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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halting State 

I have been on holiday for the last couple of weeks and one of the books I read was Charles Stross' Halting State. I am a big fan of his work and books like Acclerando and Glasshouse are some of my favourites of recent years.

Halting State is one of the few books I have read recently that I couldn't put down. I read it in two sessions interrupted only by sleeping. I really liked the way that it took things that are out there in the real world and different virtual worlds and blended them all together with a bit of speculative spice to create something believable.

At times it was a bit too current mentioning events in Real Life and even Second Life that have happened very recently as part of the historical background to the storyline. I personally think this will make the book date really quickly but there you go. On the other hand its whole idea of being able to transfer an avatar from one virtual world to another is a hot topic right now. IBM and others are said to be working on a "standard" to describe and avatar.

The characterization was the weak point for me. There were the usual "office" stereotypes of the geek, accountant with hidden depths, bastard CEO, moronic marketeer etc. and the spies were straight from central casting too.

The plot rattles along though twisting and turning as it goes. There are some things you can spot a mile off such as "I wonder when that characters real life sword fighting experience will come in handy". There was a sort of red herring for this but it was obvious that this would be used at a climatic moment. Having said that some of the plot twists come right out of the blue and are really clever. No spoilers though.

I know I have pointed out quite a few flaws with this book but I really liked it. It was even better to get to buy it in Canada well ahead of its uk release too.

Permanent link and Comments posted by Rob Cornelius @ Tuesday, October 30, 2007

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