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Neptune's Brood

by Charles Stross

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Saturn's Children (2)

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8004628,239 (3.71)31
After being stalked across the galaxy by an assassin, post-human Krina Alzon-114 journeys to the water-world Shin-Tethys in search of her sister.

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One of the things I most like about Stross' SF novels is that they usually are about something: some idea or three that he uses the novel to explore in rich detail. This books is about the somewhat recondite subject of interstellar banking: how do you conduct financial transactions across interstellar distances when you are limited by the speed of light. This might not seem like promising grounds for a novel, but Stross carries it off. This novel is also set in the same literary universe as [b:Saturn's Children|2278387|Saturn's Children|Charles Stross|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348429796s/2278387.jpg|2284499]. In this series, biological humanity has been long-since replaced by robots of our creation. But the robots' minds are very similar to ours (for reasons Stross explains quickly, but doesn't get lost in), so in most important respects they are "human" and behave as such. I find the implications of this (which are also one of the Subjects About Which This Novel Is) more intriguing than the banking storyline. Nonetheless, [b:Neptune's Brood|15985402|Neptune's Brood (Freyaverse #2)|Charles Stross|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358215802s/15985402.jpg|21562011] is an enjoyable read, but not Stross' best. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
Good performance, an occasional flubbed word ("litch-ins?") and some artificial gruffness with low voices, but decent over all. Stross makes good stories out of bureaucracy, and the labyrinthine rules of finance and currency drive this story of debt, fraud, and interstellar adventure.

Love this line: "...which means I need to brief you on the politics of mermaids."

Borrowed from Hoopla. ( )
  yarmando | Sep 21, 2023 |
This book took me a very long time to get through. I found it a slog. It's an "ideas" book, and its plot takes a long time to get going, only finally picking up steam in the last act. And the writing style is really thick with strange words. Satisfying to understand, but it could just take a long time to get through each page because I'm trying to decipher the author's unusual syntax.

I liked the interstellar economic ideas, though. I just couldn't quite relate to the "post-human" characters - they're really androids made up of thousands of small independent cells, so they can remake their body shapes indefinitely. And the main character doesn't really have strong emotions. ( )
  finlaaaay | Aug 1, 2023 |
I like the ‘Space Gothic’ parts. I have always had a weakness for horror/gothic set in a vast decaying starship/space-ship (see movies: Pandorum, that one Hellraiser movie, Event Horizon, Sunshine even). The book opens with a quote from Graeber's academic work Debt: The First 5,000 Years, which I have been reading just a week before starting the book. The scope is vast, and I hope the other Stross books I haven’t read have this characteristic as well. The characterizations are good, great. Interesting technological reveals. Social and economic and political explorations. Neptune’s Brood has just given me more motivation to finish Graeber’s book. ( )
  rufus666 | Aug 14, 2022 |
Who knew forensic accounting could be so exciting?

I do have two quibbles with this book though. Stross has an annoying habit of namechecking flavour of the month techs, so a type of financial instrument central to the plot is rather incongruously called bitcoin. Which it has no resemblence to apart from involving blockchains. The other is there is too much telling when most of it could be shown, in my opinion.

Despite this it's a fun and slightly silly romp which I thoroughly enjoyed. A better book in my opinion than than Saturn's Children. It's up there with the Laundry Series. Just don't go looking for meanings. ( )
  Andrew_C | Jan 8, 2022 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Strossprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corless, Laura K.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frangie, RitaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauro, TonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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And what of the Grail, that mysterious object that all the knights-errant were ultimately seeking? Oddly enough, Richard Wagner, composer of the opera Parzifal, first suggested that the Grail was a symbol inspired by the new forms of finance. While earlier epic heroes sought after, and fought over, piles of real, concrete gold and silver—the Nibelung's hoard—these new ones, born of the new commercial economy, pursued purely abstract forms of value. No one, after all, knew precisely what the Grail was… Marc Shell even suggested that it would best be conceived as a blank check, the ultimate financial abstraction.

—David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years
For everyone, everywhere,

who's ever looked at the stars and thought,

I wonder if we could live there?
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"I can get you a cheaper ticket if you let me amputate your legs: I can even take your thighs as a deposit," said the travel agent.
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After being stalked across the galaxy by an assassin, post-human Krina Alzon-114 journeys to the water-world Shin-Tethys in search of her sister.

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