Saturday, May 03, 2008

Halting State

Halting State is Charles Stross' latest contender for the best novel Hugo. It's got a shot too (although mostly because it wasn't a terribly great year). Which is not to say that this isn't a good book, just that it narrowly misses being a great one. The novel is a techno thriller, disguised as a spy novel, disguised as a heist story. The whole package is a lot of fun, but it would probably be less so for anyone who can't grok all the techo-babble.

What's also notable about this book, is that the whole thing is written in the 2nd person (from three alternating perspectives at that). It's an interesting choice, and it's used well for the purpose of adding a bit of immersiveness to a story that is largely about gaming. Stross has always been a writer who has been willing to gamble, which I respect even if he fails on occasion (and yes I do mean Accelerando). He certainly doesn't lack for ambition and he does succeed more than he fails. Halting State certainly makes it into his win column.

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