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"Rule 34" trade press reviews

I get reviews ...

Kirkus Book Reviews (who always try to find something to hate in genre fiction) gave "Rule 34" a starred write-up:

"Another detective joins the celebrated ranks of Edinburgh's finest, this one with Stross' distinctive science-fictional twist ...
Dazzling, chilling and brilliant."

Shelf Awareness (a review bulletin that goes out to around 23,000 booksellers and librarians) say:

Rule 34 is set in the same future Edinburgh as Stross's 2007 novel Halting State, but you don't need to have read that book to enjoy this high-tech thriller on its own merits.

Even with the shiny techno-flourishes, it's an instantly recognizable work environment that, if Stross were to explore it over enough stories, could be on a par with classic police procedural settings like Ed McBain's 87th Precinct.

RT Book Reviews, the multi-genre fiction review magazine and trade journal formerly known as Romantic Times, effuses:

TOP PICK! Presenting a gritty near-future filled with Big Brother technology and backstreet fabricators of just about anything the average perv could desire, Stross' latest foray is not for the faint of heart nor for readers looking for a lightweight story. (((Trans: this really isn't a romance, m'kay? -- ed. ))) This novel is a challenging read. Told from a distancing second-person point-of-view it paints a bleak, disturbing portrait of a world where seemingly the only commodity not counterfeited and sold on the internet is free will.

They give it four and a half stars, on a scale of one to four and a half (they never award five stars).

Here's Publishers Weekly, who say:

"Hugo winner Stross blends plausible near-future SF and crime in this brisk sequel to 2007's Halting State ... each section builds on the others, making the whole more than the sum of its parts."
Booklist (The American Library Association's subscription only review bulletin) says:
"The plot, with its all-too-likely extrapolation of cybercrime, is both a good read and a warning."
Finally, Chris Brookmyre said:
"Rule 34" is the most densely textured, pungent and tangibly convincing depiction of our cyber near-future since Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It is also very, very funny in a way that is quite exquisitely wrong.
(And if you don't know who he is, you're missing out on one of Scotland's national literary treasures.)

Where to buy:

Amazon US: [ Hardcover edition ][ US Kindle edition ]

Powell's US: [ Hardcover edition ]

Amazon UK: [ Trade paperback edition ][ UK Kindle edition ]

Signed copies: Transreal Fiction in Edinburgh have signed copies of "Rule 34" and can ship them internationally. For details, email Transreal Fiction. (Note: signed copies may be back-ordered between July 20 and August 20 because I'll be traveling overseas and stocks may be low.)



Ordered! Now I have Steam and Stross to procrastinate with.


I think it would be interesting to see what the most negative review says :)


I haven't run across any. For brain-meltingly bad negative reviews, you'll need to wait for the Amazon reader reviews to start up.

(There will be homophobic flaming. And people saying "guuh, second person made my brain melt, BAD book!".)


Reasonably priced kindle edition? I like it.


Did you see the kindle price? I'm just seeing "Pricing information not available". I have a signed copy from Transreal on the way but I'd prefer not to get it all grubby by reading it on the tram!


@5 - B&N in the US have the Nook price at $12.99. Not sure how that translates to Amazon or to other geographies, but it's a typical ebook first release price.

And I kind of like second person here. It fits the feel (I'm going from the chapters you published here a bit ago). It makes me feel like I'm viewing things as part of the surveillance that's so prevalent in Rule 34's panopticon world.


I ignore B&N for a very simple reason: they don't operate outside the USA so I can't buy a Nook or ebooks on a Nook.

Mind you, the Nook price is the same as the Kindle price.


I remember when they (some) started talking about E-BOOKS. By cutting way back on the vast waste of shipping and printing books. Every single thing would get a lot better. Writers would make more money selling more books because the books would be so much cheaper. Riiight. Then the business majors got into it. I saw one book that cost more as a E-BOOK than the paper one did.


You're talking nonsense.

Hint: Look in the right side-bar under SPECIALS. You'll see a link titled "Common misconceptions about publishing". Go read the pieces about what goes into a book and why ebooks cost so much. You may then achieve enlightenment.


" You may then achieve enlightenment. "

' enlightenment'? You aren't going to insist that poor d brown wear a Saffron robe ..ghastly colour, suits no known complexion .. sit cross legged and chant are you ?...

' This is an offering of Buddhist Chanting. Eventually we hope it will represent devotional and sutra chanting from all Buddhist traditions. If you have any quality audio material to contribute to this section (especially Tibetan), it would be much appreciated '

All together now ...


They said then! Years before when there was only talk of E-BOOKS. Every single thing would get a lot better. Writers would make more money selling more books because the books would be so much cheaper. WELL some said. The ones I read.


Dammit man, you had to release a book right when I'm sinking some serious cash into a storage shed.

Also, holy thread derail Batman.


You may have been partially right about blaming the business majors for your misconception about ebook pricing.

It's probably more likely that said business majors thought that prices would drop by removing the construction and transportation of physical books, but didn't understand publishing and forgot to take into account the hidden costs of publishing (editing, etc).


"Saffron robe ..ghastly colour, suits no known complexion .." That's sort-of the point; they're meant to be anti-fashion statements. And strictly speaking he has to make the robes for himself using rags scavenged from charnel grounds.


Well, the Kirkus one already mention "eye-watering second person present tense" and it is a positive one, so yes, it is going to be interesting, which group will be worse, the homophobes or the anti-you crowd :-P


Ah canna see why youse yins hae a problem wi' second person!


Paul Krugman's blog entry.

Booko still has the Book Depository as cheapest for Australians.


Kindle price on amazon UK is showing at £5.99. Not where I'd prefer it to be, but pretty good and certainly in impulse buy territory


Toby, 20% of that £6 is VAT. So the actual price is around £4.80. Given that Amazon are trousering 30% of net, the actual amount my publisher and I get to split is £3.00. Of which I get 25%, or around 75p.

An undiscounted trade paperback at £12.99 comes with no VAT and I get just under £1.30 per sale.

The SEO spammers gumming up the Kindle store with their £1.29 titles are pocketing around £0.80 per sale. But I'm willing to bet you won't find the product as enjoyable.


Can root the Nook.


Yeah I know B&N isn't international. But since they weren't seeing a Kindle price at the time I wrote that and the Nook and Kindle prices in the US seem to usually be the same, you had my reply.


It's alright, I already bought it as I want to see what you're doing in the world this time - especially with thing like copspace. Also, wtf is with VAT on ebooks?

I read your piece (lots of pieces) on the publishing industry so I do get some of the issues


Also, wtf is with VAT on ebooks?

Don't ask me: the world of VAT is so surreally broken that Franz Kafka would flee, screaming.


Don't ask me: the world of VAT is so surreally broken that Franz Kafka would flee, screaming. Would you like a Jaffa Cake? ;-)


Warning: what follows is from memory and a bit vague.

Basically, VAT exemption for physical books is a bit of an oddity (IIRC, at least partly to do with textbooks, but also because books are 'improving' and such). But trying to remove that exemption leads to an outcry from a group who are by definition literate and includes lots of people who are professionally good with words; exactly the sort of people the political class doesn't want to upset.

Because ebooks were a "new thing", the government could get away with saying "these aren't the same, so they get VATed". Because they did it right at the start, there wasn't a critical mass of users to protest, and the media companies that would join a protest against VAT on physical books either ignored it ("we sold three last year, so it doesn't matter") or actively encouraged it (to prevent ebooks from 'cannibalising' physical book sales. Really).


I suspect that the argument(s) that are used to claim that CD albums, and DVD and Bluray films, are "software" within the meaning of the act are also applied.


I'd always though VAT-free books and newspapers was a peculiarity of the UK.

As for VAT on ebooks -- if they've got DRM why not? Of course, if they don't they could be VAT free...


My copy arrived yesterday. Nice.

There was (briefly) a one-star review at Amazon, but it has since vanished. The reviewer was demonstrating annoyance at the Kindle price with no actual mention (let alone a review) of the story.


The US Postal Service used to give packages with books, only books, a special lower price than other packages. Now that's only for libraries, museums, etc.


What a twat. Such reviews are totally useless as far as other customers are concerned — the price is one of the few things one can see for oneself anyway.


I've a distinct notion that you're correct. As I hinted (but didn't say) in #27, there is also an argument that e-books are software and not printed matter.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 3, 2011 10:46 AM.

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