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Singularity Sky [PDF / Epub] ☄ Singularity Sky ✓ Charles Stross – Thomashillier.co.uk In the twenty first century man created the Eschaton, a sentient artificial intelligence It pushed Earth through the greatest technological evolution ever known, while warning that time travel is forb In the twenty first century man created the Eschaton, a sentient artificial intelligence It pushed Earth through the greatest technological evolution ever known, while warning that time travel is forbidden, and transgressors will be eliminatedDistant descendants of this ultra high tech Earth live in parochial simplicity on the far flung worlds of the New Republic Their way of life is threatened by the arrival of an alien information plague known as the Festival As forbidden technologies are literally dropped from the sky, suppressed political factions descend into revolutionary turmoilA battle fleet is sent from Earth to destroy the Festival, but Spaceship engineer Martin Springfield and UN diplomat Rachel Mansour have been assigned rather different tasks Their orders are to diffuse the crisis or to sabotage the New Republic s war fleet, whatever the cost, before the Eschaton takes hostile action on a galactic scale.

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 389 pages
  • Singularity Sky
  • Charles Stross
  • English
  • 01 January 2018
  • 1841493341

About the Author: Charles Stross

Charles David George Charlie Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasyStross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan SF Encyclopedia.



10 thoughts on “Singularity Sky

  1. Daniel Roy Daniel Roy says:

    The opening of Singularity Sky is as gripping as they come one day, on the backwater planet of Rochard s World, telephones begin raining down from the sky Everybody who picks one up is given a simple order Entertain us, and we will grant your wish And just like that, money, bicycles and replicator machines begin falling from orbit, and Rochard s World falls into chaos.Soon, the New Republic, a strict dictatorship, dispatches a fleet to deal with the enemies attacking their colony But in s The opening of Singularity Sky is as gripping as they come one day, on the backwater planet of Rochard s World, telephones begin raining down from the sky Everybody who picks one up is given a simple order Entertain us, and we will grant your wish And just like that, money, bicycles and replicator machines begin falling from orbit, and Rochard s World falls into chaos.Soon, the New Republic, a strict dictatorship, dispatches a fleet to deal with the enemies attacking their colony But in so doing, they put their entire civilisation at risk for in trying to gain an advantage on the Festival, they plan on delving into time travel, a technology sternly prohibited by the Eschaton, a transcendant AI controlling the fate of Humanity itself.Sounds good so far, doesn t it Unfortunately, that s pretty much the point where the whole novel grinds to a halt It s a sad statement on Charles Stross storytelling abilities that he would go on to tell such a boring story based on such a strong setting, but here it is the major part of the novel gets lost in clich spy vs spy stories aboard a capital ship run by two dimensional military types.One major problem with Singularity Sky is determining whether Stross is serious or satirical throughout his novel A lot of the happenings aboard the ship are one sided and flat, and as far as espionnage stories go, they make James Bond look realistic It s bad enough that Rachel Mansour, the sympathetic UN delegate, actually uses some sort of miraculous replicator luggage to do everything from staging a rescue to fabricating an escape pod I kept having flashbacks to Rincewind s Luggage in Terry Pratchett s Discworld.Is the novel satire, then It might well be, and it certainly includes some part that seem to be aimed for comedic effect The major problem with satire, though, is consistency Stross seems to alternate between moments of satire and seriousness, and it makes any attempt at emotional connection with his main characters totally impossible At no point do they exceed the stereotypes they are meant to represent, and the relationships that eventually grow around them are unconvincing and bland.I understand that Stross is pretty popular with today s geek crowd, much like Cory Doctorow Just like Doctorow, however, I find Stross entirely too rooted in modern ideals for my SF tastes It seems that Stross built his future world not so much as an argument for his own view of the world, but as a vindication of it It s at its most obvious when, near the end of the novel, his good guys engage in a totally one sided argument with the representative of a controlling dictatorship, where the heroes treat their adversary like a child who has yet to discover that information wants to be free, and other such truisms Such blatant geek wish fulfillment might please other readers, but for me, it totally steals away my ability to suspend disbelief I love SF novels that raise thought provoking debates of which Orwell s Nineteen Eighty Four is possibly the epitome in the case of Singularity Sky, though, the whole thing is built as a one sided monologue, and so accomplishes as much as the propaganda it so strongly decries.Another annoying tendency of Stross is to throw away references to modern times with total disregard to credibility It s cheap, and it feels like Stross is pandering to the crowd by sacrificing the timeless qualities of his story For instance, when describing some sort of exotic technology, a character reflects that the thing has rathercomputing power than the whole of the pre Singularity planetary Internet That s well and dandy to give the readers a point of reference, but the reason most of the SF authors avoid such device is because it sounds as silly as if I went around claiming my word processor haswriting power than 2 medieval cloisters full of monk scribes It just doesn t make sense for future characters to refer to events and technologies that are so far in their own history.As a whole, Singularity Sky is as chock full of bizarre and interesting ideas as the reviews made it out to be Unfortunately, the grand canvas of ideas that Charles Stross has created is used to paint a boring story that never provides emotional resonance Add to it a number of annoying writing habits, and all I can say about Singularity Sky is that it totally fails to live up to its own hype

  2. Scott Scott says:

    Thousands of phones start falling from the sky all over your town, scarred and melted from entry into the atmosphere They litter the streets, sit on roofs and leave dents in parked cars You pick one up an old Nokia 3210 and a strange voice answers Entertain us, and we will give you what you want Tell the voice a story, a scientific theory or a joke and it will grant you your every material wish, giving you food, weapons, cybernetic augmentations, a house, or even a cornucopia a machi Thousands of phones start falling from the sky all over your town, scarred and melted from entry into the atmosphere They litter the streets, sit on roofs and leave dents in parked cars You pick one up an old Nokia 3210 and a strange voice answers Entertain us, and we will give you what you want Tell the voice a story, a scientific theory or a joke and it will grant you your every material wish, giving you food, weapons, cybernetic augmentations, a house, or even a cornucopia a machine that can make anything Of course everyone in your neighborhood uses the phones, shattering your town s commerce with their free cars, vaporizing the peace with their free weapons and even abandoning Earth for life as an uploaded digital being.This is how Singularity Sky begins, on Rochard s World, a colony world in a technophobic, feudal society that keeps its subjects primitive This society is about to be socially and economically smashed to pieces by the unrestrained desires of its citizenry given free reign by providers of the magic phones The Festival an enigmatic travelling civilization of uploaded minds that traverses the galaxy in search of information.This engaging beginning is set against one of the most interesting set ups I ve encountered in SF Stross could never be accused of thinking small He aims big and he scores big, parading a stream of colossal ideas in Singularity Sky that blew me away.The singularity has happened A super AI has grown organically and burst from humanity s information networks to become The Eschaton The Most Powerful Entity In The Galaxy, and it s pretty damn scary The Big E, as people refer to it, is generally hands off for a near omnipotent being but there are a few rules it s prepared to go old testament on, particularly regarding people using relativity to mess with time The E isn t keen on anyone using time manipulation on the off chance they might try to change the circumstances in which it was born, or otherwise threaten it s existence Anyone messing with timelines like this soon finds a gigantic asteroid taking out their planet, or their sun going nova, or any number of other civilization ending events which may take out neighboring societies too.Oh, and I forgot at some point in the 21st century The Eschaton randomly and instantaneously transported ninety percent of Earth s population to worlds scattered around the galaxy, where it gave them the tools to survive and then abandoned them Humanity is now established all over the cosmos, but is understandably very aware of what crossing their AI god could mean for their future health.With this as our backdrop we find ourselves in the in a repressive technophobic society known as The New Republic, a society straight out of late 19th century Russia, a Tsar like dictatorship oppressing peasants while the secret police use illegal tech implants and starships float overhead powered by tiny black holes within their engines Among a series of characters three stand out over the course of the novel Hired by the New Republican government, Martin Springfield is an expert ships drive technician, able to calibrate the monstrously complex engines that power interstellar vessels but with his own host of ulterior motives.Rachel Mansour is a UN operative, on a mission to ensure that the New Republic doesn t turn warlike and attack its neighbours, or attempt to use causality breaching weapons that could piss of the Big E and threaten the safety of galactically nearby Earth.Burya Rubenstein is an anti government revolutionary on Rochard s World, hoping to overthrow the New Republic government and install a soviet style people s government, whose plans are both accelerated and thrown into chaos by the arrival of The Festival.As the New Republic readies its warships to attack The Festival, and plans to do so in a way that would come very close to breaking the Big E s covenant on timeline abuse, our protagonists begin to move towards their inevitable meeting on Rochard s World.All this is told with flair and charm, making Singularity Sky a genuine pleasure to read Stross is also a skilled hand at space battles, generating some real tension in his naval engagements, tension that runs for pages at a time and had me frantically pawing my e reader in a race towards the conclusion of each conflict.I wasn t sure what to make a novel that began with telephones raining down from the sky, but this turned out to be one the best novels I have read this year, and a magnificent SF novel in general.I can t wait to readof this series if The Festival dropped a phone on my house I d ask for all of Stross published books, and a comfy chair in which to read them.4.5 big supernova ing stars

  3. Stephen Stephen says:

    6.0 stars On my list of All Time Favorite novels This is one of those novels like some of Neil Gaiman s and Neal Stephenson s books where I kept finding myself saying WOW, how did he come up with such a cool concept This is a great novel full of big, mind blowing ideas and concepts It is space opera for the 21st century HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2004 Nominee Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2004

  4. Peter Tillman Peter Tillman says:

    2020 reread notes A great debut, better than I remembered Lots of cool details Nuclear powered steam locomotives MiG battle cruisers The looming threat of the Eschaton Rachel Mansour, Special Agent for Earth s UN SIG If the Big E decided to pop the primary here, we d need to evacuate 50 star systems I am the Eschaton I am not your God.I am descended from you, and exist in your future.Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone Or else This is a first novel, wi 2020 reread notes A great debut, better than I remembered Lots of cool details Nuclear powered steam locomotives MiG battle cruisers The looming threat of the Eschaton Rachel Mansour, Special Agent for Earth s UN SIG If the Big E decided to pop the primary here, we d need to evacuate 50 star systems I am the Eschaton I am not your God.I am descended from you, and exist in your future.Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone Or else This is a first novel, with the expected rough spots And it could have used a final edit Large, vast, cool intellects seek to stabilize Chronomentagram to author, circa 2002 AD Stick with the Wells Rachel Mansour quite a gal I have some notes, but here s what I remember she d been on that shithole world for what seemed like forever, starved for civilized company, so when she met woosisname, the MiG engineer who was refitting the Empire s battlecruiser, the sparks really flew She takes him to dinner, and propositions him over the second bottle of wine They re trying to spoof their secret police minder Try to look like you want to take me home fuck me senseless Even a socially clueless engineer could take a hint like that Yes, the Engineer gets the girl The ending, well, just kinda tails off, with a setup for 2, IRON SUNRISE Which is what I m reading now This one 4.5 stars, rounded down for the ending other 1st novel clumsiness But pretty much 5 stars for fun First read , 2004 Stross s first novel, and it s a good one Lots of cool techie stuff and some great ideas I think he borrowed the Eschaton from his pal Ken MacLeod, and there are lots of other neat call outs to other SF books and authors It s a bit scattered, but well worth reading 3.5 stars, rounded up.Here s a good review, from my friend Susan Stepney This is a very clever and wonderfully witty first novel The culture clashes, the sheer alienness of the Festival and its fringe elements, how a planet reacts to going through two hundred years of technology advancement in a week, and the look at life after the Singularity, are all handled very well It is dense with wonderful little descriptions, such as describing battlecruisers as looking like a cubist s vision of a rabies virus crossed with a soft drink can She is a professor of Computer Science at University of York, a serious SF fan, and has been a reliable book guide for me over the years Now that you have extra time, you want to spend some at her book review pages For SF, her favorites are here just added a couple of TBRs, myself

  5. Apatt Apatt says:

    My first attempt at reading a Stross novel was Accelerando I abandoned it after about 50 pages, we just did not get along I had some problems with the prose style, the characters and the confusing plot Still, I have always intended to give this author another try as I have been reading his blog for a while and I like them, no problem with the writing style there Also, he is one of the most respected sf authors of the newer generation working today He comes highly recommended by David Brin a My first attempt at reading a Stross novel was Accelerando I abandoned it after about 50 pages, we just did not get along I had some problems with the prose style, the characters and the confusing plot Still, I have always intended to give this author another try as I have been reading his blog for a while and I like them, no problem with the writing style there Also, he is one of the most respected sf authors of the newer generation working today He comes highly recommended by David Brin and others.I have always been interested in the subject of singularity, especially as a science fiction theme As mentioned earlier I attempted to read Accelerando and failed miserably Happily I found Singularity Sky muchto my liking, and shed much light upon the ramifications of the singularity for me The story is set in a post singularity universe where a posthuman species called the Eschaton wield God like power and scattered a vast proportion of the human race to the four winds, across space and time on planets light years apart forcing said human to colonize wherever they are placed The story starts when a totalitarian and backward human colonies is visited by a transhuman race called Festival The Festival offer the colonist absolutely anything they want in exchange for entertainment in the form of stories, philosophies, jokes or any information they find interesting The goods they give in exchange for entertainment are produced by cornucopia machines which remind me of the nanotechnological assemblers from Neal Stephenson s The Diamond Age Or, a Young Lady s Illustrated Primer As anything can be had practically just for the asking, the planet quickly reaches an economic singularity where possession, employment, property and commerce is no longer meaningful.This is a fascinating scenario where a single event causes huge planet wide changes, and it is just the tip of the iceberg where outlandish scifi ideas are concerned Including a question of human sapience, where a posthuman creature hilariously poses the question of whether humans are zombies or zimboes , not to mention the Eschaton outlawing of causality violation which is basically cheating by time travel via Faster Than Light technology A lot of the hard science went right over my head but it did not hamper understanding the plot as far as I can tell.The writing style is somewhat workmanlike for the most part, but enriched by some witty dialog The main characters are likable without being particularly noteworthy While not an sf comedy the book does have a lighthearted feel to it The whole endeavor is worth about 4.5 stars for me The next Stross book I read will most likely be The Atrocity Archives which looks like a hoot I may get back to Accelerando once I have accumulated sufficient goodwill for Mr Stross

  6. Lee Lee says:

    I am hovering around the 3.879435 out of 5 for this book No quiet a 4 but way better than a 3.Stross is well, he is you see he write likeThat sums up Stross He is just out there on his own little planet, one minute writing hi tech scifi, where causality effects are detailed in a Stephen Hawking kind of way, then slams you back to earth when a talking rabbit toting a shotgun and a belt of farmers scalps asks you what you think are staring at.If you have read any Stross y I am hovering around the 3.879435 out of 5 for this book No quiet a 4 but way better than a 3.Stross is well, he is you see he write likeThat sums up Stross He is just out there on his own little planet, one minute writing hi tech scifi, where causality effects are detailed in a Stephen Hawking kind of way, then slams you back to earth when a talking rabbit toting a shotgun and a belt of farmers scalps asks you what you think are staring at.If you have read any Stross you ll know what I mean, if you haven t you should give him a try, because it is hard to take him seriously and I say that in the best possible way Sometimes the hi tech gets intense and you need to come back to earth and he finds some really quirky ways to do that This type of writing just keeps things out there as you have no idea what is going to come next.The story has some very interesting themes to it Basically a far flung world has stuck to the doctrine of old Soviet Union and had serfs and no technology rules to the people There was a revolution in the planning when a alien entity turned up and gave every citizen three wishes true honestly, could I make this up What happens next is a roller coaster ride in the collapse of an empire when literally overnight possessions and currency has no value You want a castle boom, you have one you want anti ageing boom your 6 years old.Secondary to the story is the fleet flying from the mother planet to take out the three wish aliens, but they want to get there before the aliens did, but breaching Causality, by going years into the future and sling shooting back into the past Whilst in the future, they could pick up messages they are going to send to themselves, when back in the past to tell them of the battle they are going to have and have already had I have lost you haven t I Needless to cause, causality violation is a big part of this story and I found it fascinating I am definitely recommending this book because it is FUN Stross has the ability to make me laugh out loud and I don t often do that when reading scifi

  7. Noah M. Noah M. says:

    Charles Stross s first novel is a very good first novel Packed full of crazy ideas Espionage Space battles Post Singularity humanity with all its craziness Just a crazy book in general.I m doing a poor job of reviewing this.There are quite a few POV characters in this book, and while they re all distinct, I developed some favorites early on and was not usually pleased when I had to spend a chapter or two with other, less interesting characters So, I suppose it was a bit unwieldy at times.T Charles Stross s first novel is a very good first novel Packed full of crazy ideas Espionage Space battles Post Singularity humanity with all its craziness Just a crazy book in general.I m doing a poor job of reviewing this.There are quite a few POV characters in this book, and while they re all distinct, I developed some favorites early on and was not usually pleased when I had to spend a chapter or two with other, less interesting characters So, I suppose it was a bit unwieldy at times.The book is packed with crazy leftist political philosophy, which is interesting in the beginning, but gets a bit heavy handed towards the end The whole book is about the tendency of free information exchange to lead to the downfall of restrictive government Information demands to be free, after all.I liked that Stross actually addressed the fact that faster than light travel must also be a form of time travel There s an AI deity Eschaton the product of Earth s mid 21st century singularity who forbids certain forms of time travel because he doesn t want anyone messing with the fact that he exists I very much liked the world Stross created, and it made for wonderful, grand scale space opera

  8. thefourthvine thefourthvine says:

    Okay, so the opening of this book is really damn solid telephones raining down from the sky on a repressed backwater colony world, all of which say, Entertain us And from there it s all a bitstandard And dull.I get this feeling from Stross every time I read him, which is that he has great ideas in isolation, but no way to string them together to form an interesting and novel setting, culture, world, universe Or plot So what you get is a very standard book with some extremely shiny frip Okay, so the opening of this book is really damn solid telephones raining down from the sky on a repressed backwater colony world, all of which say, Entertain us And from there it s all a bitstandard And dull.I get this feeling from Stross every time I read him, which is that he has great ideas in isolation, but no way to string them together to form an interesting and novel setting, culture, world, universe Or plot So what you get is a very standard book with some extremely shiny frippery grafted onto it singularity A wish granting telephone repair system Godlike beings obsessed with preserving causality But it all boils down to the same sort of story Ian Fleming was telling in the 1950s I don t know I found this mildly entertaining, but it didn t give me what I hope for from hard SF new ideas, new worlds, new futures And it didn t give me what I hope for from espionage and thriller novels heart pounding tension that compels me to keep turning the pages And it didn t give me what I want from every novel interesting characters who feel like people What it did give me was some words to move my eyes over that reminded me of better things I ve read And for me that s not enough

  9. Kara Babcock Kara Babcock says:

    From the first line, this book hooked me The day war was declared, a rain of telephones fell clattering to the cobblestones from the skies above Novy Petrograd A post Singularity descendant of humanity, the Festival, arrives in orbit around the backwater Rochard s World The Festival s willingness to share anything in return for information results in economic and social upheaval as the repressed citizens of Rochard s World find they can have anything they want technology, money, even power From the first line, this book hooked me The day war was declared, a rain of telephones fell clattering to the cobblestones from the skies above Novy Petrograd A post Singularity descendant of humanity, the Festival, arrives in orbit around the backwater Rochard s World The Festival s willingness to share anything in return for information results in economic and social upheaval as the repressed citizens of Rochard s World find they can have anything they want technology, money, even power As a result, the New Republic decides to launch a battle fleet to deal with the threat of the Festival.But their strategy calls for a causality violation gambit, which could be a problem A capricious and unknowable artificial intelligence, the Eschaton, does not tolerate such time travel ventures, which could imperil its own existence The Eschaton has been known to retaliate with excessive force planet crunching, supernova type force and so two human agents hope to intervene before it all goes apocalyptic.Charles Stross does a wonderful job at contrasting different styles of government and cultures influenced by how they embraced the upheaval of the technological Singularity The New Republic is modelled after eighteenth century Russia technologically and socially conservative, with a strong government enforced by devastating s and sinister secret police Then there s Earth, homeworld of our protagonists Martin Springfield and Rachel Mansour The only entity recognizable as a planetary government would be the United Nations, but as Springfield points out It s not the government of Earth it s just the only remaining relic of Earth s governments that the New Republic can recognize The bit that does the common good jobs that everyone needs to subscribe to World wide vaccination programs, trade agreements with extrasolar governments, insurer of last resort for major disasters, that srot of thing The point is, for the most part, the UN doesn t actually do anything it doesn t have a foreign policy Sometimes somebody or another uses the UN as a front when they need to do something credible looking, but trying to get a consensus vote out of the Security Council is like herding cats.The conflict of values between the New Republic s agents, specifically its naval officers and an inexperienced secret policeman, and Terrans, specifically Springfield and Mansour, fuels most of the conflict of the book The rest of the conflict comes from the alien nature of the Festival the New Republic insists on treating it like an ordinary human government with recognizable motivations and strategy That turns out to be a costly mistake The Festival isn t human, it isn t remotely human You people are thinking in terms of people with people type motivations You can nodeclare war on the Festival than you can declare a war against sleep It s a self replicating information network.Stross also packs the book with the ramifications of technology on cultures the Festival is an upload society, where minds are stored in virtual worlds and physical forms are transitory It s diverged so far from its common ancestry with humans that it s no longer human, as mentioned above, but something else, something that we can t really comprehend In that way, it s evenalien than the Eschaton, a truly alien entity, but one that at least deigns to communicate with humans on a comprehensible level once and a while Unlike too much Singularity fiction, Singularity Sky mixes transhuman, posthuman, and human cultures in a way that makes for interesting but still understandable interaction.Similarly, while this book is packed to the brim with technobabble and discussions of relativity and quantum mechanics, it never feels too heavy I love how the characters use entangled qubits for acausal communication and the Eschaton one day just decided to relocate 90% o the Earth s population to various planets via wormhole Maybe that s just because I love theoretical physicsthan is healthy I can see how people less familiar with hard science fiction or physics in general might find the exposition in Singularity Sky daunting On the other hand, maybe it ll be educational And to Stross credit, all of the exposition is relevant to the plot.As much as I must praise Stross ideas, I can t in good conscience do the same for the story The pacing is heavily tilted toward the end as it should be , but the bulk of its ideas and themes reside in its beginning As a result, Singularity Sky starts off strong like I said, it pulled me in but eventually that siren call of awesomeness asking me not to put down the book petered out The sense of conflict and suspense just doesn t last, and after the New Republic fleet reaches Rochard s World, the protagonists plot diverges from that of the fleet, and I never really feel like they re in real danger With any sense of high stakes obviated, the story withers away into the background Singularity Sky starts off strong but ultimately fails to deliver It has the same great ideas of Alastair Reynolds House of Suns or Richard K Morgan s Altered Carbon but none of their pulse pounding action and complex mystery subplots that make those books great People like me, who breathe physics and ponder the possibilities of faster than light travel, will find Singularity Sky interesting but come away from the book feeling like it had so muchpotential

  10. Jason Pettus Jason Pettus says:

    Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally I recently had the chance to acquire every single book ever written by trippy sci fi author Charles Stross, and so have decided to spend the year actually reading and reviewing them here for the blog and I ve decided to read them in chronological order, too or, the general books by chronological order, t Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally I recently had the chance to acquire every single book ever written by trippy sci fi author Charles Stross, and so have decided to spend the year actually reading and reviewing them here for the blog and I ve decided to read them in chronological order, too or, the general books by chronological order, then take on the themed series one at a time , which means that first up is his 2003 novel debut Singularity Sky, which along with his other early classic Accelerando are the ones that really first established him as a major genre force, and that helped cement the cliche of the SF British Invasion of the early 2000s And so that s what makes it an even bigger shock than normal to find out that the novel is not a serious minded brainteaser, like I think of whenever I think of the other Stross novels I ve already read, but rather a very funny absurdist comedy along the lines of late period Robert Heinlein Not actually a story about Ray Kurzweil s famous theory of the Singularity that is, the moment in the future that computers gain sentience, and thus usher in a new blazingly fast era for humanity where the mechanical and the biological blur into unrecognizable forms , the novel instead takes this Singularity moment as its historical start, and the fact that humans quickly figure out how to time travel, at which point a mysterious alien force known as the Eschaton literally create a human diaspora to stop such development, by taking 90 percent of Earth s population and magically scattering them on various inhabitable worlds across the cosmos, these people now free to develop whatever kinds of societies they want but with the big E stepping in again whenever a law of causality is about to be broken, doing things like wiping out entire star systems to ensure that these stupid hairless apes don t accidentally erase the universe s existence.Our actual tale, then, takes place hundreds of years after the events just described, when this scattered humanity have formed an endless series of different governments, tech capabilities, and even corporeal forms to be specific, it s the story of a race of post human creatures known as The Festival who exist mostly as forms of pure information as they travel the cosmos, who literally create new fantastical bodies whenever they stop at a new star system, then proceed to create a kind of benevolent chaos in that new system for awhile the actual Singularity Sky of the book s title , swapping unheard of technology for new info about the universe from that new system before finally getting their fill, dumping their temporary bodies, and taking off again for yet another century long flight to the next habitable system, in this case the recipients being a militaristic quasi fascist colonial dictatorship who shun technology and who clearly resemble the Bush administration that was in power when this novel was first published in the US As always with Stross, this is a lot of infodump to take in at once, with the above recap only scratching the surface of this expansive storyline, and with my promise that the whole thing becomes much clearer once you read the actual book but like I said, the biggest surprise is that Stross plays all this mostly for laughs, a sort of ridiculous adventure tale about a backwards military that purposely builds outdated tech into their warships for the purpose of tradition, and who then tries to fight a conventional war against a group that can barely fathom what the concept of war even is, and who are so technologically advanced over their opponents that they see the traditional battles as littlethan you or I swatting at a pesky fly on a hot summer day I know this all sounds a bit disjointed in a small write up like this, but trust me when I say that the whole story when written out is a comic masterpiece and it s easy to see why this made such a big splash when it first came out, after a 1990s that saw perhaps the lowest point of SF in its entire history It comes highly recommended, and needless to say that I m looking forward to the next book on the list, 2004 s Iron Sunrise which just happens to be a direct sequel to this volume

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