Ahmed's Reviews > Saturn's Children

Saturn's Children by Charles Stross
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it was amazing

It seems the books I finish—i.e., the books I enjoy—I can’t usually recommend to others confidently. There’s a lot of really cool stuff here, and weirdly packaged. Charles Stross, the author, seems to be a computer–Japan–astrophysics nerd, and people like that are frequently lovable in real life but can produce stilted writing (the bits of Neal Stephenson I’ve read come to mind)—but all the storytelling elements Saturn’s Children were just perfect:
“I find her personality annoying. It’s like being [not forcefully] molested by a sleeping bag that speaks in Comic Sans with little love-hearts over the i’s.”
“Now let me tell you about nuclear space rockets: They’re shit. And I hate them.”
“Slowing time is shit. Aristo-class travel in the outer solar system is shit. Nuclear-powered space liners are shit. Two-timing scumbags who’re in love with my elder sister are shit.
I can see people loving and hating this—I’m glad to be firmly in the former camp!

I’ve been dismayed to find that it takes just a touch of a lack of verisimilitude in depiction of AI to hopelessly lose me in the chasms of cognitive dissonance. (You try being a researcher in machine learning, and squeezing a tiny bit of classification performance out of a stupid dataset with some algorithm that takes twenty pages of math and thousands of lines of code to describe, and see if it sours you on lazy speculative fiction writers and their stupid handwavium.) Saturn’s Children for reasons not quite understood didn’t induce any such seasickness.

The main leap of faith I personally had to make was that all organic lifeforms went extinct after the robureaucrats running the planet stopped climate maintenance after humans went and died out. Deinococcus radiodurans and her extremophile cousins, comfortable even in the chill of interplanetary space, laugh at your boiling oceans. I focused on the story and swallowed this little lie to enjoy the ride. I will be reading more of Stross.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 6, 2016 – Finished Reading
February 10, 2016 – Shelved

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