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Halting State (Ace Science Fiction) by…
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Halting State (Ace Science Fiction) (edition 2008)

by Charles Stross

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2,2161074,171 (3.76)96
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:Halting State (Ace Science Fiction)
Authors:Charles Stross
Info:Ace (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Halting State by Charles Stross

  1. 60
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (infiniteletters)
  2. 40
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (ahstrick)
  3. 30
    Rule 34 by Charles Stross (Mind_Booster_Noori)
    Mind_Booster_Noori: Read Halting State first. If you like it, don't miss reading Rule 34.
  4. 20
    Jennifer Government by Max Barry (ljbwell)
    ljbwell: Both give a humorous-with-a-bite view of the future of global politics & economics with a techie bent.
  5. 10
    This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams (noneofthis)
  6. 10
    Makers by Cory Doctorow (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: Both are near-future extrapolations of technology, behavior and society.
  7. 10
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (infiniteletters)
  8. 00
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (infiniteletters)
  9. 00
    Anda's Game (Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now) by Cory Doctorow (infiniteletters)
  10. 00
    Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (sdobie)
    sdobie: Near future thriller in an always-online world.
  11. 01
    Kraken by China Miéville (MyriadBooks)
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» See also 96 mentions

English (106)  French (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
Okay plot, although Stross thinks he's being more innovative than he really is. The idea of people thinking they're playing war games, only to find out it's real, has been done many times. (Ender's Game for one, and lots of movies from the 1980's). The main characters appealing, but undeveloped. Also, I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, but the word "librarian" describes a profession. It does not mean nerdy, intellectual, sexually repressed, insecure, spinsters! I hate to smash your daydreams, guys, but some librarians are soccer moms. Some librarians already have boyfriends. Some librarians are men.

I did like Stross' ideas about what a highly electronically connected world will look like, and how handicapped everyone will when they have to turn it all off. That, and a forlorn hope that I would eventually grasp all of the plot, kept me going to the end of the book. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Detective Sergeant Sam Smith is tasked with a bank robbery investigation but when she arrives at the scene of the crime realises that it won't be your typical bank robbery case. First off is the fact that the robbery was carried out by a bunch of orcs assisted by a dragon. Secondly it's not a real bank at all but a virtual one for an online game and the owners of the company that runs the bank don't really want the local police involved and believe it should have gone to SOCA (the Scottish Organised Crime Agency). With the company just having been floated on the stock market a calamity like this could wipe €30m off the share price. Elaine Barnaby is a forensic accountant for an insurance company and her employers have also set her to work on an investigation into this case but as her gaming expertise is limited to live-action real-time role-play she's going to need some help. Enter Jack Reed, recently out of work programmer, who when told the nature of the contract he's just signed up for realises the heist has consequences far more wide ranging than first imagined.

This is a near-future thriller with technology playing a key role both in its everyday use and for plot purposes and while there is a certain amount of technobabble and geekdom references it's easy enough to follow what's going on. That's good, as the pace of the story is relentless and this is aided by the three person viewpoint so you're always in the thick of the action. Being written in the second person also helped with setting the scene as with being set around the online gaming world and other immersive technologies it puts the reader into an adventuring type of mindset. It's also quite a fun story to read and the use of corporate politics is spot-on. My first Stross book will definitely not be my last. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jul 12, 2018 |

I really, really liked Halting State, by Charles Stross. This near-future thriller moves at breakneck speed, from several different perspectives. I'd call it a page-turner, but I read it in electronic format :)

The tech/geek references fly even faster than the story itself. Someone not familiar with computer gaming, LARPing, or general SF/F fandom may have a hard time keeping up. There were times where I felt I was missing things, and I like to think I'm reasonably well versed in such things. Mr. Stross suggests some amazing, yet believable technology. But the writing and the plotting is engaging enough to hold my interest, even when I felt lost.

He doesn't predict jacking into computer systems, not does he have everyone getting technology surgically implanted. Most people wear glasses or goggles that overlay the internet on normal vision. No, really. Just go read it - it's very smooth and makes a whole lot of sense.

Our first viewpoint character is Detective Seargent Sue Smith. She wants to do a good job, and take care of her wife and son. I really, really like that Mr. Stross doesn't make a big deal out of the same sex relationship - it's just part of who Sue is. She's the closest we get to an Every(wo)man. She's a competent user of the ubiquitous, immersive technology, but doesn't give any thought to how it works - just like most end users today. She works with a virtual environment, then puts it aside to live her personal life.

Then there's Elaine. She's a VR LARPer by night, and an insurance fraud auditor by day. Like Sue, she use the technology, but doesn't question it. And I seriously want in on a couple of the games she's playing in! She works with computers, but plays in immersive VR on her own time.

Next we meet Jack, a programmer, gamer, and some-times hacker. He does know how the technology works, so he's the first to get scared. He, basically, lives in immersive technology, gaming as part of his workday, and using VR overlays nearly constantly in his personal life. He's the over-connected gamer geek turned up to 11.

Eventually, I'm going to have to re-read Halting State. The plot is complex; I'm looking forward to seeing nuances I missed the first time around. And I'm looking forward to spending time with our viewpoint characters again. All three have a wonderful depth. Between them, just about anyone can find a character to identify with. With that connection, you're in for a roller coaster of a story, as three initially separate storylines converge, then blossom into a near-epic denouement. Each one has a different perspective, and different pieces of the puzzle. Once you get there, you see how everything led up to it - but you probably didn't see it coming.

Go, read it! ( )
1 vote hopeevey | May 19, 2018 |
This book was written in 2007-08 and is set in 2018. Having come to it late, I was staggered from the very first page as to how close Charlie Stross has come to accurately depicting the IT industry of my present day. The introduction takes the form of a speculative approach from an IT recruitment agency. I spent six months of 2016 looking for work in IT, so I was hooked from the outset.

I'm not a techie person (I test software for a living, and I approach the job from the user's p.o.v.), but all the techno-babble that Stross uses was actually fairly comprehensible to me - that is, it made about as much sense to me in the novel as it does when I hear almost exactly the same terms used in the office. In the interview appended to the Orbit UK pb edition, Stross comments that there was little in the novel that didn't already exist; and what doesn't is very close to our present tech horizon. He did, in truth, work in the industry, and it shows, both in terms of the techie-speak and in the characters, personalities and settings. He has corporate management and office conspiracies right down to the smallest detail.

The politics is like ours, only slightly different. The novel takes place in an independent Scotland, still negotiating the terms of its divorce from a Remnant UK which is still in the EU; and even though our current political situation is (sort of) opposite, it still feels very relevant and understandable.

The plot concerns a (real) robbery from a (virtual) bank in an online role-playing game. I'm not a gamer, but I know sufficient people who are for this to have relevance. Teams from the police and from a firm of forensic accountants try to find out what was stolen, from whom, why, and how. Things quickly move into a much more serious space. The cover blurbs mention William Gibson, and certainly a lot of this had the feel of Gibson's exploration of new angles to our online world that no-one's thought of yet (or at least not gone public with yet).

Stross is a Scot by adoptive choice, so his affection for Edinburgh comes out strongly. As to the accents - well, if you watch a few episodes of the Eighties/Nineties/Noughties cop show 'Taggart', you'll get the gist of what's being said.

I bought this book on the first day of the UK Science Fiction Easter convention and started reading it that evening. I felt compelled to finish it as soon as I could, so much did the story and setting grab me. Oh, and the cover of the Orbit UK paperback, with graphics showing in-game avatars, includes one of Charlie Stross himself.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | Apr 19, 2017 |
The Scottish dialect was slightly unsettling because of my unfamiliarity with it, but the novel as a whole is quick paced, inventive and entertaining. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
This is his tightest-plotted novel to date, a detective story with a million perfectly meshed moving parts, and a hundred magnificent surprises that had me gasping and shouting YES.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 2, 2007)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Strossprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frangie, RitaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toulouse, SophieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
In memory of Datacash Ltd. and all who sailed in her, 1997-2000
Books do not get written in majestic isolation, and this one is no exception. Certainly it wouldn't exist in its current form without valuable feedback from a host of readers. I'd particularly like to thank Vernor Vinge, Hugh Hancock, Greg Costikyan, Ron Avitzur, Eric Raymond, Tony Quirke, Robert Sneddon, Paul Friday, Dave Bush, Alexander Chane Austin, Larry Colen, Harry Payne, Trey Palmer, Dave Clements, Andrew Veitch, Hannu Rajaniemi, Soon Lee, and Jarrod Russell. I'd also like to thank my other test readers, too numerous to thank today. Finally, thanks to the publishing folks without whom the book wouldn't have been written: my agent, Caitlin Blasdell, my editor at Ace, Ginjer Buchanan, and my copyeditors, Bob and Sara Schwager.
Vernor Vinge
Hugh Hancock
Greg Costikyan
First words
Hello. We're Round Peg/Round Hole Recruitment. We want to offer you a job on behalf of one of our clients.
Quotations
You're a grown-up, these days. You don't wear a kamikaze pilot's rising sun headband and a tee-shirt that screams DEBUG THIS! and you don't spend your weekends competing in extreme programming slams at a windy campsite near Frankfurt, but it's generally difficult for you to use any machine that doesn't have at least one compiler installed: In fact, you had to stick Python on your phone before you even opened its address book because not being able to brainwash it left you feeling handicapped, like you were a passenger instead of a pilot. In another age you would have been a railway mechanic or a grease monkey crawling over the spark plugs of a DC-3. This is what you are, and the sad fact is, they can put the code monkey in a suit but they can't take the code out of the monkey.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
"In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com start-up company that's just floated onto the London stock exchange. But this crime may be a bit beyond Smith's expertise." "The prime suspects are a band of marauding orcs with a dragon in tow for fire support. The bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four, and the robbery was supposed to be impossible. When word gets out, Hayek Associates and all their virtual "economies" are going to crash hard." "For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But the deeper she digs, the bigger the case gets. There are powerful players - both real and pixilated - who are watching her every move. Because there is far more at stake than just some game-head's fantasy financial security."--BOOK JACKET
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441016073, Mass Market Paperback)

Now in paperback?from the author of Saturn?s Children.

In the year 2018, a daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. But Sergeant Sue Smith discovers that this virtual world robbery may be linked to some real world devastation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com start-up company that's just floated onto the London stock exchange. But this crime may be a bit beyond Smith's expertise." "The prime suspects are a band of marauding orcs with a dragon in tow for fire support. The bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four, and the robbery was supposed to be impossible. When word gets out, Hayek Associates and all their virtual "economies" are going to crash hard." "For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But the deeper she digs, the bigger the case gets. There are powerful players - both real and pixilated - who are watching her every move. Because there is far more at stake than just some game-head's fantasy financial security."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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