Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Iron Sunrise, by Charles Stross

Iron Sunrise, by Charles Stross

I picked this up because I wanted something light to read on the plane. It had been a while since I’d read any hard science-fiction, and this looked interesting. About a quarter of the way in it became clear this wasn’t the first book in this universe (something not noted on the book jacket) but it was written well enough it didn’t matter.

While set in the far future, it had a noir feeling to me — instead of being set on a spaceship cruising between stars I could easily invoke the image of a train traveling in the dead of night, and the bad guys were thinly-disguised copies of Nazis. Even the names invoke images of the past: Frank the Nose, Martin Springfield and Rachel Mansour, and U. Franz Bergman.

A great speech comes towards the end by the lead rogue: “Everybody thinks they are doing the right thing, kid. All the time. It is about the only rule that explains how fucked-up this universe is. Nobody is a villain in their own head, are they? We all know we’re doing the right thing, which is why we’re in this mess.” I recently was in a discussion on the definition of evil; this sums it up well!

All-in-all, not a bad read.

First Sentence:
Just outside the expanding light cone of the present a star died, iron-bombed.

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