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A novel by Charles Stross Copyright © Charles Stross, 2005 Published by Ace Books, New York, July 2005, ISBN 0441012841 Orbit Books, London, August 2005, ISBN 1841493902 Copyright © Charles Stross, 2005.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivs 2.5 License.You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work under the following conditions: If you are in doubt about any proposed reuse, you should contact the author via: For Feòrag, with love This book took me five years to write – a personal record – and would not exist without the support and encouragement of a host of friends, and several friendly editors.
You did a great job of keeping me focused, even during the periods when the whole project was too daunting to contemplate.Portions of this book originally appeared in Asimov's SF Magazine as follows: "Lobsters" (June 2001), "Troubadour" (Oct/Nov 2001), "Tourist" (Feb 2002), "Halo" (June 2002), "Router" (Sept 2002), "Nightfall" (April 2003), "Curator" (Dec 2003), "Elector" (Oct/Nov 2004), "Survivor" (Dec 2004)."The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim." – Edsger W.Dijkstra Manfred's on the road again, making strangers rich.
It's a hot summer Tuesday, and he's standing in the plaza in front of the Centraal Station with his eyeballs powered up and the sunlight jangling off the canal, motor scooters and kamikaze cyclists whizzing past and tourists chattering on every side.
The square smells of water and dirt and hot metal and the fart-laden exhaust fumes of cold catalytic converters; the bells of trams ding in the background, and birds flock overhead.