Neptune’s Brood – Charles Stross

“I can get you a cheaper ticket if you let me amputate your legs: I can even take your thighs as a deposit,” said the travel agent.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Stross this week, at a book signing in Edinburgh. His Laundry Files series remains one of my absolute favourites, and I’m gradually working my way through the rest of his work, including the Freyaverse duo (soon to be a trilogy, as I found out at the talk!), Saturn’s Children and Neptune’s Brood.

The latter is set in the same universe as its prequel, in a far-flung future where ‘post-humans’ (i.e. robots, or metahumans) are the ones in charge – well, they’re just better suited for colonising the universe, and if needs be they can modify themselves to just about any shape.

Our narrator, Krina, is almost the total opposite of the prequel’s Freya: instead of a ‘fembot’, she’s an accountant 😉 And thus starts a tale that’s as much economic theory as it is space opera…!

Which isn’t to say it’s boring, but the story does hinge on a layer of accounting and economic ‘stuff’. I studied both, a bit, and the deconstruction and future re-imagining are pretty interesting to me – but be warned! That said, there’s plenty of danger from assassins and mad androids, in locations covering deep space and deeper oceans.

It’s an odd read, overall. The language is dense (biology terms abound), but the characters are a tad fluffy. The plot is meted out like a string through a labyrinth – and then is tied up a little abruptly. The concept is intriguing, but… you get the drift!

Unarchive the holy malware suite

kindle: 377 pages
Finished 2nd July 2015

My rating: 6/10


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