Book Review : Accelerando by Charles Stross

Cover for the book Accelerando by Charles StrossManfred Macx is a man with a mission, trying to drag the world kicking and screaming his vision of the 21st century – a vision that includes artificial sentience and the end of scarcity. But even he can’t predict the changes that the exponential increase in technological acceleration will wreak on society. And that is not even taking into account the mysterious alien signal humanity has just received…

Accelerando is a fragmented novel (really a collection of closely linked short stories) of the near future, filled to the brim with amusing ideas and clever twists. I had never taken the idea of the technological singularity very seriously, history doesn’t really work that way but neither does the plot of Accelerando – the whole novel is written in a very tongue-in-cheek style that simply moves too quickly for the reader to think about things too much. Stross should really write for television, he is a master of introducing vast concepts to the audience with only a few lines of expository dialog.

The characters of Accelerando are all ridiculously over-the-top however this suits the story well. It took me a little while to get into mindset the novel demands but after a while I found myself really enjoying the crazy ride, bad puns mock-pretentious allusions and all. Perhaps it starts to get a few speed wobbles near the end but Accelerando is a very enjoyable read.

Recommended if you like this sort of thing.