6) Accelerando, by
The complete sequence of nine stories in Charles Stross’s series about the Singularity And After originally published in Asimov’s. As a diligent reader of Hugo-nominees, I had in fact read four of these nine stories before – “Lobsters”, “Halo”, “Nightfall” and “Elector”, respectively nominated for Hugo awards in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and being stories #1, #4, #6 and #8 in the sequence. Now we have all nine together between one set of covers, mildly revised and tightened up (so the author assures us). As I’ve said in previous reviews (linked to by year of nomination), I found them so full of ideas that they were a little difficult for me to absorb. Having them all together as a unit does help.
A few things jump out at me that didn’t hit me on first reading. First of all, family is very important; the three generations of Manfred -> Amber -> Sirhan are faintly reminiscent of Abraham -> Isaac -> Jacob. Big differences too, obviously, but the “founding family” myth is there. Second, Charlie’s language at his best is reminiscent of early Zelazny at his best. I’ve recently been reading Samuel R Delany’s essay on Zelazny and Disch, and it’s sort of weird – people were saying about RZ forty years ago what they say about CS today. And finally, I have realised that, of course, the “EU politician” mentioned in “Elector” is in fact Gianni from the previous stories, not (as I had bemusedly surmised) a completely new character meant to be in some way satirical.
Anyway, good stuff, headed for a decent result in next year’s Hugo ballot I expect…