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Halting State
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About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.

Reviews

This brilliantly conceived techno-crime thriller spreads a black humor frosting over the grim prospect of the year 2012, when China, India and the European System are struggling for world economic domination in an "infowar," and the U.S. faces bankruptcy over its failing infrastructure. Sgt. Sue Smith of Edinburgh's finest, London insurance accountant Elaine Barnaby and hapless secret-ridden programmer Jack Reed peel back layer after layer of a scheme to siphon vast assets from Hayek Associates, a firm whose tentacles spread into international economies. The theft is routed through Avalon Four, a virtual reality world complete with supposedly robbery-proof banks. As an electronic intelligence agency trains innocent gamers to do its dirty work, Elaine sets Jack to catch the poacher. Hugo-winner Stross (Glasshouse) creates a deeply immersive story, writing all three perspectives in the authoritative second-person style of video game instructions and gleefully spiking the intrigue with virtual Orcs, dragons and swordplay. The effortless transformation of today's technological frustrations into tomorrow's nightmare realities is all too real for comfort. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The setting is a virtual world called Avalon Four; the year, 2018. Sgt. Sue Smith, an Edinburgh constable, takes on a special case: a bank robbery committed by a team of Orcs with a dragon for backup. As Smith delves further into the case, both in the real and in the virtual worlds, she uncovers evidence that the crime is more than simply a robbery. Hugo Award winner Stross's fast-paced sf techno-thriller shows promise as a series opener and belongs in most libraries. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"As keenly observant of our emergent society as it is of our emergent technologies, Halting State is one extremely smart species of fun." - William Gibson, author of Agency "Halting State [is] a near-future story that is at once over-the-top and compellingly believable." - Vernor Vinge, author of Rainbows End "The first couple pages had me hooked, and I didn't touch another book until I finished it." - John Carmack, lead developer of Doom and Quake, and technical director of id Software "This is the best fictional take ever written about virtual worlds." - Raph Koster, designer of Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, and Metaspace

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