Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book Review: Rule 34

After I reviewed Charles Stross' Halting State, I gave it a mediocre review for the story, but strong praise for the picture it painted of the possible futures of virtual worlds, augmented reality, and many other facets of gaming.

With Rule 34, Stross has improved his storytelling, while still having a keep eye for possibilities of technology in the not-so-distant future.

Like Halting State, Rule 34 follows an ill-equipped detective investigating a series of crimes and getting in over their head. Instead of a bank heist, this time it's a series of bizarre murders involving bizarre fetishes (thus the title, Rule 34, as explained in number 3 here). As detective stories go, it's not bad, and I think better than Halting State was. Be warned, for those that mind, that there are some racy bits, so not for the kiddies.

Again though, where Stross shines is on his take of the future of 3D printing, custom fabbing/making, DRM, Internet memes, with a good measure of the Big Brother police state (something pretty common amongst UK-based sci-fi writers these days it seems).

This is my favorite piece of fiction so far this year, after Super Sad True Love Story. New Neal Stephenson coming out in a couple weeks though, so we'll see if Stross gets bumped from the podium...

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