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Singularity Sky

(Eschaton #1)

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  13,278 ratings  ·  525 reviews
In the twenty-first century man created the Eschaton, a sentient artificial intelligence. It pushed Earth through the greatest technological evolution ever known, while warning that time travel is forbidden, and transgressors will be eliminated.

Distant descendants of this ultra high-tech Earth live in parochial simplicity on the far-flung worlds of the New Republic. Their
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Mass Market Paperback, 389 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Orbit (UK) (first published August 5th 2003)
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Popular Answered Questions
Brad Guy Only very advanced civilizations may use time travel. Nothing so primitive as us mere humans. If we try, we get extinct, yesterday.
Lewis Cunningham Adult. Maybe young adult but definitely an age that understands basic adult interactions.

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
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Scott
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Thousands of phones start falling from the sky all over your town, scarred and melted from entry into the atmosphere. They litter the streets, sit on roofs and leave dents in parked cars. You pick one up – an old Nokia 3210 - and a strange voice answers - "Entertain us, and we will give you what you want.”

Tell the voice a story, a scientific theory or a joke and it will grant you your every material wish, giving you food, weapons, cybernetic augmentations, a house, or even a cornucopia - a machi
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Stephen
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)
Peter Tillman
2020 reread notes:
A great debut, better than I remembered. Lots of cool details: Nuclear-powered steam locomotives! MiG battle cruisers! The looming threat of the Eschaton.... Rachel Mansour, Special Agent for Earth's UN-SIG: "If the Big E decided to pop the primary here, we'd need to evacuate 50 star systems!"
“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.”
This is a first novel, wi
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Apatt
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Lee
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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Noah M.
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
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.

T
...more
thefourthvine
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: time-travel, sff, hard-sff
Okay, so the opening of this book is really damn solid: telephones raining down from the sky on a repressed backwater colony world, all of which say, "Entertain us." And from there it's all a bit...standard. And dull.

I get this feeling from Stross every time I read him, which is that he has great ideas in isolation, but no way to string them together to form an interesting and novel setting, culture, world, universe. Or plot. So what you get is a very standard book with some extremely shiny frip
...more
Kara 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
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. 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
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prcardi
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 5/5

Far future military space opera with dazzling technological advances engendering far-reaching social and political transformations - this is science fiction I like. Stross's Singularity Sky fits right between Ian M. Banks (author of what is my favorite science fiction series) and Ken MacLeod (techno-heavy political revolution sci fi that never quite worked for me). These three all engage with radical politics as it would look in the future
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Costin Manda
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Charles Stross has a penchant for thinking big and then bringing that to the level of the average reader by the aid of pulp. That is why he is often discussing philosophical questions like what the world will be after millennia and what the consequences of time travel are or what if the Old Gods and magic were actually real in the context of a particularly handy tech guy who falls very easily in love and then spends the rest of the book saving the world and serving the one he loves. He is also a ...more
Bill Purdy
Mar 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
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Emanuel Landeholm
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-sff
“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
Adam
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunkery
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
Drsilent
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a funny little sci-fi book.

On the one hand, it bears many of the hallmarks of your typical "hard sci-fi" yarn. There is exotic physics aplenty, interstellar faster-than-light travel, the eponymous technological singularity (several of them in fact), a diaspora of humanity civilizations across the galaxy.

The characters that inhabit this world are more difficult to label. There are two Earthlings, one male engineer and one female operative, which the reader is clearly meant to identify wi
...more
Tim Hicks
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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 ha
...more
Tomislav
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Some years ago, the term space opera was used only pejoratively to describe overblown tales of cosmic conflict, full of space navies and deep space battles. Maybe it was Star Trek that first changed that perception, but these days space opera is a more legitimate subgenre - although still not exactly where you would look for an award-nominated stand-alone novel. But Singularity Sky takes space opera to a new level. Yes, there are space navies and deep space battles, but Stross does it with tongu ...more
Bookbrow
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another good read from a British Sci Fi writer. Enjoyed this one.
Brendan
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, book-club, 2010, scifi
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
Andrew
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
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
...more
“Gideon” Dave Newell
There seems to be an uncomfortable amount of bashing the Russian Revolution in the themes found here. A brittle authoritarian monarchy with a deep distrust of post-industrial technology is confronted by an external visitor that turns everything in their society on its head with a deluge of free information. When undercover agents from a freer, more liberal and technologically advanced society insert themselves into the military response, it’s hard not to think of cold war cat-and-mouse thrillers ...more
Jacqie
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Burnam-Fink
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2014
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 Festival, a self-replicating interstellar civilization that trades radical cyborg enhancements and nanotech ...more
Tasula
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Engineer Martin Springfield is working on a space warship in the repressive, technophobic New Republic, when Rochard's World is attacked by Festival, and the ship is sent to defend Rochard's. On the way he meets Rachel Mansour, a UN representative from Earth. As the story unfolds, we find out what Martin's and Rachel's real jobs are. Meanwhile, Burya Rubenstein on Rochard's is trying to foment rebellion, when Festival starts changing everything on that planet. They start by dropping phones, whic ...more
Jamie
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Wonderfully crafted hard sci-fi that's fun and engaging.

Stross creates a fascinating far future world filled with some very cool visions of post-Singularity civilization among the stars. The story is essentially a crazy clash of civilizations "space opera", with battle scenes and suspense aplenty, plus frequent doses of wit and levity and occasional wackiness that make this a pleasure to read.

It's got many of the same ingredients that I love from Iain M. Banks' Culture series, though
...more
Nicky
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
...more
George
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed-blog
I recently came upon Stross' story about the genesis of the book and one of the quotes says it all:
SS was quirky but not brilliantly plotted — a lot of crap ended up on the cutting room floor (equal to 140% of the final word count of the finished novel).

Maybe he should have cut even more...
Full review on my blog (in Romanian).
...more
Mitchell
A bit uneven but still a typically brilliant Stross sf. This one is in a singularity (Eschaton) based universe. The ideas are intriguing but weird - in both the technologies and the society itself. It is not one of Stross's better books, and it is one of his earlier ones, but I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Jason Kelley
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
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4,829 followers
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.

SF
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Other books in the series

Eschaton (2 books)
  • Iron Sunrise (Eschaton, #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.”
13 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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