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Halting State [Hardcover]

Charles Stross
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 2 2007
In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com startup company that's just been floated on the London stock exchange. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But she soon realizes that the virtual world may have a devastating effect in the real one-and that someone is about to launch an attack upon both...

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This brilliantly conceived techno-crime thriller spreads a black humor frosting over the grim prospect of the year 2012, when China, India and the European System are struggling for world economic domination in an infowar, and the U.S. faces bankruptcy over its failing infrastructure. Sgt. Sue Smith of Edinburgh's finest, London insurance accountant Elaine Barnaby and hapless secret-ridden programmer Jack Reed peel back layer after layer of a scheme to siphon vast assets from Hayek Associates, a firm whose tentacles spread into international economies. The theft is routed through Avalon Four, a virtual reality world complete with supposedly robbery-proof banks. As an electronic intelligence agency trains innocent gamers to do its dirty work, Elaine sets Jack to catch the poacher. Hugo-winner Stross (Glasshouse) creates a deeply immersive story, writing all three perspectives in the authoritative second-person style of video game instructions and gleefully spiking the intrigue with virtual Orcs, dragons and swordplay. The effortless transformation of today's technological frustrations into tomorrow's nightmare realities is all too real for comfort. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'A great read, and a fascinating look at the future of security in a massively networked world.' Bruce Schneier, CTO, BT Counterpane 'The first couple of pages had me hooked, and I didn't touch another book until I finished it.' John Carmack, Technical Director, iD Software and creator of Doom and Quake 'As keenly observant of our emergent society as it is our emergent technologies, Halting State is one extremely smart species of fun.' William Gibson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second person's not so awful March 30 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Personally, I liked the book. I loved the setting - not ridiculously futuristic, and close enough to current technology that you could see similarities and relationships between the two. You could see where his ideas are springing from, in the present.

The second person perspective didn't bug me at all. In fact, I found it to be an interesting change from third and first person.

The thriller-style plot is nice and chewy. You could read it once for the surprising story, and keep reading it again after that for the rich detail of the world Stross gives you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Halting thinK Dec 29 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An excellent source recommended this as a first Charlie Stross book for me to read. Decent characterization, a fast-paced plot, peppery dialogue, a taste of paranoia and not knowing what's up or down all made it enjoyable. All set on a backdrop of virtualization to make it contemporary and cool. It passes the Doctorow test of predicting the present: #iranelection, cyberwars, etc. Second-person point of view is not an issue at all once you are immersed in the story - don't let it stop you from reading this book.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the principal character in this series. The Scot detective has potential, and Charles Stross makes much of it. Although I don't always have a reference point for the colloquialisms and some of what I think are local references, the story ticks along nicely, and I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this series.
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