That was highly amusing. I cannot contemplate the idea that Mr. Stross is a good writer. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that horrible CG femmbot...
I would argue that Mr. Stross is not a good writer. He's an acceptable writer with a laser-keen insight into the minds, drives, habits, and quirks of his target audience. I treat his novels as something of a guilty pleasure: I know he's pandering to me, but he's so damn good at it that periodically I'll buy one for a flight or bus trip anyways.
That might be splitting hairs, though. And I still read Overtime. :)
You know he complained publicly about that horrible CG femmbot? Writers frequently have no choice about the artwork that goes on their novels (hence not judging a book by its cover). He tried to have her removed/altered, but had no success in this case.
It is, in any case, not one of his best novels. As ungratefulninja observes, he's not a great writer as such - not by any means a stylist. He writes acceptable prose that is always characteristically Charlie, but has a hugely fertile imagination, a decent talent for words at their basic level, and a deep knowledge of the computer/tech/nerd world.
The one on Saturn's Children? I always figured that was a homage to the (in?)famous cover of Friday. No?
That's what my editor (who worked on Friday) tells me. Which was a good -- in principle -- idea.
And then they got the awful CGI guy in to implement it. I told them there'd be blowback. But did they listen ...?