Cover image for


Author: Charles Stross
Published: 2005
Language: English
Wordcount: 145,285 / 428 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 72
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 41,040
Added to site: 2005.06.17 10610
More Info:
License: ©

The book is a collection of nine short stories telling the tale of three generations of a highly dysfunctional family before, during, and after a technological singularity. It was originally written as a series of novelettes and novellas, all published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in the period 2001 to 2004. The first three stories follow the character of "venture altruist" Manfred Macx starting in the early 21st Century, the second three stories follow his daughter Amber, and the final three focus largely on her son Sirhan in the completely transformed world at the end of the century.

Winner of the 2006 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Copyright (c) Charles Stross, 2005.

Show Excerpt

parody of bacterial plasmid exchange, so fast that, by the time the windfall tax demands are served, the targets don't exist anymore, even though the same staff are working on the same software in the same Mumbai cubicle farms.

Welcome to the twenty-first century.

The permanent floating meatspace party Manfred is hooking up with is a strange attractor for some of the American exiles cluttering up the cities of Europe this decade - not trustafarians, but honest-to-God political dissidents, draft dodgers, and terminal outsourcing victims. It's the kind of place where weird connections are made and crossed lines make new short circuits into the future, like the street cafes of Switzerland where the pre Great War Russian exiles gathered. Right now it's located in the back of De Wildemann's, a three-hundred-year old brown cafe with a list of brews that runs to sixteen pages and wooden walls stained the color of stale beer. The air is thick with the smells of tobacco, brewer's yeast, and melatonin sp


Average Rating of 4.6 from 11 reviews: *****

This is easily some of the best sci-fi I've ever read. Stross doesn't just tell an amazing story, he suggests one. The main plot revolves around the growing influence of technology in the main characters lives, and their attempts to figure out where their places in the universe are.

But what most impressed me about this story was the incredibly subtle ducking and weaving necessary to write a story that spans centuries and actively involves exponential growth in technology, without wasting a lot of words to explain the technologies themselves.

Fantastic read.


A wild ride moving fast from a recent future into a huge and crazy galactic post-world existence. It was impossible for me to understand all the details of what was going on, I wish I had some skull wear, but you donít need to grasp it all to enjoy the plot. The ending was a surprise and hard to guess. Great imagination, loved the whole story.


When reading science fiction, I really enjoy it when a book presents me with a new concept that I have never before considered. This amazing book does so not just once but several times. Add enjoyable characters and plot - highly recommended. If you are a scifi fan (or even if not), do not miss this one.


I read these stories in Asimov's and maybe missed an installment or two, but whenever I hear someone speak of the Singularity these are what comes to mind.

Vance P. Frickey

Fast-paced, quirky, Douglas Adams with-an-edge-and-a-PhD-in-physics-style SF. Stross takes the reader on a fast trip through post-modern Europe in the first third of the book, then halfway across the Solar System in the next third, and then into utterly unimaginable places from there, never losing his wicked sense of humor (and it is VERY wicked) or his acuity of vision in the posthuman, postsingularity, and ultimately postbiological future.
A damn good read.


An excellent work regarding our future and the ever shifting definition of the Singularity. If you're interested in transhumanism, the singularity, cloud computing, search engines, futurism, etc. you'll probably enjoy reading this novel that is chock full of ideas--Stross shoves more ideas into a single chapter than most authors fit into an entire novel, which is quite a feat.

R Stephan

The novel won the 2006 Locus award, and was a nominee for the Hugo. Parts of it won earlier Hugos as novelettes.

Be sure to know your science/tech before embarking on this one. It may start as a usual postcyberpunk story but includes three generations, alien contacts, and a technology singularity. This was certainly, apart from Lem, the most far-reaching science fiction I've read so far. It's even hilariously funny, at times.

Lindsay Brambles

Well, it's epic and it's weird. It stretches the imagination. At times I'm inclined to feel too much so, with the result that the reader is, in effect, distanced from the characters. It's difficult to have a passion about a story when you find none of the characters of a nature that you can relate to in any way. On top of this, the book is so far reaching in some of it's ideas that you feel rather lost in the chaos of what the author is trying to describe. Of course, the future probably will be as wonderfully strange and incomprehensible as the portrait Stross paints. One only has to imagine how bizarre our own time would seem to someone transplanted from the nineteenth century. What would they make of the plethora of technology we so take for granted? Imagine how stunned they'd probably be by Bluetooth-enabled phones, where people walk around the streets seemingly talking to themselves. Cars and even planes they might understand, but could they really make sense of computers and the Internet?

If you want to get a taste of what it might be like if you were suddenly shifted ahead in time a hundred or more years, try 'Accelerando'. Just remember this isn't your father's SF.

Lindsay Brambles (author of In Darkness Bound)

Runny Babbit

Full of novel ideas. The book is slightly overlong - the last section being a bit tedious, and some of the relationships between characters made it seem like a hi-tech soap opera at times. Apart from those very slight blemishes, it's definitely a Must Read for science fiction fans.

Overall, I'd give it 4.75 out of 5.

btw, there's an explanation of Accelerando's technical terms at

Simon Westerly

Fast paced and fun, but you need to be a computer nerd, a post-modern economist and a futurologist to really understand it. By the end the characters had melded into a high-tech digital melting pot.

A very fast paced, forward looking, jargon-rich look at a post-singularity civilization -- great characters, and an intricate plot that could be expanded into an entire series.

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