Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Family Trade, by Charles Stross

The Family Trade: Book One of the Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross

Alternate history is something I find fascinating. This series posits there are parallel earths and a small group of people can travel between them (think Sliders). Our hero suddenly discovers she has this ability and her life changes overnight. Because she was ignorant of the other worlds, we get to discover and explore this strange new place through her eyes. World walking provides the perfect, untraceable courier service; pick up a package in Columbia in our world, switch to the other, travel to where NYC would be and switch back. No customs, no tariffs, nothing. The author takes this idea and runs with it with some very interesting results. The characterization is a bit unsteady (the hero is nervous and wide-eyed one minute, and showing nerves of steel the next) but nothing is so jarring happens as to pull the reader out of the story.

There is no solid resolution to this book, as it is the first of a series, which I find somewhat irritating. Usually I try and avoid series that aren’t yet complete so I don’t have to wait a year between episodes. I didn’t here, but I will be looking for next chapters as they arrive.

First Sentence:
Ten and a half hours before a mounted knight with a machine gun tried to kill her, tech journalist Miriam Beckstein lost her job.

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