Published: Monday 2012-03-05.
It is not often I am so fascinated by a single author’s production, I think last time was with Orson Scott Card’s books (and I still have more to read there). But currently it is the British author Charles Stross that is the thing.
It started a few years a ago when I stumbled over a book recommendation in the SF book store in Gothenburg. It was the book The Atrocity Archives that was recommended, and despite the blurb on the back not being quite convincing, I bought it. Stross have previously written for computer magazine, something that does show. His books (at least the ones I have read so far) contain a lot of references to modern computer technology, and all are very convincing even for me who work in the field. Not many authors manage that.
The Atrocity Archives starts off with the idea that complex mathematical calculations can open portals to alternative dimensions, something which has become a problem when computers have become more powerful. The main character stumbles upon a dangerous calculation and gets sucked into a secret organisation which in secret tries to protect the public against the dangers that lurk in these dimensions. A completely absurd starting points which turns into a wonderful story. I have also read the novel The Jennifer Morgue and the short stories Down on the Farm and Overtime (the latter two are available on the web) in the same series, and now I have bought the third novel The Fuller Memorandum from Outland here in Oslo, and am planning on reading it next.
I had to buy it on paper, since his books mostly are unavailable as e-books. At least not if you do not have an Amazon Kindle, which I do not, I have a Sony Reader. But I can live with a dead tree edition, even if it means that I am not going to keep it after having read it; I donate my dead tree books to the book switching shelf at work, a shelf where I, by the way, found another of his books just before Christmas.
It is called Glasshouse and takes place in a future where we easily can copy and modify our bodies and minds. But what happens if the copying machines get a computer virus that edit us before the copy is created? A fascinating story, built upon the ideas in the Accelerando novel, which I am reading at the moment. Accelerando is available as a free-of-charge e-book, which I can recommend for those interested, even if I haven’t finished it myself yet!