Read Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross Online

iron-sunrise

When the planet of New Moscow was brutally destroyed, its few survivors launched a counter-attack against the most likely culprit - the neighbouring system of trade rival New Dresden. But New Dresden wasn't responsible, and as the deadly missiles approach their target, Rachel Mansour is assigned to find out who was.The one person who does know is a disaffected teenager whoWhen the planet of New Moscow was brutally destroyed, its few survivors launched a counter-attack against the most likely culprit - the neighbouring system of trade rival New Dresden. But New Dresden wasn't responsible, and as the deadly missiles approach their target, Rachel Mansour is assigned to find out who was.The one person who does know is a disaffected teenager who calls herself Wednesday Shadowmist. But Wednesday has no idea where she might be hiding this significant information. Time is limited and if Rachel can't resolve this mystery it will mean annihilation of an entire world....

Title : Iron Sunrise
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781841493367
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Iron Sunrise Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-04-02 10:33

    6.0 stars. One of my ALL tiem favorite novels (along with the first book in the series, Singularity Sky). These two books together are as good as it gets when it comes to grand, epic space opera. The ideas discussed are mind-blowing and the author's skill in discussing them in the context of the story is fantastic. Te story never slowed down from beginning to end. I loved the introduciton of the genetically enhanced "ReMastered" as an enemy out to defeat the seemingly all powerful advanced AI "Eschaton." HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2005)Nominee: Locus Award (runner-up) for Best SF Novel (2005)

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-03-24 07:32

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Regular visitors will know that I'm currently in the process of reading every novel sci-fi author Charles Stross has ever written; I started last time with his very first, 2003's Singularity Sky, which told a surprisingly funny and absurdist tale set in the far future, centuries after the human race was split and flung across the universe one day by a far advanced alien life form, because of a united humanity recently discovering time travel and thus technically now capable of accidentally wiping out this "Eschaton"s very existence. And this is the same universe where his next novel is set as well, 2004's Iron Sunrise, although it's not exactly a sequel; for although it features the same duo of main heroes as the first book (a plucky female UN inspector and a male secret agent for the Eschaton, the two now married after falling in love in the first novel), the story itself takes place among an entirely different planetary system, basically starting with the unexpected explosion of a local star and the destruction of the world orbiting it (the "iron sunrise" of the book's title), which leads us down an ever-widening rabbithole of conspiracies, ultra-fascist organizations, and galaxy-domination plots.And indeed, the either good or bad news, depending on what you think of the subject, is that Iron Sunrise adheres much more strongly to the traditional tropes of 1990s and early 2000s cyberpunk, after a first novel that cleverly combined hard science-fiction with the gonzo silliness of countercultural "motley fool" writers like Ken Kesey; the latter now features such familiar genre touches as a rebellious 15-year-old girl as our main protagonist, five or six different small storylines that all come together into one giant climax at the end, spaceship chases and planet-hopping bloggers and all the other things you would expect from a SF tale written in those years. (Also, this second novel makes it clear that the Eschaton is actually a single entity, essentially the result of a cloud computing system like the Google server farm gaining sentience; and while that helps make things clearer from a plot standpoint, I admit that it kind of removes the fun in the first novel of never quite knowing what exactly the Eschaton is/are.) Still, although far from his best or densest or trippiest work, Iron Sunrise is definitely an interesting read and worth the time of Stross completists; although I have to confess that I'm looking much more forward to the next title in my reading list, 2005's Accelerando, the first of Stross's books to make a big splash in America and coiner of the entire cultural phrase "The Accelerated Age" (a popular way among SF fans to refer to stories that take place in a post-Singularity universe).

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-03-24 07:47

    The first Charles Stross book I ever read was Singularity Sky, the first book in this series. I was in a different city, and I'm not quite sure what made it jump off the shelf of the used bookstore as something to read while I went to one of my first academic conferences. I was, however, baffled by the book itself. I thought I liked it, but I wasn't positive, because I finished the book and still didn't understand the underlying principles underneath that particular science fiction universe.Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Evan
    2019-04-13 12:46

    What starts off as some excellent, mind-bending weirdness diffuses into an uninteresting thriller. There were too many character threads, and too many of the characters began to talk like one another as the book progressed. Not to mention Stross's linguistic tics and frequent cliches which litter the novel's second half. The book became a political thriller thinly disguised as SF.Which is all way too bad, because the first chapters are some of the best, most original, fun, off-beat SF I have read in a very long time. The Idi Amin Dada scene is worthy of William Gibson or Bruce Sterling. The sense of mystery and anticipation and deep, twisty weirdness that Stross creates around Rachel Mansour's departure in the early chapters had me thinking I was in for an incredible book.Perhaps Accelerando, which is a short story collection, will present Stross's writing only at the level of his finely honed opening chapters.

  • Blagoy Nikolov
    2019-04-09 13:35

    Определено ми хареса, както и "Сингуларно небе" - предхождаща "Железният изгрев". Краят на втората книга подсказва, че замисълът е да са част по-дълга поредица, но за съжаление не е реализирана. Все пак явно задълбочаването на темата за борбата срещу плана за неонацистка галактическа доминация не е била приета твърде добре, за да получи продължение. Но дори и така и двете книги могат да се четат самостоятелно и са достатъчно увлекателни.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-04-24 11:47

    Reading Iron Sunrise has been a long time in coming, ever since I read Singularity Sky. I finally got around to ordering a copy and dug into it when I realized I needed a good science fiction read. As usual, Charles Stross delivers on all sorts of quixotic ideas that I love in my science fiction. I like the posthuman parts of Iron Sunrise even better than its predecessor, and its action scenes are definitely superior. My criticisms of it are similar to the ones I levelled at Singularity Sky too.Though technically a sequel to Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise can be read standalone. They share two main characters, so the only real spoiler is that these characters survive the first book. Otherwise, no knowledge of the original book is required to understand or enjoy this adventure. Stross explains once again the premise of this universe: a human-created AI from the future, the Eschaton, relocates 90% of Earth’s population some time in the twenty-first century. Fast forward three hundred years, and Earth and these relocated worlds have recovered (but diverged) and humanity is now flourishing on any number of worlds connected by superluminal travel. However, the Eschaton rigorously polices any attempts to turn that superluminal capability into time travel—causality violations are harshly dealt with.The title of the book refers to exactly such a violation. Someone uses a weapon to destroy the sun orbited by a human world called Moscow. The sun explodes, creating the “Iron Sunrise” that releases a deadly radiation shockwave. This precipitates any number of events that eventually become relevant to the story, from the evacuation of Wednesday from Old Newfie to the fleet of slower-than-light vessels that threaten New Dresden. But the bottom line is that a causality violation weapon happened … and the Eschaton didn’t stop it. That’s bad news (for someone).This book features a shifting and large cast of characters. Wednesday is the first main character we meet and, in my opinion, probably the coolest. She is young and inexperienced, and this shows. But I like her grit; I like that she questions whether Herman has her best interests at heart even as she uses the information and training he provides her. I like that she makes mistakes and isn’t a whiz-kid who is always one step ahead of the bad guys. Finally, I like that when Stross kills off certain people close to her, she does not just shrug and get on with her life; instead, her grief becomes a major plot point towards the end of the book.Rachel Mansour, also featured in Singularity Sky, is the other most prominent protagonist. I like Rachel too, though I find her voice in this narrative flatter than Wednesday’s. There is something about the combination of her practised indignation and her self-confidence that rings false to me—or at least, it feels too familiar, like Rachel is just another one of those hyper-capable science fiction heroes we see too often in these stories. That being said, I appreciate how Stross portrays her reluctance to get back into “the game”, so to speak. Rachel is a very capable person, but she also has desires beyond being a soldier or fixer for this UN body.(I was also not down with the scene near the beginning of Rachel’s appearance where she has to use sexual, seductive-type techniques to help defuse a bomb. It’s dumb and sexist, and worse, it’s dumb and sexist in a book that is otherwise full of smart and diverse female characters, protagonists and antagonists. And I suppose Stross is trying to play it as a commentary on the weaknesses of the patriarchy and the way smart women can exploit those, but I still don’t like it.)I could continue talking about the half-dozen other named characters who get narrative time, but I don’t think I will. Iron Sunrise introduces almost too many characters, in my opinion—at least, I feel like parts of it are very extraneous indeed. In the end, I guess it kind of all comes together; I certainly like how the minor problem Rachel is facing at the very beginning turns into something linked to the larger ReMastered threat, suggesting a much richer story at work in the background. However, this 400 page book took much longer to read than I anticipated, and I blame some of that on how the number of main characters dilutes the intensity of the storytelling.There are two complementary aspects of this book that make it good for me. First, there are the obvious science-fictional, posthuman elements. I’m labelling this book a “space opera” even though, technically, I don’t think it really falls under that genre—though it could if it wanted to. It has the setting of a space opera if not the story elements. It isn’t just the “big idea” stuff, like blowing up suns or time-travelling AIs. It’s the small things: the communication rings that people use, the smart-fabric that allows them to change fashion so quickly, etc. Stross is really good at imagining not just the technology that will take us to other stars but the ways in which faster and more miniature computing is changing our daily lives. Despite being written over ten years ago now and the fast pace of technological development, Iron Sunrise doesn’t yet feel outdated or obsolete, nor will it likely be in the foreseeable future.Coupled to the technology, though, is the thriller plot. Because that’s basically what this novel becomes in the third act: the good guys are all aboard a FTL liner with the bad guys, who pre-emptively hijack it, and shit goes down. It’s tense and exciting; there is a lot of disguising and doubletalk and backstabbing and double-crossing! The best thing is, most of what happens could easily have been written as a thriller set in the present day. But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much then. Stross takes the plot, dresses it in the trappings and tropes of science fiction, and makes it more interesting. I’m reminded a little bit here of The Expanse, which does something similar with political intrigue. Science fiction is useful as a tool for social commentary (of which Iron Sunrise has some, albeit in fairly non-subtle ways), but it is also a fantastic vehicle for breathing new life into old or often-used plots.Having read a lot of Stross’ work now, I can safely say this is neither among his best nor his worst efforts. I like it, and I think people who have never read one of his novels before will like it. At the same time, I’d also caution that this isn’t representative of all his novels. If anything, Iron Sunrise reminds me how versatile Stross is. While it shares a certain fascination with economics and the wider picture of stochastic changes to complex systems, it is markedly different from his Laundry Files series, for example, or his near-future Scottish crime novels. It will go on my Stross shelf, but it’s probably not the first Stross I’ll re-read.

  • Elf M.
    2019-04-14 14:39

    Iron Sunrise is a sequel of sorts to Singularity Sky. Rachel and Martin are back, but they don't play a part until late in the story. The introductory character is Wednesday, a goth chick who goes from seventeen to twenty through the course of the book and who suffers a lot of hardships in between.My main emotion upon ending the book is disappointment. Charlie has two problems, and they're becoming more apparent the more often I read his work. This book sets the stage for an ongoing battle between the Eschaton, the superhuman superintelligence who keeps watch over humanity while denying humanity the right to engage in time travel, and the "unborn god of the ReMastered," a being who may or may not exist somewhere down the timeline, and who will possess the captured thought processes of everyone ever uploaded into storage by the ReMastered. He's setting the stage for sequels, which is a perfectly good thing for a writer to do.Except, if you've read Charlie a lot, you know this plot. Iron Sunrise is the tale of Nazis with some kind of negotiated relationship to a Lovecraftian dark god, all of whom are opposed by plucky and lucky mostly ordinary humans who just happen to come from Charlie's favorite subcultures: bloggers, geeks and goths. Iron Sunrise is Charlie Stross's The Atrocity Archive... in Space!. Charlie's not even hiding this: his villain refers to herself as an "ubermadchen" and her boss is referred to as the overdepartmentsecretary [sic]. Wednesday breaks out of her stereotype late in the book and she becomes a well-drawn character, but really, you can just see a seventeen-year-old Christina Ricci (specifically, this one) in the role.The other thing is that Charlie writes his stories exactly once. He writes the story, figuring out what he's doing along the way. The trouble is, his stories lack the decorative panache that a full re-write gives to a story, and you can almost hear him chuckle with dark glee as he is inspired to a plot point. Everything in the story is broadly telegraphed. His foreshadowing looms over you. The plot is obvious almost from the beginning. When the epilogue's crisis began, with a letter in Rachel's apartment mailbox, I knew exactly where Charlie was going. I could have written the rest of that chapter myself. Iron Sunrise suffers from a lack of writerly subtlety.It'll be a shame if someday we remember Charlie Stross as the Robert E Howard or Michael Moorcock of his decade: churned out a lot of books in a very short period of time that introduced fresh and new ideas to the Venn diagram intersectives of the genres he loves, only to flame out in the end, stuck in the pretty new box he'd created.(And then there's me, who'll probably be remembered as the low-rent John Norman of his decade.)Iron Sunrise is a rollicking adventure set in a space-operatic universe with a well-thought-out brake holding the characters back from their second Singularity. Charlie has done a good job of thinking around what he made in the first book and realizing how much fun it would be to threaten that brake itself. It has good characters and great worldbuilding (although once in a while I caught Charlie doing the "worldbuilding while the reader is watching"™*). If you've never read Charlie Stross, this book and its predecessor, Singularity Sky, are fabulous introductions to the Singularity subgenre. It's only weakness is that if you have read Charlie Stross, you'll find yourself skipping over the familiar parts.*"Worldbuilding while the reader is watching" ™ is a trademark of D. Omaha Sternberg. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

  • fromcouchtomoon
    2019-03-29 08:33

    Another spy space romp, starring a goth girl who joins up with Rachel and Martin to take on the Borg.

  • Kate
    2019-04-15 10:48

    I used to have a religious no-quitting policy when it came to finishing books. Even if the thing was terrible, I would slog through it till the last page, worried I was doing the author a disservice by not giving it a fair shake. Now, however, I'm a busy adult with a full-time job and a to-read list the length of my arm. I've gotten a lot more lax about finishing books I don't particularly care for.Iron Sunrise is not a terrible book. From what I read, it's okay. The first section is actually very engaging, despite some confusing continuity errors relating to times and dates and the protagonist's age. However...The underlying premise of this universe is that in the 21st(?) century, a human-built AI got so smart it figured out how to open wormholes in space. For reasons known only to itself, it transported most of Earth's population to Earthlike planets elsewhere in space, which it had thoughtfully terraformed for them beforehand. It also wormholed them back in time, so that they'd age and die at the same rate as their counterparts back on Earth. And then it left them a message telling them not to use time travel for their own nefarious purposes, Or Else.I didn't realize when I picked this up that it was the second book in the series, and I may well have missed some fascinated explanations of all this in not reading Singularity Sky. I can't help noticing, however, that the explanation for how humanity got all its fantastic new technology is basically "A wizard did it." An AI did it. Whatever. I mean, sure, it explains how humans could come up with faster-than-light transport within a couple of centuries, but... deus-ex-machina much? Literally, even. You might as well use actual magic-- it's just as believable, to me.I also feel like Stross did a poor job of imagining a culture 400 years removed from our own. There are some nods to anti-aging devices, equal rights for different sexual orientations, and of course the fantastic new technology provided by the AI Who Is Definitely Not A God, but overall the characters act and speak exactly as they would today. There are even ethnic stereotypes that are already out of date now-- the bluff Hitler-Youth German kids come to mind. The minor antagonists are all cardboard cutouts for the protagonists to knock down with a feather. I just... I can't go into more detail, because I didn't read much of the book all told, but after a very solid first chapter I was pretty disappointed by what came afterward.I'm not a physicist, obviously, and most of the technical details in hard science-fiction books go right over my head. I read for the story and the characters, not the technology, and that's why I'm going to be putting this one down for a while.

  • Laura
    2019-04-10 09:34

    The Singularity happens, immanentizes as a sapient Eschaton, and is more or less beneficent. Deals with overpopulation more mercifully than it might have, thought with a huge disregard for people who were separated by a city from their friends and family on that fateful day. But it more or less set up communities to succeed and it still takes an interest. A little quirky in how it expresses that interest, and a little blind to the potential danger of planets of self engineered ubermenches, but coincidences seem to work in its favor. A LOT of coincidences. Also features scary clowns. Not Stross at the heights of his powers, but a good bus book.

  • Eli Bishop
    2019-04-02 09:42

    Having only read Stross's SF/horror/satire Laundry books— which I think are a lot of fun, but also very annoying whenever the humor takes the form of actual jokes— I figured maybe I would dig him better writing straight-faced space opera. Well... kind of. The two stars above are an average: half the time I liked it pretty well, and half the time I wanted to throw it across the room.I haven't read the previous one in this series, but the background was pretty clear— too clear, because Stross explains things and then a little while later he explains them again, and again. Characters for whom this stuff is supposed to be ancient history are constantly saying or thinking the equivalent of "the Eschaton, as we know, is a time-traveling AI that etc. etc..." The same goes for the plot: just because half a dozen main characters all find out the same important plot detail at different times isn't a good reason to have them recap it in conversation every time. Worse, in the last third of the book as things get more hectic (and, possibly, Stross starts getting a little careless/bored), characters often have to be reminded of things that they themselves knew just a little while ago— not little details, but things like "the bad guys are able to turn people into zombies, and that's what just happened to your lover." The tell-don't-show approach even extends to the author's own thoughts about writing: at one point, a villain tells the protagonist that villains don't really think of themselves as villains because everyone is doing what they think is right (which isn't just heavy-handed, but also sort of wrong in that case, since up to that point Stross has depicted that character as consciously venal and driven only by self-interest).Speaking of villains, the ones here are straight out of Space Nazi central casting, complete with German names, blond hair, hubristic monologuing, and the requisite "terrorize and execute some of your own guys just to show how ruthless you are" bit. What they were up to was treated as a huge surprise toward the end; it wasn't.The non-villains are a mixed bag. They are all pretty familiar types, and they often can't resist making stupid jokes under pressure, but I was OK with all that except for the one who is pretty much just a retread of all the secret agents from the Laundry series (with a little of Iain M. Banks's Special Circumstances agents thrown in)— i.e. the one who does all the super-scary secret dirty work that most people wouldn't understand, usually with the aid of cool gadgets, and is right about everything, and gets no respect from silly bureaucrats. Except since this one is a woman (and this is overall a very straight universe), the dirty work also involves a very unpleasant sexual interlude that reminded me of the less light-hearted side of Piers Anthony.I've made this sound totally terrible, so, what did I like? I liked the overall feel of the universe, although it's not all that distinctive if you've read any other contemporary books of this sub-genre. There is some really good prose in places. The plot doesn't necessarily hold up if you stop to think, but page by page it's pretty engaging, and makes good use of his rules for space travel and so on (I like that the heroes have to race to stop a thing that will otherwise hit a planet in 35 years). And as with his other stuff, the humor worked for me whenever it was situational/social, rather than people making wisecracks. There's definitely something about Stross that makes me keep resisting the book-throwing urge, and I'll probably read the rest of this series.

  • Michael Battaglia
    2019-04-07 08:27

    Okay, so maybe the second time was the charm.Stross' first novel, "Singularity Sky" was one of those "A for effort" but a fairly solid B for overall execution, suffering from a lack of focus on which plot exactly I was supposed to be caring about and redeemed mostly by an interesting future scenario and two main characters that seemed like fun to be around. They even fell in love too, which is always nice to see.Rereading the novel, Stross must have also realized those two aspects were the keepers and reacted accordingly, giving us a book that mostly ditches the sometimes distracting "let's make fun of every government ever by having the characters lecture us on it" while giving us a more understandable bonkers scenario and then running as far with it as he can.The opening premise doesn't even involve our two now-married heroes Rachel and Martin, choosing instead to focus on a teenage girl who calls herself Wednesday. She and her whole family are refugees from the planet Moscow, which gets to join the ranks of worlds like Krypton by getting blown up when the sun decides to explode. Alas, no one gets cool powers or the experience of being raised by gentle, homespun farmer folk, instead living on space stations and doing their best not to be traumatized. Wednesday keeps herself busy doing whatever it is surly teenagers from the future do, and occasionally getting missions from her invisible friend Herman, a name that should have substantial meaning to people who read the first volume. Before too long she's doing what teenagers in Stephen King novels do, which is find dead bodies and get put in lethal peril, causing her to flee onto a space cruise ship, where she can enjoy endless buffets and the two hundredth anniversary tour of "Rock of Ages". Oh, and people are still trying to kill her.Enter our happy couple. With Rachel still doing UN Black Ops and Martin doing freelance everything else, they're managing fairly well considering half of Rachel's jobs are top secret and typically result in decent body counts. Both are summoned back to action as Stross gifts us with one of those "only in SF" problems . . . when Moscow's sun went boom years before a counterattack was launched toward the world they thought was the culprit, New Dresden, essentially a whole host of nuclear bombs strapped to slower than light ships that will take years to reach them but reach them they will. As no one but Moscow survivors believe that New Dresden was crazy enough to blow up their sun, people are scrambling to not have this be a last minute problem and as it turns out they can be recalled if the Moscow ambassadors send out a signal, which they are currently debating whether to do (the more science oriented amongst you can ponder whether there's an easier way to intercept the bombs, although it is a bit of a needle in a haystack kind of thing) but being their politicians no one is in real hurry to make a decision, which would be fine except someone wants to do the very opposite of ballot stuffing and start fitting the ambassadors for grisly future murder coffins. The one common denominator turns out to be a certain cruise ship that keeps visiting the worlds in question before the bodies turn up so its up to Rachel and Martin to prove that spying does make the heart grow fonder. Wonder they'll run into anyone we know on the ship?Its a lot of setup but unlike the last book Stross has read a thing or two about pacing novels and manages to balance everything nicely, not only giving us the aforementioned threads but adding a couple extra while we follow a warblogger named Frank and a handful of folks from an organization called the ReMastered, which wants to replace the Eschaton with their own personal god and seems to be big fans of spilling blood in the process and turning you into the kind of meat puppets that won't make you alt-rock favorites. Something tells me this is a vacation where the cruise company is going to hand out a lot of comps.Impressively, he manages to make a tense scenario out of the slowest bombs ever as Rachel and Martin race to keep more ambassadors from getting knocked off while doing their best to save poor Wednesday once they figure out she's involved too. His vision of the future remains as inventive as ever, ranging from the quirky (cruise ships can be done in cryosleep so they do their best to milk the rich, plus the whole concept of McWorlds made me laugh) to the dark (the ReMastered on some level are Nazis with better technology) and its fun to see the little tidbits he throws into scenes almost an aside, communication devices and clothes generators and whatnot. It feels like a more fleshed out future and not just places he's invented to lampoon some aspect of the modern day. You can believe in how these worlds interact with each other, and the cultural tensions that result.His characterizations are better too, or at least you care about more than two people this time. Rachel and Martin haven't lost any of their charm since the first book, an interesting flipped script where Martin is the supportive, nurturing partner that is capable of being the brains of the outfit, while his wife is both the brains and brawn of the relationship, a woman who in another scenario probably would a drinking problem (if Stross' future wouldn't solve it so easily) but who is ready to both spy and blow up a roomful of people if necessary. How they play off each other makes for one of the more satisfying aspects of the book and its nice to see a married couple where the focus isn't on martial tension the whole time. But he also writes a convincing teenager in Wednesday, someone who has the wits to stay alive but is constantly on the backfoot. Even the minor characters like Frank (who gets a memorable flashback and an . . . odd romance) or Sven (have clowning, will travel) or the various ReMastered get a turn in the spotlight and feel like believable people for this future. No one feels like a joke or extraneous.In facts things escalate nicely on the ship and Stross ratchets up the tension nicely as the situation gets further out of hand, focusing on the characters and dialing back the stuff about the Eschaton (which always felt like one of those things that make less sense the more you look at it) so you get a fun fast-paced thriller in space. He's good enough that you barely notice that he tends to use Herman as a combination of deus ex machina and Charlie from "Charlie's Angels" at times, giving the characters orders and paving the way for the plot to move forward but conveniently being out of contact when it would matter (though with one woman army Rachel present it may not be as crucial). He gets a better (or more fleshed out) explanation for his existence this time out but he's still problematic and I wonder if he's the reason Stross was never able to do another novel in this series.He's doing so well that its downright disappointing that he didn't reach the section of his "How to Write Novels Picky People Like" book that explained how to stick the landing on the ending, which he . . . doesn't quite do. Either because he wrote himself into a corner or he wanted to go the route of surprise, a lot of the ending depends on you believing that a character you meet late in the book is actually a secret master assassin that everyone has to fight (its not the one you think, although I guessed the other one had an ulterior motive) and with most of the solution explained by the villain anyway it hardly seems to matter. Even worse, after the book has climaxed he follows it up with an epilogue that pursues a joke scenario from earlier in the book before turning it out of nowhere into a dark foreshadowing of trouble to come before just ending the book. It'd be unsatisfyingly abrupt even if a third book did exist, but knowing one is never coming makes this last glimpse of everyone downright frustrating.If he hadn't done such a good job with ninety-five percent of the rest of the book it wouldn't come across as jarring but given how much of an improvement this was on almost every level over his first novel you wish he had taken the opportunity to look at the ending one more time. Still its a fun ride regardless and a nice sign that writers can recognize their own shortcomings and adjust to overcome them. It promises for even better in the future (just not with these people) and if the worst thing you can say about this novel is you may have to stop fifty pages before the end to write your own ending in your head then its quite possible he's doing just fine.

  • Daniel
    2019-04-16 13:20

    Charles Stross is a relatively recent find for me, but after reading his truly awesome Laundry series I made it a point to go back and explore some of his other works. Iron Sunrise is actually a sequel (though the author has said that there will be no more books in this universe) to Singularity Sky. It brings back the two main characters from that story, Rachel and her now husband, and introduces a who new spread of characters (slowly weaving the seemingly unrelated plots together). The world of these novels is quite interesting, as it is affected by the post-Singularity intelligence Eschaton, which upon reaching consciousness immediately flung 90% of the Earths inhabitants onto planets up to thousands of light years (and correspondingly that far back in time).Humans being humans, we don't quite get along with each other, and the story begins with the planet of Moscow dying due to the sun exploding, and the retaliatory fleet (which can take decades to arrive) is launched at their competitor New Dresden. Of course the story isn't simply the mission to hunt down the Moscow Ambassadors who can recall the retaliation fleet, in a race against time as the Ambassadors are slowly being murdered, because as you would expect that is just the first layer of a multi-level plot that will keep you entertained through out the book.Overall this is a great book. Enhanced if you read Singularity Sky but with enough exposition to allow you to jump in if you have not.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-30 14:29

    I actually liked this one better than Singularity Sky -- maybe because it was a bit more linear, and spent more time on a smaller cast of characters, so it was easier to be sympathetic to them. The story revolves around Wednesday (also known as Victoria Strowger), a goth teen who happens to be an associate of Herman (agent of the Eschaton). She and her family are evacuated from their space station home, and on the way out, her incessant Herman-prompted snooping causes her to run across a secret that the ReMastered are willing to kill any number of people to keep. In the process of telling the story, Rachel and Martin (from Singularity Sky) run across her and are also drawn into the chaos.I thought this was perhaps the least preachy of Stross' books -- many fewer rants (though still a few) and a lot of ambiguity about both villains and heroes. He does a good job of getting into the head of a goth teen, though he seems to avoid it as much as possible, which I can't really blame him for. It had a lot of striking images that have stayed with me, and some stories that bear more thought. The ending was a bit ambiguous, and would lead me to believe there's another book coming, though I haven't seen one yet. :)

  • Oscar
    2019-04-16 09:22

    Una novela cuyo clímax se encuentra al principio de su lectura, la verdad es que ya tiene poco que ofrecer. Una estrella es detonada artificialmente para que destruya un planeta, Moscú. Los supervivientes achacan el ataque a su vecino, Nueva Dresde. Pero, ¿han sido realmente ellos o hay terceros con intereses de por medio? Novela ramplona, con personajes planos y malos malísimos de manual. Vamos, nada nuevo en el horizonte. La historia va dando tumbos hasta un final predecible hasta decir basta. Si por los menos Stross escribiese bien, pero es que ni eso, la trama está fragmentada de manera que no engancha. Es como si recibieses postales de un amigo por correo, pero en el orden incorrecto (como cierta película de Michael Caine).Es un escritor al que le falta oficio. Stross quiere escribir como Iain M. Banks y Alastair Reynolds, y no les llega ni a la suela de los zapatos.No recomiendo 'Amanecer de hierro' absolutamente a nadie. Más vale dedicar el tiempo a lecturas más gratificantes.

  • John
    2019-04-03 12:34

    This is a sequel to Singularity Sky. It features two or three of the same main characters, but you need not have read the former to "get" this. It's an interesting story of megadeaths, mind control totalitarianism, and causality weapons research. Stross keeps the action fast paced, but the characters are fleshed out and empathetic (is that the right word?). It features occasional over-the-top brutality that reminds me of Iain M. Banks Culture novels. Good stuff for SF fans, if you don't mind your stories a little dark.

  • Tim
    2019-04-03 12:42

    This right here is some pretty awesome hard SF. Well, I guess it's "hard SF" in that all of the sciencey bits make sense, but not necessarily that they drive the story. And it's really the story that makes this awesome. Despite the multiple plot threads that seem disparate at the beginning of the story, it's a very compelling pageturner of a book. Good stuff.

  • Russ
    2019-04-07 08:43

    A good follow up to Singularity Sky. A basic thriller set in a sci-fi backdrop. It is probably a bit more accessible to the general public than SS was. It left me wanting more Eschaton (Herman), Martin Springfield, and Rachel Mansour. The rest of the characters are pretty forgettable.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-18 09:28

    I liked this one much more than Accelerando, and liked some of the characters, but it still didn't warm me up much to this guy's writing.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-23 10:27

    I really love Charles Stross's work, so I'm sad to give this one only two stars. All of the characters were just too generic to get invested in. I was bored long before I was done reading.

  • Matt Brown
    2019-03-30 07:26

    Fairly typical Stross book. Enjoyable for the technology descriptions and fictional universe. As often with his books I find the story-line fairly mundane though.

  • Michael Whiteman
    2019-04-16 08:28

    This is the sequel to Singularity Sky and, like its predecessor, has some fun ideas but gets bogged down in mundane spy activities and becomes a bit messy by the end. The image of an artist living as Idi Amin and being largely ignored until he buys a nuclear bomb, isn't quite up with the rain of telephones from SS but is certainly striking (although the way the standoff with him is solved is eye-rolling) and the idea of the Eschaton itself could have gone so many places.The characters are fine, if a bit one-note for the most part. The relationship between Rachel and her husband is nicely drawn though and Wednesday is fairly inoffensive for a stroppy teenager. The main antagonists being Space Nazis is hammy and doesn't feel played for laughs to make it a bit more bearable. Towards the end, one does the "If this was a movie I would now explain my plan in detail while you wait for someone to save you but I'm much smarter than that" schtick, then explains their plan in detail because they love an audience apparently and gets killed and I have no idea if it's meant to be funny or not. The tone is never more comical than little quips between characters so this just didn't land for me. The action and espionage is all fine and kept things ticking along: people are being killed (by space nazis), a world was destroyed (by space nazis), there's a race against time (and space nazis) to prevent another planet being destroyed but, by the end, motivations have become muddled and there's some late "no-one is the villain in their own mind" (from a space nazi). I think I wanted more from this in the end, but most of the really interesting stuff is only there in small parts and the bulk is just a fine space opera spy story and the idea that eugenics, forcibly expanding an empire into other territories, mass slaughter and other nazi-related activities are bad. Well, they are.

  • Mike Franklin
    2019-04-24 15:31

    Iron Sunrise follows on from Singularity Sky but is a completely separate story. The same characters are there, Rachel, Martin and the Eschaton – a godlike post singularity AI – but the mystery they are investigating is completely different. An entire planet has been destroyed along with all of its inhabitants by forcing its sun to go supernova. The only survivors are those who were off planet at the time and the occupants of a distant space station evacuated just before the shockwave reaches it several years later. Wednesday, a young rebellious gothic teenager, may be the only witness to evidence leading to the culprits.The story was good as was the hard science but once again I find Stross struggles to present the everyday aspects of his characters believably. I didn’t find any of the characters appealing, even Martin and Rachel who I had liked in the previous book (despite their clumsily handled romance) were this time just annoying and overly melodramatic in their reactions to events, and Wednesday who sometimes behaves like a twelve-year-old and sometimes like and adult, just grew more irritating as the book went on. It’s a shame because, as I said, the other aspects of the book were good (as they were in Singularity Sky). These two book were early offerings from Stross and maybe that’s all there is to it, his later works do not seem to suffer in quite the same way although I did give up on the Merchant Princes series (another of his earlier works) for not dissimilar reasons. I notice that the ending left an obvious dangling thread for a sequel but thirteen years on the absence of that sequel suggests that Stross (maybe wisely) has decided to move on.A good story let down by bad two dimensional characterisation. Mediocre at best.

  • Estibaliz79
    2019-03-27 13:27

    No le doy las cinco estrellas porque tampoco es que sea el summum de la ciencia ficción, o del thriller futurista, pero tampoco os creáis que se queda muy lejos de esa puntuación, por lo divertida que es esta historia. Por supuesto, no divertida en el sentido de cómica, sino por su capacidad para entretener al lector con una historia que recupera la aventura de la space opera, repleta de acción y buenos personajes, y en la que la complejidad política y científica de la trama lo parece mucho menos por el tratamiento humano que al mismo tiempo se le sabe dar a la misma...El hecho de que sea una segunda entrega no afecta en nada a la lectura de esta novela, aunque ciertamente te hace desear leer la primera... y sucesivas. La idea del Escatón es ciertamente interesante y no me importaría saber qué pasa después, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta las escalofriantes expectativas que a uno se le plantean tras el epílogo.(Me estoy dando cuenta de que mi prosa está en modo veraniego de neurona derretida y no fluye como debiera... será eso de leer thrillers best seller... aunque a eso volveremos en la siguiente reseña ;D).

  • Marianne
    2019-03-25 07:38

    Though a sequel, the only relevant information from the previous book is: Two people got married.A great force, the Eschaton, moves huge swaths of the human race onto other planets in time. Then puts down a few rules that shouldn't be broken. It then has intermediaries help it keep these rules. This time, (view spoiler)[a threatening group of militaristic bureaucrats are trying to create their own computer soul-archive, and taking over other planets, and the Eschaton doesn't like it (hide spoiler)].This book read better to me than the first in the series, Singularity Sky. The narrative flowed better and the book felt more cohesive as a whole. However, the first book had a more intriguing scene swirling around it (it just wasn't used very well).

  • Paul
    2019-04-23 11:39

    Why does future always lead to people fucking like rabbits with reckless abandon. Why can't we develop into a society that is nice and creates loving an nurturing families and meaningful relationships instead. It's either nazis in space or anarchist creating a flawless utopia with hedonism dialled to 11. There's marginally more plot than in the last one but it's still mostly wish-fulfilment about post singularity anarchism. Despite all this supposed progress everyone acts exactly the same as you'd expect them to act in a modern society so I guess singularity won't be as transforming as people imagine today (paying with credit/reputation instead of money? how otherworldly, I simply cannot relate). I'm done with the series.

  • Alice Lemon
    2019-03-25 08:34

    This is the sequel to Singularity Sky, a very neat book that both my best friend from college and I recommend. That it begins with the sentence “On the day war was declared, a rain of telephones clattered on the cobblestone streets of Novy Leningrad.” should tell you something about that book. Iron Surprise is a bit darker and I think I was a bit less impressed by it, but it’s definitely worth reading. It seems like it ought to be the second book in a trilogy, but Stross has said he won’t write in this universe ever again, because it’s too depressing.

  • Tim
    2019-03-24 08:33

    When this book was published, Charles Stross was science fiction’s most recent sensation. After years of relative anonymity, he’d been shortlisted for SF awards for his novels (both SF and fantasy) and novellas. Iron Sunrise, which garnered the best novel nomination for the 2005 Hugo Awards, is a follow-up to Singularity Sky, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Hugo for best novel.[return][return]Like its predecessor, Iron Sunrise is 21st century space opera. For those unfamiliar with the term, space opera is SF writ large, i.e., conflict on an interstellar or intergalactic scale. A subgenre that dates back to the earliest days of SF, more recent purveyors have managed to shed the pulp image with which such stories were saddled. Stross does so with heavy doses of cyberpunk, 24th century James Bond, hard SF – and even a little detective story.[return][return]There is a common back story to both books. The Eschaton is an artificial intelligence that borders on godlike. While expressly disavowing any deity-like status, the AI exists in humanity's future and imposes harsh measures on anyone who seeks to use technology to violate causality and, hence, threaten the AI’s existence. To hinder the possibility, in the 21st century the Eschaton relocates most of humanity from Earth to far-distant planets, leaving only the essentials for humans to carve out a new society and existence. Thanks to wrinkles in the space-time continuum, each light year in distance also meant going back a year in time. Thus, some three centuries later, mankind has blossomed throughout the universe, bringing with it inventions such as faster-than-light travel, something which can directly threaten causality.[return][return]While most of this unfolded in Singularity Sky, knowledge of that story is not a prerequisite to Iron Sunrise. Moreover, despite the grand scale of the back story, it truly is a back story. The Eschaton and the relocation of humanity is a foundation of this story. Yet it never becomes the forefront or focus of the tale.[return][return]What is in the forefront here are the human characters, all brought into play by an almost quintessential space opera moment. Someone or something exploded the sun around which the planet Moscow orbited, annihilating it and its 200 million inhabitants. In a leading role in this opera is Wednesday, a 24th century adolescent cyberpunk who lives on a space station some 3.6 light years from Moscow's sun. In the process of evacuating the station, she unknowingly discovers the secret to the destruction. Also in starring roles are husband and wife Martin and Rachel, both also prominent in Singularity Sky. Rachel works for the UN and is "Black Chamber" agent charged with, among other things, trying to prevent causality violations. She is asked to investigate who’s been assassinating the remaining members of Moscow’s diplomatic corps, individuals who hold the key to a potential long-term retaliatory strike automatically launched upon Moscow's destruction. Then there’s Frank, a "warblogger" for the London Times looking into the destruction of Moscow and the political forces at play. Finally, there is a cadre of the ReMastered, humans whose ideology centers around destroying the Eschaton and replacing it with "the unborn god."[return][return]Although initially spread across several planets and systems, Stross ultimately brings all these characters together on a faster-than-light space liner that serves as a focal point of and staging ground for the ultimate resolution of the tale. That is, perhaps, the most glaring weakness of Iron Sunrise. While the whole story is based on a reader accepting the Eschaton and the exploding sun, for some reason it is a bit tough to believe the key characters from several different planets in a story unfolding across light years find themselves together on the SF equivalent of a cruise ship. Similarly, the penultimate denouement is reminiscent of a murder mystery where all the players are brought together in the dining room as the detective announces his resolution of the mystery. Here, one of the bad guys brings everybody together and ties up a variety of loose ends in one scene. Both approaches feel like a quick way out after Stross spent so much time setting the stage and shaping the characters.[return][return]Finally, some might complain because the close of the book leaves the doors wide open for another sequel with Rachel and Martin. Stross does not, however, leave any loose ends in this story itself. More important, he has not come close to fully exploring the Eschaton or the universe it has created for humanity. His willingness and ability to explore such paths have brought him where he is today.[return][return]Originally posted at http://prairieprogressive.com/2005/06...

  • Stephen Topp
    2019-03-28 09:38

    I've left far too much time between the last one and this one, but I liked it better than Singularity Sky.What I found particularly improved is that the story is not told from the perspective of a super spy all the way through ... the new POV characters (particularly Wednesday) bring a refreshing bit of personality that seem absent from Rachel and Martin.

  • Tom Rust
    2019-04-16 14:41

    Same experience—sloooow start, the a fun second half. The first chapter felt like a TV studio boss ordered a quick-paced intro. Disjointed and stilted. Still, it's a fun universe. I look forward to reading more of his novels.