Accelerando by Charles Stross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Accelerando is a science fiction mind-bender that will stay with you long after you close the book.
What if your family was at the crux of the next phase of a human and artificial intelligence revolution?
Charles Stross tackles this question across decades and light years as the pace of technological advancement overtakes all efforts by reasonable people to ask, “Where exactly are we headed?”
The future is not bright for humanity. Nested Dyson spheres are harvesting most of the sun’s energy and humanity flees for the dark edges of the solar system as their own bodies are spliced and hacked beyond what we think of as people.
In the midst of all this change are characters scrabbling to make something of their lives. The story is told through the viewpoint of a succession of characters. Changes come at a breathless pace and the setting threatens to obscure the human story–that is precisely Stross’s point, I would hazard. It is unlikely we can ever go back to being “purely” human. In that case, what should we make of our future? And is our future actually in our hands, or have we already abdicated, leaving that responsibility to AI overlords who may not care that their appetites for energy and materials leave us with barely the means to survive?
If you’re up for a hurtling romp through the future of the solar system, this book is for you.