I'm well ahead on at least one New Year's resolution (Read 20 books in
2006? Yes. Work out three times per week? Sort of. Publish at least
three short stories in 2006? Not a chance.) thanks to finishing my read
When I first got heavy into reading science fiction about five years ago, I got a subscription to Asimov's magazine,
and one of the very first stories I read was a mindblowing piece of
short fiction called "Lobsters," by a new-to-me author called Charles
Stross. I'd heard the name in passing, thanks to interviews with some
of my favorite comic book writers (notably Warren Ellis),
and I instantly understood what all the fuss was about. Stross' story
was so densely packed with wild and wonderful ideas that reading it
literally imparted an intellectual high.
In the following months and years, Stross published a series of
follow-up stories in the Lobsterverse, and I consumed them with the
abandon of an opium fiend getting his first hit of dragonsbreath after
long months of withdrawal. Alas, my Asimov's subscription
eventually lapsed, and I found that work and life demanded too much of
my time for me to read the entire magazine cover-to-cover, so I never
renewed. In so doing, I also never got closure to my Lobsterverse
affair, having read only the first seven of its nine chapters. Even
When I learned of Accelerando, the collected Lobsterverse
stories, I rejoiced, and quickly put it on my Christmas list. Of all
the tomes I received as gifts, I saved it for last, and I rattled off
the final story in the book last night.
It was totally worth the wait. Accelerando easily paints the
most intense vision of humanity's future that I've ever encountered,
and it's got a multigenerational (and multi-incarnational) love story
to boot. The themes vary from grossly nihilistic to patently wonderous,
seem terrifying, and immortality a coldly consumerist plausibility.
It's at times like these I remember how badly I want to write sci-fi,
and how far I've got to go before I can begin to compete with visionary
heavyweights like Stross.