrown in.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: english
Short-story collection, hence individual reviews.

3/5 for both "Missile Gap" and "A Colder War": Two very similar stories in style, scope and quality, though distinct enough in their specifics. Both set up very interesting premises and do solid world-building, but suffer from too many too weak characters, and the author loves his spy drama tropes too much for his own stories' good. The best part of "Missile Gap" was certainly the Soviet exploration ship on a five-year mission.

3/5 for "Rogue Farm"
I've enjoyed all the Stross novels I have read, so I am a bit surprised at what a mixed bag this collection is. The best story, perhaps, is actually the one Stross cowrote with Cory Doctorow, "Unwirer," a sort of alternate history about wifi signal pirating, which is unexceptional but solid. Stross also manages a rather amusing variation on the extremely worn cliche of the deal with the devil story in "Snowball's Chance," for which he certainly gets points. Other stories have interesting compone ...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Palimpsest was, no joke, the best time travel story I've ever been exposed to in my entire life, and time travel is one of my special interests out of the genre. I've read some of Stross' short works before and knew his ability to really run with far out ideas but this was truly masterful stuff. I appreciate the bit in the intro and the end where he weighs the pros and cons of the length of fiction and how it works into a writer's decisions on what to do.

Wouldn't read again but would recommend
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
"Palimpsest" absolutely blew me away. I would love to see this as a full length novel as Charlie alluded to in the postscript. A story on the scale of the wonderful "Accelerando".

The others were a mixed bag. I'm not at all a fan of the Laundry series, so I ended up skipping that story entirely. The others had some interesting ideas and but were ultimately unsatisfying.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Summary: A good set of short stories, some better than others all 3 or 4 stars. They don't all quite make sense but overall no hesitation in recommending if you like Charles Stross stories and like the short story format
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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.


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