Accelerando is a cyberpunk novel by the author Charles Stross and the novel has had the pleasure of winning the Locus Award one year after it was published, in 2006, and has been nominated for several other awards as well.
The story that you get to read inside and find something about in this Accelerando book review will definitely be an exciting one for science fiction fans, especially those who like to read stories about global technology events and similar topics. If you are one of them, you have to check out our selection of the best cyberpunk books.
The main plot of the story revolves around a few characters who are all from the same family. It spans three generations and it tells about the outcomes and events before, during, and after a massive technological singularity.
A tech singularity, if you don’t know, is a point when technology becomes uncontrollable and proves life-threatening to humans. The events that you are going to read about are actually written in a form of nine short stories all packed together in this one book.
The story starts with a character named Manfred Macx and the first three short stories tell his tale. Manfred is the first character you get to read about and the other parts of the book later continue with his child and finally his grandchild.
His adventures begin when he gets a phone call on a phone that was delivered to him for this specific call. He answers and the caller explains that they are an AI (Artificial Intelligence) working for the KGB, Russia and that they are in great need of his assistance.
Manfred has a lot of knowledge and a commitment to agalmic economics. He later teams up with an entrepreneur called Bob Franklin after he eventually finds out that the call he received was actually by uploaded brain scans of the California spiny lobster and they were looking to escape from humanities interface. He aids Bob in his project that involves developing an AI to crew his all-new spacecraft project.
You get to find out a lot more about Manfred himself, about his annoying wife who forces him to have her child so that she can further control him, and so on. A lot also happens in the first part of this book before the huge catastrophe happens which we will get to in this Accelerando book review.
Five years have passed since you first got to meet Manfred and a lot has happened since then. Now, he finds himself in Edinburg and his memories are being stolen and stored in “cyberware” so Manfred has to completely rediscover himself.
The second three short stories of the novel take place ten years later and they tell a story about Amber Macx, Manfred’s daughter. A lot of things about the main plot get revealed in this part.
The alien signals that had been detected a while ago are finally super close to being decoded and communication with aliens is closer than ever before. Amber and 62 others upload their consciousness into a virtual crew that is sent on a mission taking them to the alien router which is located 3 light-years away.
They encounter a group of aliens who call themselves “The Wunch” and they control virtual bodies who have a lot in common with something that Manfred was working on when he received those transmissions all that time ago. In order to understand what goes on next, we need to tell you about a fictional term that takes high priority in the book and in this Accelerando book review.
The story inside focuses a lot on something called Matrioshka Brain, it’s basically something that can allow communication between very faraway places and has massive computing power.
Where Are the Builders?
Matrioshka Brains can communicate with other Matrioshka Brains even if they are located on the other side of the universe. So, after discovering “The Wunch”, Amber and the others push further into the router’s wormhole network to see where it takes them and what else they discover.
They soon discover that they are inside a Matrioshka Brain and its builders are nowhere to be found, either they left or were destroyed by their own creation. The crew barely escapes this place that is in total anarchy and they start their journey back to the Solar System and eventually back to Earth. Their new home now appears to be Saturn for a while where the story does get a bit confusing.
They meet a character called Sirhan there and he appears to be the son of the physical Amber and Sadeq. The characters you are currently reading about are in a virtual space and after Sirhan was born and he aged to the needed age, he too was sent into the virtual world in which they are currently in.
The fact that the story talks about things such as this and many others that might seem confusing but later blow your mind is why this story is one of the best cyberpunk books ever.
And in the last three stories of the novel, you read a lot about Sirhan but the other characters are not out of the story yet as Amber and a few others realize that they must go to the router network one more time.
The reason for this is that only that place now offers them a way to finance the escape from the predations of the “Vile Offspring”. You get to learn more about that from the book itself as a spoiler such as that in this book review of Accelerando would definitely ruin your reading experience.
That’s our share on the plot from this interesting and thrilling book. The characters inside are definitely one of a kind, the story is even more unique, and although it can get a bit confusing at times, if you pay attention everything is cleared up as you read further. The author is an experienced one and the story is made sure it blends well together.