I excitedly came back to the near future world of Halting State. Instead I was served a warmed over pastiche, an empty husk of an exciting novel, devoid of the charm of the earlier work.It is hard to enumerate just what's wrong here. Stross tries and tries, and sometimes it nearly comes good. The overwhelming mood of the book is one of failure, of glimpsing success, tantalisingly close. It is still a decent workmanlike system of a book, but it fails to engage the reader in its own intentions.