Empire games.

Author:Mangu-Ward, Katherine
Position:BOOK - Charlie Stross' "Empire Games" - Brief article - Book review

In a genre consumed by propulsion explainers and grandiose quests, Charlie Stross has a talent for creating loopily appealing science fiction plots out of corporate and market interactions. His Merchant Princes series takes a highfalutin' genre conceit--a genetically blessed subset of the population that can skip between alternate timelines--and plays it out in a pleasingly mundane way.

Gangs of rivalrous universe-hopping cousins become smugglers, as well as serving as a kind of inter-dimensional FedEx, over the course of the original six-book sequence. The protagonist, Miriam Beckstein, vanishes enticingly at the end of the series, as does most of the cast in what Stross describes on his blog as a "brisk thermonuclear holocaust."

In Empire Games (Tor), the first of a new trilogy based on the same idea, Stross takes the concept in a more political direction. Now Beckstein's daughter, Rita Douglas, is entangled in the...

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