Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturns Children

By Charles Stross

Oleg lent me this one, as he did with all the Charles Stross novels I've read of late. He thought perhaps it was the best of the four Stross books he'd read at that point and now, having caught up to this book, I almost agree. Although I didn't really care much for the ending, the story was nonetheless entertaining and the idea of machines continuing human society long after humanity has been extinguished was well executed. The main character is an aging pleasure-bot called Freya who lives in the post human world. One of the last of her line, she has never met a human being but is programmed to fall in love with humans. This leads to various relationships with other robots who look like human beings, all of whom are interwoven into a story of how, essentially, the robots find it difficult to come to terms with their existence now their creators are extinct. For Freya, things are additionally complicated as humanoid robots have become unfashionable now that humanity is dead, so she is constantly having to deal with prejudiced dwarven robots.

The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you reading, but at the end of the story I wasn't guessing what came next. It became obvious and so it was just the story telling which kept me turning the pages. As sci fi, this is a good read and the story was within the bounds of credibility. The main character was slightly annoying for me, but this is probably because I kept picking up on the British colloquialisms Stross employs, which I felt jarred with a story about a pleasure bot in the future. I felt the same thing with Iron Sunrise. Its not that I don't mind British colloquialisms (twenty four years since we moved back to Denmark and I still use them) only that they seem out of context with the setting of the story. Stross's linguistic style is much better suited to his Bob Howard novels. because Bob Howard is British and speaks like a Brit.

On the whole, of the Stross novels I've read so far, I think I like the Bob Howard stories the best for this reason. Whilst 'Iron Sunrise' and 'Saturn's Children' are both good sci fi stories, and well written. The Bob Howard novels are more personal to Stross's style. More fun.

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