|Saturns Children is Charles Strosss
latest novel. As far as I can tell the story is unconnected to any of his previous works
and does not represent the start of a new series.
In Saturns Children
Mr Stross has discovered subtlety and uses it with effect. The story is an action thriller
and a comedy. Humanity has died out and the robots dont know why; all they know is
that their minds were modelled on their creators (people) and they as robots live on
acting as humans on one hand and interacting as robots on the other. And because people
never saw their extinction coming, no steps were taken to free the robots from the legal
and logic imperative controls that humans bequeathed the robots. Humanity made it to the
planets (and died out); robots are making it to the stars.
In this book Mr Stross has written a satisfying thriller, with hidden agendas, secret
agents and double-dealing, and an appealing comedy where the tone of the humour sits well
with the thriller nature of the story. If his previous works have veered too heavily
towards techno-babble and/or frenetic pacing, then here he has taken those criticisms to
heart and struck a happy balance.
I hope Mr Stross returns to this storyline because I find it both amusing and
subversive to consider a future where robots are simultaneously strenuously competing to
revive humanity, and striving equally hard to prevent it to the point of having a
Replication Suppression Agency as all robots know they are subservient humans, and
therein lies the plot.