I just finished reading Rule 34 by Charles Stross.
I would say that writing near future SF would have to be one of the hardest genres to write to. It has to be plausible enough for 20 years in the future, so recognisable, even familiar, yet encompass changes worthy of SF and futurist predictions. I think Stross does an excellent job here, and has produced probably the most interesting near future novel I can think of.
In addition to cool SF and futurist possibilities, its also quite, er, dirty! Murdered sex fetishists, psychopath sex scenes and internet porn memes abound.
The technology being used was very cool. Some obvious ones like self driving cars, remote operated police air-drones, and HUD glasses, and some more subtle things like virtual machines on smartphones. Nothing crazy here, all quite plausible, and in fact much of it in prototypes now. In fact, it was very cool to have a vision of how some of this prototype tech we do have would affect us if it was usable and completely functional.
Stross writes very well. I prefer his writing to Neal Stephenson's because its tight, interesting and punchy. I often have to hit the Kindle dictionary which is always fun. Fun because it's so easy, and you learn crazy new words.
I won't ruin the story, you should go read it. Excellent. Hmm. I may have to read it again actually, I mean, what was...
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