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Saturn's Children by Charles Stross
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Saturn's Children

by Charles Stross

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Saturn's Children (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,330618,764 (3.44)52
Recently added byprivate library, CatalogingSteve, Tod_Christianson, heinemusik, DougBaker, chaosfox
  1. 50
    Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (bertilak, infiniteletters)
  2. 00
    I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (questbird)
    questbird: A collection of Isaac Asimov's Robot stories, where he makes his Three Laws of Robotics explicit. These Three Laws have influenced all subsequent science fiction about robots, including 'Saturn's Children', which is a riff on the Laws.
  3. 00
    The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez (hoddybook)
    hoddybook: Both offer an enjoyable romp with advanced sentient AIs
  4. 00
    With Folded Hands by Jack Williamson (questbird)
    questbird: A tale about robots who carry out their duty to protect humanity to an extreme degree, with negative consequences.
  5. 01
    Crossover by Joel Shepherd (hoddybook)
    hoddybook: Both have female ai's with a high libido in a dangerous universe.
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» See also 52 mentions

English (60)  French (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
(I received this audiobook through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing.)

This book is heavy on the worldbuilding more than the other conventional attributes of good storytelling, but I enjoyed its vision of the far distant future. There are pivotal scenes which take place largely offstage, large numbers of characters whom we take the effort to get to know who end up being abandoned long before the end, and crucial plot points which are simply stated in a non-dramatic fashion to the point where they seem like offhand remarks. Yet the characters which work do work quite well, in my opinion, and the otherworldly settings work well as convincingly strange, and even if the central plot conceit (inhabited space dominated by the forces of economics) ends up giving impression of being the author's pet hobby-horse, it just kind of works for me in a way.

By the end, I didn't know what the fate of the flying cathedral or the status of the undersea room stuffed with books actually was. Still, I'll remember the spacegoing piratical capitalist bats lead by Count Rudi, the pathologically self-absorbed Gravid Mother, and sweep of conspiracies thousands of years in the making for a while. Do I wish that Krina were more of an active agent in her own story instead of simply reacting to what happened to her? Yes, of course, but I am willing to give her a pass given the interesting way she describes what it was like to be given benthic mermaid form in an ocean hundreds of kilometers deep. The book is too long to make a good film, yet I would be pleased to witness some of these spectacles if someone were to try.

The audiobook narrated by Emily Gray brought out the rather old-fashioned nature of the main character's viewpoint on things and lightened up what might have been a heavy infodump-prone read. I suspect that if I'd experienced this in written form instead of through this narration I would have given it only three stars, but that's the way this subjective matter of reviewing works. ( )
  rmagahiz | Jan 11, 2019 |
Post-human world sexbots vs post-human world butlers, man. It's so much better than it sounds. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |

Saturn's Children is a fast paced, action filled space opera with a somewhat convoluted plot and underlying mystery. The story is written in the first person giving the reader insight into Freya's increasing paranoia and confusion and although I don't have a problem with swearing in a book, her language seemed to be controlled by a censorship chip limiting her ability for profanity; shit being the only word reserved for up-the-creek-without-a-paddle bad situations and repeated often that it got annoying. The erotic element felt lackluster and fell flat for me and considering that the protagonist was created solely as a pleasure robot for an extinct race, the sex seemed emotionless and robotic (haha).

I had high expectations of Saturn's Children, I thought I'd found something substantial that would stay with me long after I finished it and though I enjoyed the world building and well crafted story, it was much more lighthearted than I had expected despite the dark themes of slavery and extinction tackled in the story.

It's been a while since I've read Sci fi and though it was OK and not great, this book still made me want to read more from this author and the genre in general. ( )
  yas4735 | May 1, 2018 |
Charles Stross' work can be really hit or miss for me. This book was enjoyable, but seemed almost rushed. I don't mean rushed in terms of pacing, but almost like there was a lot going on in his head that never actually made it to the page, which made it a far less thoughtful book than it could have been.

There are some interesting ideas in here, particularly the musing on how a society of robots designed to serve humanity cope with the fact that humans are extinct, and thus their primary purpose in life is obsolete. There's a lot of heady thought wrapped up in that idea, including questions of free will. There is also a lot to think about in terms of identity as each robot is based off of a template persona's memories and can trade their own memories with others of the same template. These difficult issues are discussed, but Stross seems worried that too much exploration of these existential problems would get in the way of the story, which results in some of these questions being simply glossed over, making them feel too much like simple plot devices rather than the central issues that they are.

One thing I will note here is that many of the robots (even the non-humanoid ones) have a particular fascination with sex. It's significant that Stross points out that as humanity attempts to make robots in our own image, it is only natural that they would end up sharing our preoccupation with sex as well.

To sum up: interesting ideas and an entertaining read, but not nearly as complex as it could have been. I had fun reading this, but on the whole I ended up feeling disappointed. ( )
  andrlik | Apr 24, 2018 |
I am always all over the place with Stross. He is a gifted writer and can really put a story together but sometimes his books just don't knock me out.

This book was good but I admit that I was expecting more and it wasn't nearly as clever as I think it was suppose to be. I will continue to read Stross but I have a feeling he is going to always be one of those writers that just completely wows me or is just all right. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Somewhere, Heinlein is proudly smiling.
added by Shortride | editAsimov's Science Fiction, Paul Di Filippo (Sep 1, 2009)
 
This is a fabulous book, a witty and deep critique of the field's shibboleths, and well worth the price of admission.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Nov 10, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Strossprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gibbons, LeeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williamsen,JoeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.'
- Sir Isaac Newton
Dedication
This book is dedicated to the memory of two of the giants of science fiction:
Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988) and
Isaac Asimov (January 2, 1920 - April 6, 1992)
First words
Today is the two-hundredth anniversary of the final extinction of my One True Love, as close as I can date it.
Quotations
Why bother learning all that biochemistry stuff-or how to design a building, or conn a boat, or balance accounts, or solve equations, or comfort the dying-when you can get other people to do all that for you in exchange for a blow job?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441015948, Hardcover)

Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters - hardwired to become aroused at the mere sight of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct. Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. What's more, the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry - and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way. But if Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul ...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sometime in the twenty-third century, humanity went extinct leaving only androids behind. Freya Nakamichi 47 is a femmebot, one of the last of her kind still functioning. With no humans left to pay for the pleasures she provides, she agrees to transport a mysterious package from Mercury to Mars. Unfortunately for Freya, she has just made herself a moving target for some very powerful, very determined humanoids who will stop at nothing to possess the contents of the package.… (more)

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