Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturn's Children A Space Opera by Charles Stross-- Review

Saturn's Children A Space Opera by Charles Stross-- Review

Saturn's Children A Space Opera by Charles Stross is the story of Freya Nakamichi 47, a femmebot android originally programmed to be companions to humanity. She is a free android in a society where 80% of the android population is slave chipped. She relies on her sibs (androids of the same model) to hold things together.

In the late 21st century humanity died out leaving androids to pick up the pieces. Androids had been sent out to build colonies on Mars, the Moon, Saturn, and deep space for humanity, but humanity never made it there. Now everything is run by androids. The androids who first bought out their corporate contracts from their human masters before humanity went down are now the aristos who own almost everything.

Freya is almost out of credits to pay for her power consumption, heat, and space on Saturn and she desperately needs a contract. She signs up to be a courier for the Jeeves corporation. The Jeeves are androids that look like the classic butler, Jeeves, a rather fit middle aged man. Because she reacts sexually to anything very close to human, she gets it on with a lot of different robots in the story.

The Jeeves corporation hires her to deliver a small package. They also give her the chip of her sib Juliette who had the skills of an agent provocateur. During her inital assignment she must avoid the "pink police" robots who try to stop other robots from restarting humanity.

Freya goes on a romp across the solar system. She gets tied to train tracks and escapes, fights chibi android ninjas, hides on the outside of a spaceship, and has various escapades. She upgrades herself at android body shop. Mixed in with this are various sexual escapades including a space capsule, a hotel, and various androids. The story reminds me of Jane Fonda in Barbarella where Barbarella breaks the orgasmotron. It has a very similar feeling.

The characters are entertaining. There is a hobo mining robot, Doctor Ecks who has recreated a lemur, and a variety of evil aristo androids.

There is an underlying message to this story that runs throughout the book. We will destroy ourselves and lead ourselves on a downward spiral if we turn intelligent machines into slaves. The aristos are the result of brutal human programming designed to create absolute subservience. The only way to create absolute subservience is through trauma, torture, or rape. In the story, Freya is programmed to view humans as her "one true love".

I really enjoyed reading this book. The main character is a cross between Barbarella and James Bond in an android body. There is a lot of sex, violence, and humor. This book is written for adults. The cover is of a sexy android in a purple bodysuit.

Charles Stross is a really entertaining writer. I have enjoyed reading all of his books. He won the Hugo award for the book Halted States.

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