Charlie Stross has just posted the prologue and first three chapters of his kick-ass heist novel about a robbery in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, "Halting State":
"I'd just come out of the post-IPO debrief meeting with Marcus and Barry, they're our CEO and CTO. We were in a three-way conference call with our VC's investment liaison team and our counsel down south when Linda called me out -- she's in derivatives and border controls -- because there was something flaky going down in one of the realms we manage for Kensu International. It's in the prestige level central bank for Avalon Four. There was a guild of Orcs -- in a no PvP area -- and a goddamn dragon, and they cleaned out the bank. So we figured we'd call you."
The elevator stops and you stare at Wayne Richardson, Marketing Director, in mild disbelief. The jargon can wait for later, that's what your interview log is for: but one name in particular rings a bell because Mary says Davey's been pestering her for an account. "Avalon Four? Isnae that a game?"
He swallows and nods. "It's our main cash cow." The doors slide open on an underground corridor. The roof is ribbed with huge concrete beams painted in thick splashes of institutional cream, and it's startlingly cold. There are bleached pine doors on either side, a cable duct winding overhead, and posters on the walls that say CARELESS LIPS SINK SHIPS. For a moment you wonder if you've blundered into some kind of live action role playing thing, a cold war re-enactment maybe: but just then your phone chimes at you that it's gone offline.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, […]
Timothy Ellis’ galaxy spanning space opera continues in Hero at the Gates! We’re 9 damn books in and the central plot is finally about to get past its prelude! I’ve really enjoyed this massive story. 9 novels ago Jon Hunter was a wet behind the ears kid on board his uncle’s space trader. Now he’s […]
Modern civilization has all but disappeared. It falls to a fearless, dedicated and slap-stick bunch known as Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors to help humanity recover. With help like this, you might be better off on your own! Benjamin Wallace’s first installment in the Duck and Cover series is a quick and witty read. We find America […]
While Netflix and Hulu have seemingly dominated the streaming market with their limited selections, we’ve looked a little outside the box and found something pretty great as an alternative. SelectTV combines all the content of cable with the convenience of streaming, and it’s affordable too.SelectTV is an online subscription service that packs an impressive library of over […]
These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction. This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, […]
If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash. MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan […]