|In Rule 34 Charles Stross returns
after a fashion to the world he created in Halting State with DI
Kavanaugh of the Edinburgh police. Except now the crime is not in the wind up world of
multi-player rolegaming but out in the physical world of near future Edinburgh.
a world that is. The financial failures and shonky business management practices of the
first decade of this century have seen global business oversight focussed on stringent
ethical standards, and the USA reduced to a near-failed economy. Home printer fabricators
are ubiquitous with a growing market in patent infringement from unlicensed fabrication.
And home brewing kits can, with the right extra additives, drop out some very peculiar
things indeed. All these developments are relevant to the story of Rule 34
so be prepared for some not so obvious plot points to ponder on.
Normally, I am an enthusiast for Mr Strosss works but this one left me feeling
somewhat indifferent. While the story moved along at a cracking pace and the characters
were full and true to life the use of three separate narratives foiled my unalloyed
enjoyment of the story which surprised me as Charles Stross is a better than
average author and has handled this technique before with aplomb. Quite probably the use
of multiple points of view doesnt work so well in the crime-cum-police procedural
genre where a single point of view is standard however, this might be me being old
fashioned. That modest complaint aside this was satisfying page-turner of a read and left
me wanting more books on DI Kavanaugh and her computer crime squad.