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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Accelerando

Copyright 2005 by Charles Stross

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Superb (4/5)

I first read this on the 5th June 2006.

The natural intelligence of humankind plus the rapidly accelerating growth of artificial intelligences finally reach a critical mass of intelligence density. This triggers an exponential increase as intelligent systems breed like bacteria throughout the Solar System.

Manfred Macx is something of an eccentric genius. He puts people together with the ideas they need to trigger new discoveries, inventions and fortunes. He doesn't need the money himself - he's content to exist on the largesse of those he's helped.

He's there at the start of the intelligence revolution. It is his vision and his ideas that will trigger it in the early 21st century.

He'll see his daughter rule an empire in the asteroid belt.

He'll be there at the end when the planets and asteroids of the Solar System have been devoured in the search for material and energy; when the aliens have been met and defeated; when empires have risen and fallen; when humanity has travelled across the galaxy and finally returned home.

You thought that the twentieth Century was a time of accelerating discovery and innovation. Maybe so, but you ain't seen nothing yet. You have no idea how fast it is going to get in the 21st. Charles Stross describes the incredible changes that will hit us in the 21st Century. You'll be with Manfred Macx and his family: Pamela his ex-wife, Annette his girl-friend, his daughter Amber and her son Sirhan and of course Aineko his robot cat. You'll have the most exhilarating ride through the future as AI processing power exceeds 10,000 times the total human intelligence in the Solar System, and continues to roar on past, accelerating still.

That's probably a totally misleading summary of this brilliant, tightly-plotted, tense, exhilerating rocket-ride of a novel.

There's a real rush in his descriptions of increasing computational capability. And with respectful homage to Vernor Vinge, of course.

It's a prodigious achievement, I loved it (even if it is really 9 short stories pasted together).

Loaded on the 25th January 2007.
    
Cover of Accelerando
Cover by Getty Images and TWBG: Peter Cotton

Reviews of other work by Charles Stross
Iron Sunrise
Glasshouse
Saturn's Children