|Charles Stross: Rule 34 [message #51247] Thu, 12 July 2012 19:47 UTC
Well, this forum is about "Anything, really", so this should fit in. It certainly is about 3D printing...
Charles Stross is an award-winning Science Fiction author from Scotland. Lots of novels set in the far future and deep space, but he has written two crime novels set in near-future Edinburgh.
"Halting State" starts with a bank robbery perpetrated by a Dragon and 40 Orks - Hackers have sabotaged an Internet RPG and plundered the place where gamers deposit their treasure. As the financial damage to the provider is real enough, the police is called to investigate...
But his "Rule 34" is what I really want to talk about. In the near future, 3D scanning and printing is ubiquitous, repair workshops routinely print their spare parts - the honest ones use licensed design files, the other ones use pirated designs, and hackers sabotage the designs.
And the bad guys operate a "Black Shapeways", a franchise of operatives with 3D printers who will produce all the items you won't get from the real Shapeways ( and not because of thin walls )
But this is not the only business these Gangsters 2.0 operate. Among their wares are bio-engineered yeasts that produce interesting substances when you try to brew beer with it, and also large scale financial scams. And the gang is fully up to date, using "black" social media, modern management processes and call centers, a virtual gang. But the corpses are real.
Charles Stross imagination doesn't end there. Behind the surface action rages an AI fight between police spyware, spammers and spam filters in a Turing test arms race, which arguably is the main conflict of the book.
And he has ideas left over for items that are only marginally relevant to the story. Robor Microbuses travel through the city. Users pay by smartphone and the buses adjust their route according to the wishes of the highest bidder.
I found both books fascinating and hard to put down, althogh the language can be heavy going. Obviously, they are heavily laced with the language and culture of the Internet age. What's more, they have a good dose of Scottish dialect. Plus, "Rule 34" also is set in the Pakistani immigrant community, so you better ken haram from halal. But unriddling all the languages is part of the fun.
|Re: Charles Stross: Rule 34 [message #51910 is a reply to message #51247 ] Thu, 26 July 2012 14:05 UTC
I read that book and while the language didn't bother me the constant switching between character first-person narrative did. It was like getting slapped back into reality at the start of each chapter (i.e. you were reminded you were reading a book). Didn't see the need or point of that... Apart from that, yes, it was a good book especially for anyone who is "into" 3D printing and its future.|
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