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Rule 34 by Charles Stross
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Rule 34 (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Charles Stross

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8454510,659 (3.65)26
Member:charliehungerford
Title:Rule 34
Authors:Charles Stross
Info:Orbit (2012), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2013

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Rule 34 by Charles Stross (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
This one did not even pass the 30-page test let alone the 80-page test. I read on somebody's blog that he thought it was one of the best sci-fi novels of 2011. Not hardly. There was not a single likable character (I am pretty sure Stross intended it that way) and too much senseless slang and authentic British (Scottish I think) accented dialog. A total pain to read and not the least bit interesting. Dark, Icky and boring is how I'd describe it. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Any story that follows at least seven different characters and is told entirely in the 2nd person would drive me mad. Stross is also guilty of pages worth of infodumps about made-up AIs. His characters' internal monologues are nearly indistinguishable and utilize strained, over-long metaphors that aren't nearly as clever as Stross thinks they are. The characters themselves are each a unique blend of characteristics, but in the end the only one I was even slightly interested in was the psychopath criminal, which I doubt was intended. And the AI's pov is the stupidest one I've heard yet.

So no, I didn't like this. It gets 2 stars from me on the basis that Stross is clearly trying to use new character types and I liked the economics subplot. But overall I found this to be turgid, boring, and a serious slog to get through. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
The book is written in second person, which at times makes it a bit harder to read than necessary, but once you've gotten used to the style the book very quickly becomes an excellent "what if.." based on today's online malarkey.

The book is at times written for insiders (local slang, local placenames, lots of internet memes) which will both date the book and make it more inaccessible for people outside the cultural referance frame.

Still, the plot and the "what if..." makes up for a lot of that. I relly enjoyed this book. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
Most of the public still believe in Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Rebus, the lone genius with an eye for clues: And it suits the brass to maintain the illusion of inscrutable detective insight for political reasons.
But the reality is that behind the magic curtain, there’s a bunch of uniformed desk pilots frantically shuffling terabytes of information, forensic reports and mobile-phone-traffic metadata and public-webcam streams and directed interviews, looking for patterns in the data deluge spewing from the fire-hose. Indeed, a murder investigation is a lot like a mechanical turk: a machine that resembles a marvellous piece of artificial-intelligence software, oracular in its acuity, but that under the hood turns out to be the work of huge numbers of human piece-workers coordinating via network. Crowdsourcing by cop, in other words.


I nominated this book to be read by my on-line book club, and from people's initial comments, it seemed not to be a very popular choice. Most people found the second person annoying at least to start with, or found that having so many viewpoint characters meant that they couldn't relate to any of them. People though there was too much technical detail and found the Kyrgyzstan and Issyk-Kulistan politics confusing, and a couple said that it would be better as a short story. On the other hand, this book did lead to a lot more discussion than most of the other books we have read, with people asking and answering questions about ATHENA and MacDonald's role in the story, and a couple of people commented that although they found it a chore to read, they found themselves thinking about it and talking to other people about it a lot after they finished. So it was a good choice for our book club after all.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and the main thing that I found confusing was about the Issyk-Kulistan bonds, which I had to go back and re-read again after I finished. After re-reading that section it did make sense, so I was probably rushing too much the first time. The second person viewpoint ceased to bother me about half way through and my early thoughts about second person being like a game master talking about what your game character is doing weren't far off the mark as it turns out. By the mid-point I was wondering how the author could possibly expect his readers to accept so many unlikely coincidences happening, and it was surprisingly satisfying to find out that there probably wasn't a single coincidence in the whole book. And now I will have to re-read Halting State to find out if that is the case that caused Liz's career to derail so spectacularly, as I can't remember much about the plot of the earlier book. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Nov 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Strossprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacKenzie, Robert IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"In Scotland, you can't believe how strong the homosexuals are." -Televangelist Pat Robertson, on the 700 Club, 1999 (attrib: BBC News)
Dedication
For George and Leo
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It's a slow Tuesday afternoon, and you're coming to the end of your shift on the West End control desk when Sergeant McDougall IMs you: INSPECTOR WANTED ON FATACC SCENE.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Head of the Rule 34 Squad monitoring the Internet for illegal activities, Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh investigates the link between three ex-con spammers who have been murdered.

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