I can’t remember quite why I was recommended to read Diamond Dogs, but I think it was somewhere on Charles Stross’ blog, and I bookmarked it and then didn’t get round to downloading it until I was on my way to Bangkok last week.
It’s one of two stories (the other, Turquoise Days, I find completely impenetrable) set in the far future. At the same time, it’s enjoyably Gothic (at least to begin with). The hero meets an old friend who he hasn’t seen in decades, is whisked away to a remote house where there are Mysterious Characters, and then gets involved in a strange quest. At the same time, there’s people who can voluntarily request to have memories of their ex-wife removed, there’s a cybernetic doctor who keeps doing horrible things to people (including a great twist near the end) and there’s a hilariously horrible building, the Blood Spire, which, in all its pulsing evil, is an enormous, veiny phallic symbol that ejaculates torn-up human bodies at regular intervals.
It’s also about complex mathematics, cheap rip-offs of 20th century films (there’s a call-out to Cube, and another to Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom that I noticed) and body horror, as the team climbing the Blood Spire keep getting injured by the Spire, and then returning to attack it again, each time more enhanced cybernetically or eventually modified until they’re posthuman, the eponymous diamond dogs.
It ends … badly, for everyone involved, but it’s fast paced enough that this doesn’t make it depressing, and despite being on the pretty hard side of hard-sf (the first chapter was tough) it was a fun little read. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to read any of Alastair Reynolds’ longer work though.