I guess you could say this was a guilt read.
I read Cory Doctrow’s first three novels (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town) and found them all perfectly enjoyable…but I’ve never re-read any of them, which is actually very unusual for me; I’ve even been known to re-read books I didn’t like the first time around. Anyway, something about them just doesn’t inspire a desire to re-experience them in me.
I have read everything Charles Stross has written except for his Merchant Princes novels, of which I read the first two. With the exception of The Laundry Files novels, which I adore—how could you possibly beat Linux + Lovecraft + Bond—I find most of them to be perfectly fine on the first read, but either uninspired or maybe even a little grating subsequently.
(I cannot stress this enough: I re-read books all the time; I am like a fucking shark, perpetually swimming through a sea of words to stay alive—but I’m not always up to taking on the nearest orca)
Still, I enjoy both of their web presences immensely, and think they’re both smart, talented guys, whose books I generally like—so how could I not read a book they collaborated on?
At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to be snide—which I’m not—this is exactly the book that I would have expected the two of them to produce; it is manifestly the melding of their authorial voices and the ways in which they approach plot and the sorts of ideas they explore. As obvious as the cat flap.
And as a consequence, while I don’t begrudge the time I spent reading it—it was amusing and enjoyable—I don’t know that I’m going to pick it up to re-read it any time soon.
Oh, and if you care: I would characterize it as a post-singularity picaresque, with a teeny-tiny bit of homage to Robert A. Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice (which is itself influenced by Robert Branch Cabell’s Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice, which I have read, and from which my frequent response of “I’ll try anything once” is taken).