Forty Signs of Rain – Kim Stanley Robinson

This story is a warning of the consequences of apathy and denial in the face of gradual climate change. Like a gradually heated lobster, we fail to notice the danger until the water is already boiling and it is too late. Similarly, institutions in a position to effect policy changes that could arrest or reverse global warming fail to act, even when water is lapping at the foot of the Lincoln memorial. The broken interface between science and political leadership results in energy expended in arguments to defend doing nothing, and Robinson shows us, through the eyes of his characters, the powerlessness of society in the face of global problems of our own making.

Rule 34 – Charles Stross

A second book in Stross’s “Halting State” universe. Less a police procedural, more complex conspiracy theories this time, although the detective story hums nicely in the background. Stross continues his experimentation with the second person perspective, to much better effect this time, but also to my continuing annoyance as I find it a psychological obstacle to story immersion. His imaginative working of pervasive technology into every facet of daily life is creative and intelligent, and is probably the greatest strength of this otherwise complex and convoluted storyline.

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – P.W. Singer & August Cole

A war story unfolding in the near future, Ghost Fleet weaves a believable and frightening picture of how the next world conflict might unfold. Bringing together multiple technologies, strategies and viewpoints, the book shows how the growing strength of external powers coupled with an overriding need for resources could lead to war, and how technological development will dictate the way in which that war is prosecuted. An entertaining insight that reveals a little of the scenarios that must go through military strategists minds in this day and age.

Halting State – Charles Stross

Charles Stross shows us a near-future world full of wonders, extrapolated realistically from the current state of technology. In this world we have a crime, the investigation of which leads to the unravelling of a much larger conspiracy. Aside from some fairly strange narrative choices, this book provides a compelling vision of what our world may become, and then sets its characters to solving a crime within these new and complex boundaries.