I’m a big fan of Charles Stross’s science fiction. He’s absolutely brilliant (listen to some of his talks on YouTube if you get the chance, or go read his blog posts), and it always comes across in his fiction.
On one level, Neptune’s Brood is a classic space opera novel involving interstellar space travel, colonization, and space battles.
On another level, Neptune’s Brood is a careful study of what you get when you rigorously think about how economic principles, human uploading, transhumanism, the limitations of light speed, and the cost moving matter apply to developing an interstellar civilization.
In other words, it’s the type of very smart fiction you expect from Charles Stross.
The occasional pitfall of uber-smart fiction is that it can sometimes be a challenge to read. If the ideas come too fast or require too much effort to grok, the reader ends up working so hard to understand things that the reading loses its fun. Stross manages to avoid that pitfall here. It’s an enjoyable, straightforward read underlaid with a foundation of brilliance.
You can get Neptune’s Brood on Amazon, and I’m sure everywhere else as well.
William Hertling is the author of the best-selling technothrillers Avogadro Corp, A.I. Apocalypse, and The Last Firewall. His first novel for kids age 8-12, The Case of the Wilted Broccoli, came out this summer. A writer and computer programmer, he lives in Portland, Oregon.