RE: Accelerando, by Charles Stross

From: mike99 (
Date: Mon Jun 20 2005 - 17:11:49 MDT

I read Stross's stories as they were published in ASIMOV'S and I look
forward to having them gathered into a single volume.

IMO, these ACCELERANDO stories are head-and-shoulders superior to Stross's
otherwise fine novels, SINGULARITY SKY and IRON SUNRISE.

Recently, Stross mused online about the literary problems that come with
writing about the Singularity. I include the URL and opening text below.

Mike LaTorra

Chekhov's Gun
01/06/2005 . Source: Charles Stross

Chekhov's gun is a literary weapon, says science fiction author Charles
Stross; "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the
following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."

I'm a jobbing storyteller, who's just mailed in the manuscript of his eighth
novel. I do this stuff because (a) I enjoy the process, and (b) it's better
than working for a living. I'm more of an artisan than a theoretician; in
this respect I'm not atypical among my peers, for while it's normal for
authors to examine their own working processes, if you spend too much time
in navel-gazing you'll never actually write anything.

There's a foggy borderland between working entirely by rule of thumb, and
developing a theory to guide the process; I'm wandering around somewhere in
the middle of this wasteland, squinting into the mists and trying to work
out if there's a better way to do what I'm trying to do. And at present I'm
thinking hard about Chekhov's gun -- because this literary conceit is
sitting on the wall mocking me, stopping me from coming up with a sequel to
a couple of reasonably popular novels.

Except the weapon on my particular wall isn't a pistol. It's a neutron bomb.

Back in 1995, I suffered a cynical rush of blood to the head and decided
that I was going to write a space opera. To cut a long story short, the book
that eventually emerged was published under the title "Singularity Sky" in
2003 (2004 in the UK). A sequel, "Iron Sunrise", was finished in 2001 and
published in 2004 (2005 over here). I should like to note, parenthetically,
that the title "Singularity Sky" bears no relationship to the content of the
first book -- it was pinned on it after the event in order to avoid a
namespace collision in Ace's list, and I've regretted the premature
deployment of the "S" word ever since. These novels aren't brilliant and
they suffer from a number of flaws, but most readers seem to like them well
enough and it would be a comfort to my bank manager (not to mention my
editor, and the fans who want me to write more of the same) were I to write
a third one in the series. ....

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