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Publisher's Summary

Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross takes listeners into the near future for this breathtaking thriller. As head of the Rule 34 Squad, Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh keeps a close eye on Internet activity, monitoring whether people are participating in harmless fantasies or engaging in illegal activities. When three criminal spammers are murdered, it’s up to Liz to determine how the victims were connected. If she can’t figure it out, more people will surely die.
©2011 Charles Stross (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By C. Hartmann on 01-08-12

Wild Ride Picks Up Where "Halting State" Left Off

[See Review of Halting State]

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.
When I read the first book, Halting State, 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. This book is less frantic and easier to track than the first one. Again though, it is a rock solid procedural with a clever and appealing set of smart characters. Once again, 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.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michael G Kurilla on 12-18-11

William Gibson + 30 years

In the same vein that William Gibson set the standard for envisioning an interconnected, online virtual reality 30 years ago, Charles Stross is setting the standard today for the evolution of the development in an online, virtual reality world that is coming to play an ever greater role in our lives today.

While Rule 34 can be viewed as a sequel to his previously excellent, Halting State, only locale (Scotland) and Inspector Liz have been retained. This story begins with a murder with several unusual circumstances. As the story unfolds, other seemingly independent players are introduced with eventual intersections that become quite complex involving more bizarre murders, international financial wizardry, and software designed to ferret out crime. All the while, Stross is exploring possibilities in online capabilities as well as developments in manufacturing analogous to earlier developments of electrical dynamos leading to small, electric motors. As far as near future stories go (over the next 25 years), Stross does an excellent job of creating a plausible, believable world that could develop.

Most fascinating about the story is Stross selection of a multiple, third person narrative style with a continual stream of consciousness. The reader is always inside the head of a character getting a front row seat to all the action as well as internal commentary that includes witty and humorous observations on how things do and don't work out well.

The narrator does an exceptional job of rendering Scottish accents in a manner that is perfectly understandable in addition to other non-Scottish characters.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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