Accelerando - Charles Stross

Wow. Quite a book. The story is the end of humanity. Not it being wiped out, just it changing into something else. The first section of the book covers a not-too-distant future of rapid technological change as thought augmentation starts to take off. The main character, Manfred Macx is some kind of riff on Cory-Doctorow-style bloggers, jet-setting all over the place and wearing silly geeky glasses (in this case, they're displays for primitive thought augmentation). Manfred specializes in being a catalyst for new technologies, helping to bring about the exponential rate of change. It's a breathtaking rate of change at that. Reading it on the train into London, and getting on the tube, London seemed slow-paced. This section's full of technology which I want.

That section's called 'Slow Takeoff'. It gives you an impression of the rate of change. By the end of the book, pretty much everything's unrecognisable, a vast amount has happened and the scales involved are pretty unimaginable. It's got traces of Gibson, Egan and Vinge. It's got references to all kinds of things woven throughout it. I think you'd need a guidebook to it to pick up all the refences.

The book's much better than the rather enjoyable Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise. The first third of the book, 'Slow Takeoff', is definitely my favourite section - the cyberpunk fan in me coming out, there - and it's not going to suddenly become my favourite book ever, but still... wow.

Posted 2006-08-25.