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Book Review: Halting State - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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May 29th, 2008

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11:46 pm - Book Review: Halting State
I recently finished Charles Stross' latest novel Halting State. It was a significant departure from my typical reading fare – my preferences run to settings are typically as far removed from the present day as possible, with a special interest in well-done modern space opera. This is anything but that – it's a near future detective thriller set 9 years in the future. It's worth noting that it's set in a remarkably believable future – personal electronics are significantly more advanced, gas prices are significantly higher, the EU and China are two of the major world powers, and on the surface society looks much like it does today. I'd be honestly surprised if 2017 doesn't look much like Stross depicts.

In any case, it's both an unusual and an excellent novel. Unusual in that it's one of the very few novels that I've ever read that was written exclusively in second person. This rather odd choice actually works exceptionally well in that it helps ground the reader in the characters and setting and reinforces the feeling of familiarity. It's perhaps also worth noting that despite the fact that I'm never played an MMORPG and the book has a great deal to do with them (the plot starts off with the local police being called in to deal with the robbery of a bank in an MMORPG), I loved the book. The characters are excellent, the plot is suitably complex and twisty while still making perfect sense, and I highly recommend it and consider it one of Stross' best works.

As a largely unrelated sidenote, it's rather odd writing a review of a book knowing that the author reads my lj - such is the future we live in now.
Current Mood: busybusy

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[User Picture]
Date:May 30th, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
I love the future we live in now. I love the fact that one can read a book and then read the author's blog wherein on might find the seeds of future books and sometimes even communicate directly with the author.

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