06 February 2017

Charlie Stross Still Has It

"Empire Games", the 7th novel of the Merchant Prince series by British author Charlie Stross was released recently, seven years after the 6th installment, and this speculative fiction author who excels at world building in near future alternate realities still has the Mojo that has won him three Hugo awards going strong.

This is not a fluffy space opera.

Few authors can write long monologues on the economic development impact of washing machines while still producing a compelling page turner.

He touches on plenty of topics that are well in tune with the zeitgeist.

One important group of people in his novel are refugees who flight was due to a series of military actions in which the United States of America played a part. The word panopticon probably appears a dozen times in the novel that explores in mostly accurate depth, the nature of the modern surveillance state. He explores widespread adoption of improved facial recognition technology, cheap and rapid DNA sequencing, climate change and self-driving vehicles.  He explores a variety of ways that nuclear weapons could plausibly be used, the economic impact of falling oil prices, the power of genetic engineering, Fermi's paradox, the impact of Facebook on our lives, the evolution of gay rights in the lifetime of people alive today, the politics of one party states, monarchies, a decaying United States democracy, and the political impact of terrorism. 

This is a novel for people who are paying attention to their world and want to sharpen their thinking about it with concrete examples and scenarios.

Go read it.

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