When The Planet Of New Moscow Was Brutally Destroyed, Its Few Survivors Launched A Counter Attack Against The Most Likely Culprit The Neighbouring System Of Trade Rival New Dresden But New Dresden Wasn T Responsible, And As The Deadly Missiles Approach Their Target, Rachel Mansour Is Assigned To Find Out Who WasThe One Person Who Does Know Is A Disaffected Teenager Who Calls Herself Wednesday Shadowmist But Wednesday Has No Idea Where She Might Be Hiding This Significant Information Time Is Limited And If Rachel Can T Resolve This Mystery It Will Mean Annihilation Of An Entire World What starts off as some excellent, mind bending weirdness diffuses into an uninteresting thriller There were too many character threads, and too many of the characters began to talk like one another as the book progressed Not to mention Stross s linguistic tics and frequent cliches which litter the novel s second half The book became a political thriller thinly disguised as SF.Which is all way too bad, because the first chapters are some of the best, most original, fun, off beat SF I have read in a very long time The Idi Amin Dada scene is worthy of William Gibson or Bruce Sterling The sense of mystery and anticipation and deep, twisty weirdness that Stross creates around Rachel Mansour s departure in the early chapters had me thinking I was in for an incredible book.Perhaps Accelerando, which is a short story collection, will present Stross s writing only at the level of his finely honed opening chapters. 6.0 stars One of my ALL tiem favorite novels along with the first book in the series, Singularity Sky These two books together are as good as it gets when it comes to grand, epic space opera The ideas discussed are mind blowing and the author s skill in discussing them in the context of the story is fantastic Te story never slowed down from beginning to end I loved the introduciton of the genetically enhanced ReMastered as an enemy out to defeat the seemingly all powerful advanced AI Eschaton HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.Nominee Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel 2005 Nominee Locus Award runner up for Best SF Novel 2005 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 Regular visitors will know that I m currently in the process of reading every novel sci fi author Charles Stross has ever written I started last time with his very first, 2003 s Singularity Sky, which told a surprisingly funny and absurdist tale set in the far future, centuries after the human race was split and flung across the universe one day by a far advanced alien life form, because of a united humanity recently discovering time travel and thus technically now capable of accidentally wiping out this Eschaton s very existence And this is the same universe where his next novel is set as well, 2004 s Iron Sunrise, although it s not exactly a sequel for although it features the same duo of main heroes as the first book a plucky female UN inspector and a male secret agent for the Eschaton, the two now married after falling in love in the first novel , the story itself takes place among an entirely different planetary system, basically starting with the unexpected explosion of a local star and the destruction of the world orbiting it the iron sunrise of the book s title , which leads us down an ever widening rabbithole of conspiracies, ultra fascist organizations, and galaxy domination plots.And indeed, the either good or bad news, depending on what you think of the subject, is that Iron Sunrise adheres much strongly to the traditional tropes of 1990s and early 2000s cyberpunk, after a first novel that cleverly combined hard science fiction with the gonzo silliness of countercultural motley fool writers like Ken Kesey the latter now features such familiar genre touches as a rebellious 15 year old girl as our main protagonist, five or six different small storylines that all come together into one giant climax at the end, spaceship chases and planet hopping bloggers and all the other things you would expect from a SF tale written in those years Also, this second novel makes it clear that the Eschaton is actually a single entity, essentially the result of a cloud computing system like the Google server farm gaining sentience and while that helps make things clearer from a plot standpoint, I admit that it kind of removes the fun in the first novel of never quite knowing what exactly the Eschaton is are Still, although far from his best or densest or trippiest work, Iron Sunrise is definitely an interesting read and worth the time of Stross completists although I have to confess that I m looking much forward to the next title in my reading list, 2005 s Accelerando, the first of Stross s books to make a big splash in America and coiner of the entire cultural phrase The Accelerated Age a popular way among SF fans to refer to stories that take place in a post Singularity universe. . The first Charles Stross book I ever read was Singularity Sky, the first book in this series I was in a different city, and I m not quite sure what made it jump off the shelf of the used bookstore as something to read while I went to one of my first academic conferences I was, however, baffled by the book itself I thought I liked it, but I wasn t positive, because I finished the book and still didn t understand the underlying principles underneath that particular science fiction universe.Note The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Iron Sunrise is a sequel of sorts to Singularity Sky Rachel and Martin are back, but they don t play a part until late in the story The introductory character is Wednesday, a goth chick who goes from seventeen to twenty through the course of the book and who suffers a lot of hardships in between.My main emotion upon ending the book is disappointment Charlie has two problems, and they re becoming apparent the often I read his work This book sets the stage for an ongoing battle between the Eschaton, the superhuman superintelligence who keeps watch over humanity while denying humanity the right to engage in time travel, and the unborn god of the ReMastered, a being who may or may not exist somewhere down the timeline, and who will possess the captured thought processes of everyone ever uploaded into storage by the ReMastered He s setting the stage for sequels, which is a perfectly good thing for a writer to do.Except, if you ve read Charlie a lot, you know this plot Iron Sunrise is the tale of Nazis with some kind of negotiated relationship to a Lovecraftian dark god, all of whom are opposed by plucky and lucky mostly ordinary humans who just happen to come from Charlie s favorite subcultures bloggers, geeks and goths Iron Sunrise is Charlie Stross s The Atrocity Archive in SpaceCharlie s not even hiding this his villain refers to herself as an ubermadchen and her boss is referred to as the overdepartmentsecretary sic Wednesday breaks out of her stereotype late in the book and she becomes a well drawn character, but really, you can just see a seventeen year old Christina Ricci specifically, this one in the role.The other thing is that Charlie writes his stories exactly once He writes the story, figuring out what he s doing along the way The trouble is, his stories lack the decorative panache that a full re write gives to a story, and you can almost hear him chuckle with dark glee as he is inspired to a plot point Everything in the story is broadly telegraphed His foreshadowing looms over you The plot is obvious almost from the beginning When the epilogue s crisis began, with a letter in Rachel s apartment mailbox, I knew exactly where Charlie was going I could have written the rest of that chapter myself Iron Sunrise suffers from a lack of writerly subtlety.It ll be a shame if someday we remember Charlie Stross as the Robert E Howard or Michael Moorcock of his decade churned out a lot of books in a very short period of time that introduced fresh and new ideas to the Venn diagram intersectives of the genres he loves, only to flame out in the end, stuck in the pretty new box he d created And then there s me, who ll probably be remembered as the low rent John Norman of his decade Iron Sunrise is a rollicking adventure set in a space operatic universe with a well thought out brake holding the characters back from their second Singularity Charlie has done a good job of thinking around what he made in the first book and realizing how much fun it would be to threaten that brake itself It has good characters and great worldbuilding although once in a while I caught Charlie doing the worldbuilding while the reader is watching If you ve never read Charlie Stross, this book and its predecessor, Singularity Sky, are fabulous introductions to the Singularity subgenre It s only weakness is that if you have read Charlie Stross, you ll find yourself skipping over the familiar parts Worldbuilding while the reader is watching is a trademark of D Omaha Sternberg All rights reserved Used with permission. I used to have a religious no quitting policy when it came to finishing books Even if the thing was terrible, I would slog through it till the last page, worried I was doing the author a disservice by not giving it a fair shake Now, however, I m a busy adult with a full time job and a to read list the length of my arm I ve gotten a lot lax about finishing books I don t particularly care for Iron Sunrise is not a terrible book From what I read, it s okay The first section is actually very engaging, despite some confusing continuity errors relating to times and dates and the protagonist s age HoweverThe underlying premise of this universe is that in the 21st century, a human built AI got so smart it figured out how to open wormholes in space For reasons known only to itself, it transported most of Earth s population to Earthlike planets elsewhere in space, which it had thoughtfully terraformed for them beforehand It also wormholed them back in time, so that they d age and die at the same rate as their counterparts back on Earth And then it left them a message telling them not to use time travel for their own nefarious purposes, Or Else.I didn t realize when I picked this up that it was the second book in the series, and I may well have missed some fascinated explanations of all this in not reading Singularity Sky I can t help noticing, however, that the explanation for how humanity got all its fantastic new technology is basically A wizard did it An AI did it Whatever I mean, sure, it explains how humans could come up with faster than light transport within a couple of centuries, but deus ex machina much Literally, even You might as well use actual magic it s just as believable, to me.I also feel like Stross did a poor job of imagining a culture 400 years removed from our own There are some nods to anti aging devices, equal rights for different sexual orientations, and of course the fantastic new technology provided by the AI Who Is Definitely Not A God, but overall the characters act and speak exactly as they would today There are even ethnic stereotypes that are already out of date now the bluff Hitler Youth German kids come to mind The minor antagonists are all cardboard cutouts for the protagonists to knock down with a feather I just I can t go into detail, because I didn t read much of the book all told, but after a very solid first chapter I was pretty disappointed by what came afterward.I m not a physicist, obviously, and most of the technical details in hard science fiction books go right over my head I read for the story and the characters, not the technology, and that s why I m going to be putting this one down for a while. Con ingredientes de buena calidad no hay garant a de que el plato salga delicioso Al final es cuesti n del desempe o del cocinero G nero Ciencia ficci n.Lo que nos cuenta En el libro Amanecer de Hierro publicaci n original Iron Sunrise, 2004 nos trasladamos al planeta Vieja Terranova Cuatro, que fue una vez parte de la Rep blica Federal de Mosc y que est siendo evacuado ya que la onda expansiva de la explosi n de una estrella, forma de ataque de Nueva Dresde sobre el planeta Mosc y todo su sistema con la intenci n de destruirlo, se acerca sin remisi n Mi rcoles es una joven, cuyo nombre real es Victoria Strowger, a bordo del carguero Larga Marcha que lleva a cinco mil de los refugiados de Vieja Terranova Cuatro Cuando explora la nave sin permiso, se encuentra con un cad ver y con una manada policial de emergencia, una manada con sus propias rdenes secretas Aunque no es una continuaci n de Cielo de singularidad, s transcurre en el mismo universo literario de ficci n y comparte alg n personaje en ciertos momentos Quiere saber m s de este libro, sin spoilers Visite Reading Iron Sunrise has been a long time in coming, ever since I read Singularity Sky I finally got around to ordering a copy and dug into it when I realized I needed a good science fiction read As usual, Charles Stross delivers on all sorts of quixotic ideas that I love in my science fiction I like the posthuman parts of Iron Sunrise even better than its predecessor, and its action scenes are definitely superior My criticisms of it are similar to the ones I levelled at Singularity Sky too.Though technically a sequel to Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise can be read standalone They share two main characters, so the only real spoiler is that these characters survive the first book Otherwise, no knowledge of the original book is required to understand or enjoy this adventure Stross explains once again the premise of this universe a human created AI from the future, the Eschaton, relocates 90% of Earth s population some time in the twenty first century Fast forward three hundred years, and Earth and these relocated worlds have recovered but diverged and humanity is now flourishing on any number of worlds connected by superluminal travel However, the Eschaton rigorously polices any attempts to turn that superluminal capability into time travel causality violations are harshly dealt with.The title of the book refers to exactly such a violation Someone uses a weapon to destroy the sun orbited by a human world called Moscow The sun explodes, creating the Iron Sunrise that releases a deadly radiation shockwave This precipitates any number of events that eventually become relevant to the story, from the evacuation of Wednesday from Old Newfie to the fleet of slower than light vessels that threaten New Dresden But the bottom line is that a causality violation weapon happened and the Eschaton didn t stop it That s bad news for someone.This book features a shifting and large cast of characters Wednesday is the first main character we meet and, in my opinion, probably the coolest She is young and inexperienced, and this shows But I like her grit I like that she questions whether Herman has her best interests at heart even as she uses the information and training he provides her I like that she makes mistakes and isn t a whiz kid who is always one step ahead of the bad guys Finally, I like that when Stross kills off certain people close to her, she does not just shrug and get on with her life instead, her grief becomes a major plot point towards the end of the book.Rachel Mansour, also featured in Singularity Sky, is the other most prominent protagonist I like Rachel too, though I find her voice in this narrative flatter than Wednesday s There is something about the combination of her practised indignation and her self confidence that rings false to me or at least, it feels too familiar, like Rachel is just another one of those hyper capable science fiction heroes we see too often in these stories That being said, I appreciate how Stross portrays her reluctance to get back into the game , so to speak Rachel is a very capable person, but she also has desires beyond being a soldier or fixer for this UN body I was also not down with the scene near the beginning of Rachel s appearance where she has to use sexual, seductive type techniques to help defuse a bomb It s dumb and sexist, and worse, it s dumb and sexist in a book that is otherwise full of smart and diverse female characters, protagonists and antagonists And I suppose Stross is trying to play it as a commentary on the weaknesses of the patriarchy and the way smart women can exploit those, but I still don t like it I could continue talking about the half dozen other named characters who get narrative time, but I don t think I will Iron Sunrise introduces almost too many characters, in my opinion at least, I feel like parts of it are very extraneous indeed In the end, I guess it kind of all comes together I certainly like how the minor problem Rachel is facing at the very beginning turns into something linked to the larger ReMastered threat, suggesting a much richer story at work in the background However, this 400 page book took much longer to read than I anticipated, and I blame some of that on how the number of main characters dilutes the intensity of the storytelling.There are two complementary aspects of this book that make it good for me First, there are the obvious science fictional, posthuman elements I m labelling this book a space opera even though, technically, I don t think it really falls under that genre though it could if it wanted to It has the setting of a space opera if not the story elements It isn t just the big idea stuff, like blowing up suns or time travelling AIs It s the small things the communication rings that people use, the smart fabric that allows them to change fashion so quickly, etc Stross is really good at imagining not just the technology that will take us to other stars but the ways in which faster and miniature computing is changing our daily lives Despite being written over ten years ago now and the fast pace of technological development, Iron Sunrise doesn t yet feel outdated or obsolete, nor will it likely be in the foreseeable future.Coupled to the technology, though, is the thriller plot Because that s basically what this novel becomes in the third act the good guys are all aboard a FTL liner with the bad guys, who pre emptively hijack it, and shit goes down It s tense and exciting there is a lot of disguising and doubletalk and backstabbing and double crossing The best thing is, most of what happens could easily have been written as a thriller set in the present day But I wouldn t have enjoyed it as much then Stross takes the plot, dresses it in the trappings and tropes of science fiction, and makes it interesting I m reminded a little bit here of The Expanse, which does something similar with political intrigue Science fiction is useful as a tool for social commentary of which Iron Sunrise has some, albeit in fairly non subtle ways , but it is also a fantastic vehicle for breathing new life into old or often used plots.Having read a lot of Stross work now, I can safely say this is neither among his best nor his worst efforts I like it, and I think people who have never read one of his novels before will like it At the same time, I d also caution that this isn t representative of all his novels If anything, Iron Sunrise reminds me how versatile Stross is While it shares a certain fascination with economics and the wider picture of stochastic changes to complex systems, it is markedly different from his Laundry Files series, for example, or his near future Scottish crime novels It will go on my Stross shelf, but it s probably not the first Stross I ll re read.
Charles David George Charlie Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.Stross 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
- 480 pages
- Iron Sunrise
- Charles Stross
- 01 September 2018 Charles Stross