Neptune's Brood

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Neptune's Brood
Neptune's Brood, UK cover.jpg
First UK edition, cover
AuthorCharles Stross
GenreScience fiction, Space opera
Publication date
1 July 2013 (UK)
2 July 2013 (US)
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Preceded bySaturn's Children 

Neptune's Brood is a science fiction novel by British author Charles Stross, set in the same universe as Saturn's Children, but thousands of years later and with all new characters.[1][2]

The novel was shortlisted for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Fictional universe[edit]

The setting of Saturn's Children was our solar system. Homo sapiens were extinct, and all the characters were androids. In Neptune's Brood, set in AD 7000, Homo sapiens have been resurrected three times, but remain insignificant and are known as the "Fragile".[3] In the novel, "humanity" is used for the "mechanocyte"-based metahuman successor life forms, vastly improved over the original androids.

The setting of Neptune's Brood is the part of the galaxy that has since been colonized with slower than light travel. A large part of the plot turns on the question of financing such colonization.[2][4] Money is entirely cryptocurrency and is known as "bitcoin", an intentional reference by Stross to the real-life cryptocurrency.[5][6] Money has been divided into three classes: "fast", "medium", "slow". Fast money is ordinary day-to-day cash, medium money is ordinary investment instruments, suitable for use within a single planetary system, and slow money is interstellar investment instruments, understood to take centuries, even millennia, to mature. Slow money transactions rely on a three-way cryptoverification scheme, and so trade at one-third the speed of light.

Two thousand years before the main plot begins, one start-up colony, Atlantis, broke contact without warning or explanation with the rest of humanity, and two attempts to physically contact them also went dark.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel presents itself as an extended first-person report by Krina Alizond-114, created by the "incalculably wealthy" Sondra Alizond-1 to be a scholar of accountancy practice historiography. Her clone sister, Ana, has disappeared, and Krina is following her trail.


Publishers Weekly[2] wrote:

As always, Stross feels like the smartest guy in the room, pushing the boundaries of identity and humanity while offering up what may be the first epic tale of futuristic macroeconomics.

According to Kirkus Reviews:[4]

If you begin by thinking that a narrative about banking, debt and accountancy might be dull, Stross will quickly disabuse you—there’s always a mad glint in his eye, even when he’s explaining some seriously weird and alluring concepts.

It was described by Saxon Bullock as follows in SFX:[7]

The level of invention is as impressive as ever, with virtually every page crammed to bursting with incredible concepts, while the slow-burning mystery turns out to be well-crafted and gripping in the extreme.


  1. ^ "Nanowrimo". Charlie's Diary. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Fiction Book Review: Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross". Publishers Weekly. 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ "CHARLES STROSS - NEPTUNE'S BROOD COVER ART REVEAL". 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Neptune's Brood". Kirkus Reviews. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  5. ^ Stross, Charles (2013). Neptune's Brood (First ed.). New York: Penguin Group USA. ISBN 978-0-425-25677-0. It’s theft-proof too – for each bitcoin is cryptographically signed by the mind of its owner.
  6. ^ "Crib Sheet: Neptune's Brood – Charlie's Diary". Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017. I wrote Neptune's Brood in 2011. Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency.
  7. ^ Bullock, Saxon (5 July 2013). "Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross Review". SFX. Retrieved 21 October 2014.

External links[edit]

  • Hanson, Robin (30 October 2013). "Financing Starships". Overcoming Bias. Retrieved 29 May 2015. Disputes the economic "realism" of the novel.