John Carter McKnight's Reviews > Rule 34

Rule 34 by Charles Stross
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's review
Jul 05, 2011

liked it

Stross's weakest work in a long time. Sequel to the brilliant _Halting State_, this lacks the unleashed imagination, the gleeful sense of wonder, however twisted, that make reading Stross so much fun.

It's written in a nearly impenetrable mix of Scottish dialect and internet meme-speak: I found myself wanting to turn on subtitles, or read the wikified version.

I have to wonder if the future has just become tedious and pedestrian since 2007, or if Stross has just gotten bored. I'm inclined to assign some blame to the former: with nanotech and virtual worlds as dead as space travel, all that's left to write about is a dismal panotpicon where you can't tell the state from corporations from organized crime.

I *know* that's what's ahead: I don't need a novelist to tell me. Stross instead has delivered a bog-standard police procedural from 20 years from now. It's well done, although Stross fans will have identified the perp by about 20 pages in.

If Stross's message is that the future's just not *cool* anymore, once it's translated from the Scotlandish, it's received loud and clear.
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Comments (showing 1-2)

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Nick Cato I actually enjoyed this a bit more than HALTING STATE *because* the technobabble wasn't as up-front: it reminded me of Gibson's NEUROMANCER in that you're expected to accept the technology that's already in place.

Patrick To be honest, I find the technobabble a fairly constant irritation with Stross's books (It would help to make more allowances for readers who don't instantly know what a VM, or even a sockpuppet, is. But I thought it was at least more sparingly used than in Halting State

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