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The year is 2012, and China, India, and the United States are waging an infowar for economic domination. With innocent gamers mere pawns in the hands of electronic intelligence agencies, programmer Jack Reed is tasked with ferreting out the plot of those who would gladly trade global turmoil for personal gain.
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By C. Hartmann on 01-08-12
2 Smart Books Well Worth the Listen - Great Reader
I enjoy hard science fiction particularly when it comes in very long books or multiple book series -- with one or more of the following themes: modern space operas, complex storylines, detective or noir/cyberpunk overtones, cascading clever thoughts/dialogue and/or military. This has led me to works by Peter F. Hamilton (Void Trilogy, Greg Madel Series), Dan Simmons (Hyperion), Alastair Reynolds (Revelation Space Trilogy, Terminal World), Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon) and most recently Charles Stross.
Halting State and Rule 34 are a swirling, clever, funny and very complex pair of police procedurals done just enough into the future to look at the next big thing in social engineering, computing, communications and just about anything else you can imagine.
I initially found it hard to get into the three rotating storylines and the fact that the narration is, oddly, in the second person -- but it was worth the work to do so. If you start the read, stay with it. It is like a fantastic rollercoaster that is always running just a bit above your comprehension. Fun is made of corporate-speak, internet over-connection and geeks galore -- but at the bottom this is a rock solid procedural with a clever and appealing set of smart characters.
The initial mechanism of a bank robbery of a bank that exists only within an online game should not deter those who are not gaming fans....it is just a first step. The fun begins with the FANTASTIC Scottish dialect (and absolutely tremendous performance by the reader) and will sweep you away as the twists and turns look like a cross between HOMELAND and a LaCarre novel. I have moved these two book up to my top ten list -- and hope that we get a wee bit more in the future.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By Sean Vikoren on 04-29-16
Can the story survive the narration?
Dear Robert Ian MacKenzie, please do something else with your life. You are one of the worst narrators to have given it a shot...and kudos for trying, but unlike your friends, I will tell you the truth: you can't do this job.
Dear Charles Stross, you really need to take a deeper interest in the business of your life. You are a great writer, but you would have been better off reading this yourself. Your writing is buried here. Please get your books redone. Continuous rising intonation and surprise can not be used for story telling. It's funny in a surprising way for about three minutes.
A glorious story with deep truths about our world. Buy the paper or Kindle.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful