hutch0 (hutch0) wrote,


Next up is The Family Trade by Charles Stross, which wasn't bad. This is a bit of a departure for Charlie, being a fantasy rather than the usual flat-out rush of post-cyberpunk, or whatever the hell it's called that he does. It's the first book of, I think, a trilogy, so really it's about introducing the characters and settings and situation, which it does most efficiently. There were bits that reminded me of The Talisman, and bits which rather alarmingly reminded me of The Villages, and even more alarmingly - considering I haven't even finished it yet - Europe In Autumn (and even more alarmingly than that the sequel, Community, which I haven't even started properly.) I guess there's nothing new under the sun.
I thought it rushed a bit, when it could usefully have slowed down from a headlong canter in places, but it seemed to be effortlessly written and I enjoyed it and I'll be getting the rest of the books when they come out here, although I got the itchy feeling that it wasn't classic Stross.

For classic Stross you have to read Toast. I'm not sure this counts towards my total because I'd already read a lot of the stories in this collection elsewhere, so I stormed through it a bit, but honestly it was a joy to read some of these stories again. I'm a big fan of Charlie's novels - I think the Laundry books are terrific - but I think his real strength is his short stories. Toast rounds up some of his older short work and includes `A Colder War,' which I think is a truly mighty thing, the original version of `Lobsters,' which went on to be the first section of Accelerando, and my all-time favourite, `Dechlorinating The Moderator,' which still makes me smile now. The only omission I would have liked to see here is `Something Sweet,' which he wrote with Simon Ings way back in the day and was the first time I realised it might be worth keeping an eye on both of them.
Anyway Toast is a little gem and I'm kind of annoyed it hasn't found a mainstream publisher, because it deserves to. Highly recommended.

Oh, and I carried on doing the editing thing on NW2. Boy do you folks have a surprise coming. The editing sucks, but the stories are total diamonds. Not a dud among them. Ooh, I'm so proud of these guys.

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    Has this stuff been coming in since the Russians took over?

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