In the tradition of Roger Zelazny’s classic Amber novels, the second volume of Charles Stross’s thrill-a-minute saga of multiple worlds. Miriam, a hip tech journalist from Boston, discovered her alternate world relatives in , and with them an elite identity she didn’t know was hers. Now, in order to avoid a slippery slope down to an unmarked grave, Miriam, known as Lady Helge to the Family, starts applying modern business practices and scientific knowledge to a trade dominated by mercantilists — with unexpected consequences for three different timelines, including the quasi-Victorian one exploited by the hidden family. Charles Stross is one of the big new SF writers of the 21st century, and the saga of The Merchant Princes is his most ambitious work yet.
The six families of the Clan rule the kingdom of Gruinmarkt from behind the scenes, a mixture of nobility and criminal conspirators whose power to walk between the worlds makes them rich in both. Braids of family loyalty and intermarriage provide a fragile guarantee of peace, but a recently-ended civil war has left the families shaken and suspicious.Caught up in schemes and plots centuries in the making, Miriam Beckstein is surrounded by unlikely allies, forbidden loves, lethal contraband, and, most dangerous of all, her family. Her unexpected return to this world will supersede the claims of other clan members to her mother’s fortune and power, and whoever killed her mother will be happy to see her dead, too.Behind all this lie deeper secrets still, which threaten everyone and everything she has ever known. Patterns of deception and interlocking lies, as intricate as the knotwork between the universes.
His most ambitious novel to date, ACCELERANDO is a multi-generational saga following a brilliant clan of 21st-century posthumans. The year is some time between 2010 and 2015. The recession has ended, but populations are ageing and the rate of tech change is accelerating dizzyingly. Manfred makes his living from spreading ideas around, putting people in touch with one another and leaving a spray of technologies in his wake. He lives at the cutting edge of intelligence amplification technology, but even Manfred can take on too much. And when his pet robot cat picks up some interesting information from the SETI data, his world – and the world of his descendants – is turned on its head.
A dissident faction of the Clan, the alternate universe group of families that has traded covertly with our world for a century or more, have carried nuclear devices between the worlds and exploded them in Washington, DC, killing the President of the United States. Now they will exterminate the rest of the Clan and keep Miriam alive only long enough to bear her child, the heir to the throne of their land in the Gruinmarkt world.
The worst and deepest secret is now revealed: behind the horrifying plot is a faction of the US government itself, preparing for a political takeover in the aftermath of disaster. There is no safe place for Miriam and her Clan except, perhaps, in the third alternate world, New Britain--which has just had a revolution and a nuclear incident of its own.
Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series reaches a spectacular climax in this sixth volume. Praised by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman as "great fun," this is state of the art, cutting edge SF grown out of a fantastic premise.
Meet Edinburgh Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh, head of the Innovative Crimes Investigation Unit, otherwise known as the Rule 34 Squad. They monitor the Internet for potential criminal activity, analyzing trends in the extreme fringes of explicit content. And occasionally, even more disturbing patterns arise…
Three ex-cons have been murdered in Germany, Italy, and Scotland. The only things they had in common were arrests for spamming—and a taste for unorthodox entertainment. As the first officer on the scene of the most recent death, Liz finds herself sucked into an international investigation that isn’t so much asking who the killer is, but what—and if she doesn’t find the answer soon, the homicides could go viral.
Now back in print—a powerful science fiction masterwork from the Nebula Award-winning author of .
From these dramatic speculations, Michael Bishop creates a complex story spanning several years in the late 1980s and intertwining the lives of many fascinating and/or exasperating characters, including…
and , the living human fossil whom RuthClaire has named and dared to take into her home.
Over the course of , these characters and others work out their loves and conflicts across a variety of backdrops—from rural Georgia to the bistros and back alleys of Atlanta, all the way to the forests and caves of antique Montaraz, an enigmatic island under the dictatorial sway of “Baby Doc” Duvalier of Haiti.
A rare combination of science fiction, noir mystery, and comedy of manners, will involve and challenge you as have few other novels.
“Equoid” is set shortly before the events of the “The Fuller Memorandum”. It’s the longest non-novel-length Laundry story so far. And it explains (among other things) precisely what H. P. Lovecraft saw behind the wood-shed when he was 14 that traumatized him for life, the reproductive life-cycle of unicorns, and what really happened on Cold Comfort Farm.
In this alternately chilling and hilarious sequel to The Atrocity Archives (2004) from Hugo-winner Stross, Bob Howard is a computer übergeek employed by the Laundry, a secret British agency assigned to clean up incursions from other realities caused by the inadvertent manipulation of complex mathematical equations: in other words, magic. In 1975, the CIA used Howard Hughes's Glomar Explorer in a bungled attempt to raise a sunken Soviet submarine in order to access the Jennifer Morgue, an occult device that allows communication with the dead. Now a ruthless billionaire intends to try again, even if by doing so he awakens the Great Old Ones, who thwarted the earlier expedition. It's up to Bob and a collection of British eccentrics even Monty Python would consider odd to stop the bad guy and save the world, while getting receipts for all expenditures or else face the most dreaded menace of all: the Laundry's own auditors. Stross has a marvelous time making eldritch horror appear commonplace in the face of bureaucracy.
In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com startup company that's just been floated on the London stock exchange. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But she soon realizes that the virtual world may have a devastating effect in the real one-and that someone is about to launch an attack upon both…
This much-anticipated debut novel is set 400 years in the future-and in the wake of perfected time travel, the ultimate advancements in technology and information, and the groundbreaking development of Artificial Intelligence. Is this all a great step for humanity? Or will it be our ultimate downfall?
Bob has been behind a desk for too long, busy indexing and archiving the Laundry's secret files, and he's longing for a break when his wife, Mo, announces that she's landed a teaching assignment at a staff college in Cambridge. And he's worrying at the problem of a missing manuscript – an unfinished policy document found in the personal effects of Major-General J. F. C. Fuller (rtd) after his death – which is absent from the Laundry archives. (Fuller was not only the tactician who first invented Blitzkrieg warfare in 1917-18; he was also #2 to Aleister Crowley in the OTO, and a heavyweight Cabalist.) So Bob follows Mo to Cambridge, and is startled to find a Russian spy sneaking around after him. The Fuller Memorandum is missing, and the FSB want it badly. It's got something to do with Fuller's occult obsessions, and something to do with the Laundry's creation in 1941. But Bob doesn't realize just how much is at stake until someone tries to kill Mo, and his boss Angleton starts behaving oddly before lapsing into a coma. The theft of Fuller's document is at the heart of a murderous conspiracy rooted in the GULAGs, and Bob is dumped into a deadly race against time – because if he can't work out where it's been hidden, and how it's connected to Angleton's mysterious illness, it's going to be curtains for the Laundry (and possibly the world) as the cultists of Chernobog try to raise darkness at noon.
Sex oozes from every page of this erotic futuristic thriller. In a far-future class-driven android society, most of the populace are slave-chipped and owned by wealthy aristos. When low-caste but unenslaved android Freya offends an aristo and needs to get off-world, she takes a courier position with the mysterious Jeeves Corporation, but the job turns out to have dangers of its own. Designed as a pleasure-module, Freya isn’t quite as obsolete as she could be, as androids have sex with each other incessantly. Hugo-winner Charles Stross has a deep message of how android slavery recapitulates humanity’s past mistakes, but he struggles to make it heard over the moans and gunshots. Readers nostalgic for the SF of the ’60s will find much that’s familiar (including Freya’s jumpsuit-clad form on the cover), but that doesn’t quite compensate for the flaws.
The sequel to the critically acclaimed returns to the twenty-fourth-century interstellar domain humankind has forged through the godlike powers of the Eschaton, an enigmatic being from humanity’s distant future. Now, in an act of apparent sabotage, one remote interstellar colony, Moscow, has met a disastrous fate: its host star exploded, annihilating an entire solar system and forcing the evacuation of nearby colonies. UN hostage negotiator Rachel Mansour, who is recovering from a showdown with a psychotic performance artist harboring a nuclear warhead, is tagged to make the wormhole jaunt to the scene and investigate. Is one of Moscow’s rival colonies responsible? Is the Eschaton? Improbably, the answers to such questions may lie with Wednesday, a rambunctious adolescent girl whose family is fleeing the expanding explosion, and between whose story and Rachel’s the novel alternates. Stross improves on with better characterizations and entertaining technological inventiveness. Fans of hard SF spiced by political intrigue will relish this dish.
Nominated for Hugo and Locus awards in 2005.
Stross's disorganized fifth Merchant Princes story (after 2007's The Merchants' War) continues the adventures of hapless Boston journalist Miriam Beckstein. Newly free of political imprisonment, pregnant and on the lam, she finds herself at the center of a desperate power grab as political instability rocks the mafia-like Clan Corporate, who are magically able to cross between parallel worlds. When world-walkers steal nukes from a U.S. installation, it's a race against time to find out who has them, and why, before they can be deployed. The U.S. is also close to discovering a technological method of world-walking, rendering the clan both vulnerable and obsolete. Stross pays heartfelt homage to Roger Zelazny and Lois McMaster Bujold, but with too many characters and too little focus, this novel fails to match their achievements.
Stross's lively third volume in his Merchant Princes SF series (after 2005's The Hidden Family) finds 33-year-old Boston journalist Miriam Beckstein still caught in a "barely post-feudal" alternate world where she's part of a mafiosa-like family called "the Clan." The Clan is holding Miriam's mother hostage in an effort to force the reluctant, thoroughly modern Miriam to make a politically advantageous marriage. Also dragged into deadly Clan politics is Miriam's ex-boyfriend, Mike Fleming, a DEA agent who has infiltrated Miriam's world on the orders of Homeland Security. Miriam's foolish, headstrong decisions help propel the fast-paced plot. Mike's discovery that the Clan may have planted nuclear weapons on our world raises the ante. While Miriam can be frustratingly dense, playing right into her captors' hands, the book gallops along to a cliffhanger ending that will leave readers eagerly awaiting future installments.