I wanna get off.

Well, maybe.  I've been reading Charles Stross' Accelerando (the print version), and while I don't hate it, I'm not too thoroughly engrossed, either.  I'd read and liked the segments I'd read previously ('Lobsters' and 'Halo' were both Hugo nominees as short fiction), but as a novel, it's too much.
I recently read an article about how Stross' and Cory Doctorow's style is the latest Big Thing in SF; that is, books focusing on the Singularity and the posthuman.  (And now I can't find the article.  I think it might have been from an interview at WorldCon in Glasgow last year.)  And while I can't say that I dislike the concepts or the characters, there's just…
I guess my real problems are two-fold:
Firstly, I don't feel an emotional attachment to the characters like I should.  In fact, I have a lot of this problem with not only Stross, but his contemporaries in the genre.  I also have this problem with Neil Gaiman's work.
Secondly, let's just say that plot gets lost in the exposition of concepts and (in the words of Don Henley) the post-postmodern world.  Either I'm trying to figure out the tech and the world in terms I can understand, or I'm trying to figure out the plot.  Maybe I'm just woefully behind and dumb, but I really can't do both at once on a first read, and I don't feel connected enough to the characters to read it again.  I realise that this is an aspect of the Singularity, that technology skyrockets and people are left behind, but leaving ME behind isn't exactly the best plan as a writer.
(As an aside, in diametric opposition to this, I read Catherine Asaro's Primary Inversion this past week, which had backstory and tech explanation clunkily hit you over the head.  Frankly, I have to confess that I found this more painful than scanty explanations.)

So yeah.  It's good SF.  But it's not my personal cuppa.  Perhaps it's revealing that I like Stross' female characters best, as I'm heading to WisCon 30 tomorrow.  If Stross wrote a whole book on Amber Macx, and if it were 100 pages shorter than Accelerando already is, I think I'd enjoy it more.  Meanwhile, I'll be stalking and fangirling my favourite feminist SF authors…see you there.

Advertisements