Thursday, September 10

Hiding Inside on A Sunny Day

And my face is starting to burn so allow me, if you will, to rave about a book.

I read Halting State by Charles Stross as it was a new addition to Torquay Library. It still had that sexy new book smell which is a luxury for me right now. But the smell isn't the point, neither is the cute pixel art on the cover.

Halting State is about very bad things going down in an online game. It's tales of futuristic technology are delicious. Nothing that hasn't been predicted in a feature on Click but made much more human by the everyday lives surrounding it.

The novel follows three characters Sue, of the Edinburgh constabulary, Jack, who knits and programmes and, Elaine, forensic accountant and - in her spare time - a medieval swords person. The viewpoint is switched to tell the story from the three perspectives. I tried to race through Sue's because her story was much less interwoven with the other two.

What was really clever though is that it is written in third person. It gives a great effect of throwing you in the story and getting you emotionally involved without giving the game away. After all you assume you knows all about it while I may want to give subtle hints or tell you outright. This way the surprises stay surprises.

The plot moves on from robbery in an online game through industrial sabotage and international espionage the plot becomes a little hard to follow in the last twenty pages or so. The race for 'The End' is fast paced and in that it looses something.

Halting State is, however, a fantastic, realistic near future bit of SF. It gets extra bonus points for having characters instead of caricatures and someone who knits.

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