What are you reading this summer?


... Because a random drive-by on twitter suggested this would be a good question to ask on my blog, and they're absolutely right.

NB: Please don't just post a title: post at least a couple of sentences explaining why you think the book in question is of interest. (Even if it just boils down to "escapism, subtype: personal itch-scratching".) Context is good!

Empire Games


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<p class="ljsyndicationlink"><a href="http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/07/advertising-interval.html">http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/07/advertising-interval.html</a></p><p><img src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SZe-ZbGdL.jpg"" alt="Empire Games" title="" /></p> <p>I'm back home and over the jetlag, but I'm keeping a low profile because I'm doing my final check on the page proofs of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Games-Charles-Stross-ebook/dp/B01HMMYSOW/">Empire Games</a> (cover above)!</p> <p>Because I'm back in the Merchant Princes setting with a whole new near-future SF trilogy&mdash;my big fat post-Snowden surveillance state technothriller (with parallel universes):</p> <blockquote> <p>The year is 2020. It's seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire, and the newly-reconstituted North American Commonwealth is developing rapidly, on course to defeat the French and bring democracy to a troubled world. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence&mdash;the paratime espionage agency tasked with catalyzing the Commonwealth's great leap forward&mdash;has a problem. For years, she's warned everyone: "The Americans are coming." Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis, for their leader, First Man Adam, is dying of cancer, and the vultures are circling.</p> <p>In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Rita, Miriam's own estranged daughter, to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. But her handlers are keeping information from her.</p> <p>Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies are fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn't result in a nuclear holocaust. And two women&mdash;a mother and her long-lost, adopted-out daughter&mdash;are about to find themselves on opposite sides of the confrontation.</p> </blockquote> <p>Empire Games is due out on January 17th of next year, and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Games-Charles-Stross/dp/0765337568/charliewebsi-20">available for pre-order now</a> (<a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Empire-Games-Charles-Stross/dp/0765337568/">UK/EU edition here</a>)!</p>

A plaintive request


I'm still on vacation (with a side-order of signing tour) and won't be home until Thursday evening, at which point I'll be jet-lagged for a few days. Meanwhile, History is happening, and I wish it would stop, or at least slow down.

As Lenin allegedly put it, "sometimes decades pass that feel like weeks: and sometimes weeks pass that feel like decades." Assuming the quote's correct (I haven't been able to run down a citation for it), he was on the nail, and we're clearly living through it: at the rate History has been happening over the past month I am expecting the date for a new Scottish Independence referendum to be announced, China to land a Taikonaut on the Moon, Turkey to declare war on Pennsylvania, and Boris Johnson not to offend anyone all week. (For those who aren't in on the joke, here's The Economist's take on Boris as Foreign Secretary—key phrase: "like putting a baboon at the wheel of the Rolls Royce".)

Seriously. 2016 sucks. It probably doesn't suck as badly as 1933, or 1943 come to think of it, but it's still a shitty, horrible, no-good excuse for a year in history, and future generations of schoolkids will ask their baffled teachers, "but what were they thinking?"

So. In an attempt to cheer myself up ... what am I missing that is outside the prevailing media narrative but is still worthy of reportage?