Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rule 34

"Rule 34" by Charles Stross is to steal from Max Headroom about fifteen minutes into the future. It's set in a post economic collapse future where we've picked ourselves up and our a little wiser.

A little.

Nations have tried to invest ethics into corporate entities, but how can you hope to do that when real individuals are hell bent to break the law. Things have changed a little for both sides. Police have intergrated social media into law enforcement. They now use "Copspace" as a virtual overlay over reality giving them information on everyone they meet. Criminals have on the other hand decentralized. They now use the internet to spread "recipes" around that when mixed with 3D printers can allow a person to make a brick sized drug lab or an untraceable gun.

Our heroine, a scottish female police officer who's career has tarnished a bit, has fallen into a truly bizarre crime. It looks some kinky accident, but soon it becomes clear that someone tampered a bit to kill someone who was just a spammer. Soon spammers are fallen dead all over the world. What does this has to do with an obscure asian republic and a new version of the mafia that recruits psychopaths for middle management? Those answers create a maze of a truly bizarre crime that could make some people billions.

This is a thoughtful, exciting book. It's very densely written with an great eye for detail. I admit at times the scottish slang had me rereading a sentence or two, but I find that fun. The science really could happen in the foreseeable future, and the human characters are very realistic. Definitely worth a read!

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