Saturday, July 12, 2008

HaltinG StatE

Charles Stross
Ace Books
ISBN: 978-0-441-01498-9

The latest in my light summer reading series is a cyberpunk novel. You will note the cool, trendy, inappropriate capitalization in the title. It has a blurb from William Gibson on the cover. William Gibson is the Pete Seeger of cyberpunk. All the cyberpunks go to him for his blessing, just like the folkies get their records blessed by Pete.

Halting State is a near-future novel. One in which, not surprisingly, the internet has penetrated every facet of people's lives. It starts with a virtual reality bank robbery committed by a bunch of orcs and a dragon. The poor non-gaming cop, in Edinburgh, Scotland of all places, who takes the call, is nonplussed, even though she wears he interfacing glasses and operates in "cop space" all the time. Everyone wears these glasses that give them access to GPS, their address book, email, virual reality games, etc. through their web 3.whatever mobile phones. Cops have their own channel which gives personal information, including rap sheets, of everyone everywhere.

There is a bit of fantasy roll playing, some techophiliac nerdlings, a bit of international intrigue, some cyber crime, quite a lot of action and violence, a touch of love, a bit of implied sex, tastefully handled in a 1940 Hollywood sort of way, something for everyone. I particularly liked the way people were slightly disoriented when the net went down and they didn't have their GPS stream telling them were they were. Just think 20 years ago people could find the bus stop on their own.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well. Charles Stross is an entertaining author.

  2. wow this sounds funny! I feeel as though we'd all go into cardiac arrest if we lost our cell phones and GPS.

  3. Always looking for something different. I'm glad I stopped by. I'll add this one to my list it looks amusing. I don't get whether you really thought it very good or not but you bothered to give it a post so I would imagine in the absence of scathing comments that you did enjoy it. Thanks! ;)


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