Monday, November 14, 2005

As nerdy as I want to be

In addition to vampire stories, I like hard science fiction stories. I picked up a book by Charles Stross called the Family Trade at the library yesterday. I was torn because the reviewers compared to Zelazny's Princes in Amber books. I read the first of that series and found it flat out boring. On the other hand, Stross wrote Singularity Sky, which is awesome hard sf. Anyway, no risk since it was the library and I now am willing to reject a book if it is not exciting in the first 50 pages.

Stross, in his sf mode, incorporates interesting technological evolution (or if you prefer, technological intelligent design) with the related social evolution. I'm always annoyed by sf books that create worlds with vast new technologies allowing huge changes in social interaction, but somehow the political/social structure is basically the same as ours. Worse, some authors make the future into some kind of futuristic nineteenth century where nationalistic great powers fight with spaceships. People like Iain Banks, Ken MacLeod, and Alaistair Reynolds do a great job of blending social and technological change, all while telling compelling stories.

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