Right from the get-go, Accelerando assaults the imagination with a barrage of near-future possibility. The cadence of Stross’ writing along with a high density of techno-jargon that mixes reality and fiction stimulates in a way that other prose does not. This a favorite feature of many of Charles Stross’ novels and Accelerando does not disappoint. 

The story arc spans the tumultuous period of accelerating intelligence brought on by the release of the first truly sentient AI and achieving the Singularity. The plot could be a bit richer, but the book works well as a vehicle for asking intriguing questions about a future where AI is omnipresent, consciousness can be augmented by computing, and we can slip seamlessly between biological and computational existence. 

Accelerando also presents an interesting quandary surrounding the nature of space exploration. The novel makes it clear that our present understanding of the vastness of space is shockingly naive. Even when we achieve a level of immortality by transferring consciousnesses into a space-faring computer, the distances between interesting places in the universe prove to be an impossible barrier.




Irrespective of how you pronounce the title of this novel, Daemon tells the story of a near future distopia where AI runs amuck. It’s light-weight but engaging and you can probably finish it in a weekend despite its length (I read so much dense nonfiction that I forget how quickly time passes while reading an engaging novel). Okay, so the plot will hold your attention, but is it believable? Without giving too much away, there appears to be a computer program reaching into the real world from the virtual world and causing real harm to real people. The fundamental problem I have with this premise is that the apparent artifical intelligence runs without bugs and requires zero human intervention or support. In fact, it may have been designed by just a handful of people and set loose on the Internet. And in what seems like an incredibly short amount of time, it has developed an entire supply chain that employs human automatons who, with plans from the AI, have constructed an entire army complete with robotic cars and advanced weaponry.

The idea that just a handful of individuals could build such a robust application, in secret, with such a vast scope of capabilities strikes me as preposterous. Furthermore, even if such an AI could eventually be developed, the idea that such a system would somehow subvert all of the technological security mechanisms currently deployed on the Internet pushes me well past my ability to suspend disbelief.

There’s a bunch of disappointing stuff about character development and protagnosists as well, but I’ll leave that conversation out since it gives too much away. All of that said, I’m still going to read the sequel. On to Freedom™.