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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rule 34 by Charles Stross

Rule 34Rule 34 by Charles Stross

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 Jacket Blurb:  DI Liz Kavanaugh: You realise policing internet porn is your life and your career went down the pan five years ago. But when a fetishist dies on your watch, the Rule 34 Squad moves from low priority to worryingly high profile. Anwar: As an ex-con, you'd like to think your identity fraud days are over. Especially as you've landed a legit job (through a shady mate). Although now that you're Consul for a shiny new Eastern European Republic, you've no idea what comes next. The Toymaker: Your meds are wearing off and people are stalking you through Edinburgh's undergrowth. But that's ok, because as a distraction, you're project manager of a sophisticated criminal operation. But who's killing off potential recruits? So how do bizarre domestic fatalities, dodgy downloads and a European spamming network fit together? The more DI Kavanaugh learns, the less she wants to find out


This was a Arthur C. Clarke award nominee for 2012 and missed the final Hugo Nominee ballot by one vote for 2012.

Rule 34 is a fascinating blend of murder mystery and police procedural under a veneer of science fiction that was a little too close to reality to make the concepts entirely comfortable. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the purpose was to make the reader a tich uneasy.  Everyone is directly linked into the web through their glasses (Google anyone?), the police have special software they can lay over the city and pick up on who's done what and when, and surveillance is everywhere.  Sound familiar?

It took me a while to get into the book despite being trapped in a car for two days for 13 hours each day.  The second person narrative was a detraction - I found it difficult to sink my teeth into the story when the narrative kept referring to "you".  You did this and you did that and "You" are all the characters, not just one main one.   Once I could settle in and get into the cadence of the plot, I didn't want to put it down.

Each chapter is devoted to the POV of one character, the main three being the police detective Liz Cavannaugh, the Toymaker who works for the Organization, and Anwar who is a luckless chap because Lady Luck has walked out on him.  Occasionally we are given a secondary or tertiary character to get a feel for the behind the scenes action that is driving the plot. 

My main complaint with the plot was the expository explanations that seemed to go on and on.  By the end I was skimming those to get to what I considered the "meat" of the book, that being how our heroine, Liz, was going to connect the dots solve the mystery.

This is touted as being sequel to Halting State, which I read in 2008 and really enjoyed.  It might have been helpful to have remembered or recently read book one, but I don't feel it was necessary. I don't think Rule 34 was as strong as Halting State, but still a very enjoyable book and I regret not seeing this on the final Hugo ballot for 2012.  Recommended. 



View all my reviews
This was a Arthur C. Clarke award nominee for 2012 and missed the final Hugo Nominee ballot by one vote for 2012. 

Rule 34 is a fascinating blend of murder mystery and police procedural under a veneer of science fiction that was a little too close to reality to make the concepts entirely comfortable. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the purpose was to make the reader a tich uneasy.  Everyone is directly linked into the web through their glasses (Google anyone?), the police have special software they can lay over the city and pick up on who's done what and when, and surveillance is everywhere.  Sound familiar? 

It took me a while to get into the book despite being trapped in a car for two days for 13 hours each day.  The second person narrative was a detraction - I found it difficult to sink my teeth into the story when the narrative kept referring to "you".  You did this and you did that and "You" are all the characters, not just one main one.   Once I could settle in and get into the cadence of the plot, I didn't want to put it down.

Each chapter is devoted to the POV of one character, the main three being the police detective Liz Cavannaugh, the Toymaker who works for the Organization, and Anwar who is a luckless chap because Lady Luck has walked out on him.  Occasionally we are given a secondary or tertiary character to get a feel for the behind the scenes action that is driving the plot.

My main complaint with the plot was the expository explanations that seemed to go on and on.  By the end I was skimming those to get to what I considered the "meat" of the book, that being how our heroine, Liz, was going to connect the dots solve the mystery. 

This is touted as being sequel to Halting State, which I read in 2008 and really enjoyed.  It might have been helpful to have remembered or recently read book one, but I don't feel it was necessary. I don't think Rule 34 was as strong as Halting State, but still a very enjoyable book.  Recommended. 



 






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