This is a quote from Cory Doctorow's Little Brother about X-Net:"The best part of this is how it made me feel: in control. My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology; if you used it right it could give you power and privacy."This is a quote from Charles Stross' Halting State about BlackNet:"At the protocol level, it's an anonymous peer-to-peer currency system. It asks you to do favors, it does you favors. Like, be in front of a building with a running motor at such a time with the back doors open, and drive to an address where someone'll be waiting for you with a wallet full of cash and another stolen car." At least, that's the innocent-sounding version, because, let's face it, burglary and criminal damage go together like love and marriage, or robbery and a get-away carriage - and most of the stuff blacknets get used for starts there and gets worse real fast. None of the perps know each other, because it's all done with zero-knowledge proofs and anonymous remixers running out of zombie servers on some poor victim's home entertainment system that's downloaded one piece of X-rated malware too many."And THAT is the difference between Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow - Doctorow sees free anonymous internet access as freedom and power, and a civic right. Stross sees it as a network for criminals. Doctorow's assumption is that hackers and kids will always be smarter and more agile than Governments, and therefore will always be one step ahead with regard to using technology. Stross assumes that Governments are all-seeing, all powerful and always on top of the tech. And THIS is why I prefer Cory Doctorow.Other reasons I didn't love this book..* It's the morning after the first time this girl sleeps with this guy. They've being bugged, spied on, stabbed and narrowly avoided being kidnapped. A small girl has apparently been abducted, and an army of unsuspecting gamers are being used as international operatives against the entire western world. Here's what SHE's thinking: "What? No cuddling?" "You unromantic bastard!" Seriously. That second one is an ACTUAL quote. At that point, I decided the writer probably had a lot more experience with coding than coitus.*The other female protagonist goes from being a casually racist, stereotypical, dim-witted copper to someone who has deep insight into hedge funds and dot-com bubble investment tactics, with no discernible transition in between.*Second-person perspective. I hate being told what I just did and what I was thinking at the time by somebody I've never met.*Random Irvine-Welshesque lapses into phonetic Scottish accents for no obvious reason. Actually there was apparently a reason, just not a very believable one, and it was only given at about the 98% mark, making it too little too late.There were some good ideas in here, but for me they were lost in messy writing and a lack of insight into how other people might think or view the world. I will still read another Stross book, because on paper, there should be plenty for me to like - technology, Lovecraftian horrors, zombies, D&D, science fiction..... I SHOULD love this guy. But I don't yet.