Scratch Monkey by Charles Stross
I can finally say it. I don’t care for hard science fiction. I can recognize the quality of the stories. Kim Stanley Robinson. Isaac Asimov. Frank Herbert. And I realize those guys probably don’t even qualify. But I love Charles Stross’s Laundry Files. And I fucking hate his space books.
It’s me. It’s entirely me. Like there will be people who read this and will adore it. And they should. But I posited to Steven Wilson years ago that maybe I just don’t dig science fiction. And I can finally say, “I don’t.” I’ve tried the best. And it does nothing for me. Space opera, maybe? But just hard science with tachyons and actual descriptions of interstellar travel and all that shit. NOPE. Loved The Martian. Hated the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Admired the fuck out of what he posited. But I just couldn’t get into it. It was like reading a textbook.
Gunning through this essentially digital download of interplanetary domination was like pulling fucking teeth. I just could not deal. I didn’t like the characters. I hated the premise. It all felt like two people have a very clever conversation in a foreign language that I just don’t care to learn. I could understand the idea that humanity has been essentially downloaded into a huge nano-network, and that artificial intelligence ate a bunch of human minds to make superbeings, and then superbeings evolved into massive ultrabeings that were consuming all life and…oh, I just don’t care. Give me a sword and chop off an orc’s head any day. I can’t deal with this space shit. It ain’t for me.
(Having said that, I will invariably end up reading and reviewing more of the space books in the future. Because I am an asshole.)