Some Stross fans were not pleased about the possibility of being seen with this in public.Saturn's Children: A Space Opera
is a science fiction novel by Charles Stross
about the adventures of a Sex Bot
in a world where humans (and thus her reason for being) are extinct.
Though not an overt comedy, the novel very clearly has its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek. It lies somewhere on the border between an homage to, and a parody of, Golden Age SF planetary adventure stories, and especially, the works of Robert A. Heinlein
and Isaac Asimov
, to whom the book is dedicated.
By the 23rd century, Mankind has become extinct, leaving the intelligent, autonomous robots he created to carry on as best they can. Independent and self-sustaining, the robots struggle to find a purpose in their "lives". Freya Nakamichi was created to be a Sex Bot
, and she's now a free woman, but in the hierarchy of robots, her tribe's rank is low, and her primary skill set is not much in demand, so she's forced to take whatever jobs she can find.
While visiting a pleasure palace on Venus, Freya gets into a scuffle with some high-ranking robots, and manages to seriously offend one (having your head ripped off can be annoying). With Venus getting too hot for her, Freya is thankful to find a courier job that will take her off planet. Unfortunately, the package she's been hired to carry turns out to contain an explosive secret that many robots would kill to possess, or die to destroy; Freya's in bigger trouble than ever.
The first edition's US cover was quite controversial
—to the point that Stross himself posted on his blog, saying, essentially, "I'm sorry, it's not my fault". Technically
, it's probably a fairly realistic depiction of the protagonist. If anything, it may downplay her overt sexiness. However, it does tend to give people the wrong idea about the book...and possibly, the reader. (It also looks like exaggerated parody of the cover to Friday
, which is appropriate.)
Has a sequel, Neptune's Brood
, set 5,000 years later.
Provides examples of: