I liked this even better than The Atrocity Archives.
The idea of SCORPION STARE (Medusa, weaponized) is neat and there’s some interesting commentary on the potential problems of a surveillance state that fit well with the overall Britishness of the piece.
One advantage this has over the Atrocity Archives is that Stross toned down the technobabble a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I think that uninhibited geekery is one of the better parts of these books, but it got intense at times. In this one it’s more manageable–probably since it’s only about half the length. Of course, to some extent, the technobabble is replaced by spybabble. But those I don’t know nearly as well, which amusingly makes it less distracting.
One semi-issue this had was the the same oddities with timing that the first did: in that I didn’t quite expect it to end as quickly as it did. I don’t have any particular problem with how they were wrapped it, it was just sudden. I think I’ve been reading too many long books recently.