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Manfred is back, and with him an eye on the big picture: not the preservation of life, of course, but the preservation of information. The talk in Elector is of escape, from the posthumans who would dismantle what remains of the solar system. It's particularly pleasing that the characters ask the obvious question: if they leave, isn't it all just going to start over? Isn't singularity - change - simply a quality of human life?

Much of the entertainment in the story comes from the insanely complex world. Stross' characters small-talk about high math because it's sometimes the only language they have to describe their lives (it's very literal writing; not much in the way of metaphor). They are a soup of personality offshoots, reconstructions and clones, and it's impressive that they never become a blur. Even when there are many versions of a character in play, the relationships between them are clear.

Elector is the most political of the stories, and in many ways also the most melodramatic. At this point most of the Macx alan are present, correct, and physically human, bringing with them the whole mess of biological tries and confusions that characterise that state. Living in the world is messy, and Elector reflects that mess. Events are too complex even for Manfred; there's too much history, too many networks, and too much that's now outside of human control. It's good work, but I'm surprised it garnered a Hugo nomination - if it stands alone, it does so only barely.
*nod* i'm finding it rather confusing.