Thursday, December 06, 2007

Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey

Gutenberg link

LibriVox link

Badge of Infamy

by Lester Del Rey

Daniel Feldman was a doctor once. He made the mistake of saving a friend’s life in violation of Medical Lobby rules. Now, he’s a pariah, shunned by all, forbidden to touch another patient. But things are more loose on Mars. There, Doc Feldman is welcomed by the colonists, even as he’s hunted by the authorities. But, when he discovers a Martian plague may soon wipe out humanity on two planets, Feldman finds himself a pivotal figure. War erupts. Earth is poised to wipe out the Mars colony utterly. A cure to the plague is the price of peace, and only Feldman can find it (summary by Steven H. Wilson).

A nice, fast-SF story - easy reading, and worked well in Plucker format. Reminiscent of Heinlein's "Red Planet" - both tell the tale of an opressed Mars throwing off the shackles of the mother planet, and both involve characters on the run across a cold (but endurable) Mars. I might give the audio version a listen sometime..

Monday, December 03, 2007

Halting State by Charles Stross

Search for title: HCL RCL MPL SPPL MnLINK


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...

Great. SF. Book.

Not much else to say without giving things away. This is a nicely woven story from multiple viewpoints (game designer, cop, forensic auditor) as they sort the how and the who of a cyber-game-bank heist. Lots of fun speculation on the future, with the action (mostly) in an independant Scotland in the near future. And there's a great punchline, just when you think it's all over.

Sort of a Neuromancer for out time.