Rule 34 — Charlie Stross

Cover of Rule 34


Rule 34
Charlie Stross
358 pages
published in 2011

It’s only thanks to Christopher Priest’s tirade about this year’s Clarke Award shortlist that you remember that you haven’t reviewed Charlie Stross latest novel, Rule 34 yet. You know that, like Halting State, which it is a sequel to, it’s written in the second person and you briefly toy with the idea to write your review the same way. But then you come to your senses and decide to write the rest of the review in a less irritating way.

Not that I minded the second person point of view in Rule 34, as Charlie Stross made it work and it fit the central metaphor of these books, reality as a massive multiplayer immersive game. At the same time I can see where Christopher Priest is coming from when he writes:

Stross writes like an internet puppy: energetically, egotistically, sometimes amusingly, sometimes affectingly, but always irritatingly, and goes on being energetic and egotistical and amusing for far too long. You wait nervously for the unattractive exhaustion which will lead to a piss-soaked carpet.

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