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.