Saturn’s Children

Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a universe where humans are extinct and only their robots survive, Freya-47 is blackmailed by the Jeeves Corporation to smuggle a mysterious package from Mercury to Mars. Freya becomes enmeshed in intrigue and espionage, forcing her to continue her journey to the outer planets, eventually ending up on the dwarf planet Eris in the Kuiper Belt. As she dodges hired assassins, Freya must come to grips with who she is in relation to her long-gone creator Rhea and to her many almost-identical sibs. This is a mystery novel that explores the concepts of free will and identity, and whether technology strips away what it means to be an individual. It is a novel that pays homage to Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein (with a healthy dose of Philip K. Dick) in a modern, fast-paced way. The extrapolation is believable and the science (particularly of extended space flight) is accurate. The novel’s weakness is that the plot is convoluted, with characters continually changing identities and motivations (at least from narrator Freya’s perspective). There is quite a bit of sex (robot sex to be sure, but explicit nonetheless) and violence, so be forewarned. This is an entertaining, creative novel by a prolific and clever writer.

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