Review: Rule 34 By Charles Stross

Charles Stross, is a science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of six Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005 and 2010 Hugo awards for best novella, Stross’s works have been translated into over twelve languages.

In Rule 34, Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh is head of the Rule 34 Squad, monitoring the Internet to determine whether people are engaging in harmless fantasies or illegal activities. Liz is pulled into a nasty political investigation, and soon recognizes that there is a pattern emerging: Three ex-con spammers have been murdered in a series of bizarre household accidents. Liz has to deal with a strict and not-so-smart temporary superior while trying to figure out who’s behind the murders. A number of characters are pulled into the story including a small-time criminal Liz once arrested, Liz’s girlfriend; a professor of AI and another detective from Interpol. The whole inter-relationships between the characters makes the situation more complex and the clues less transparent.

This book captured my attention as it is a crime story melted into the body of a science fiction setting. The plots are very imaginative and interesting and we see a unique vision of the future world through the eyes of the author. Charles Stross has another novel titled Halting State and it seems that this book is a sequel for it. The book is not very hard to read even though it is written in the second person.

Overall I think readers who are fans of both the mystery and SF genres may be the ones who enjoy this the most. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The Amazon link to the book: Rule 34