Friday, March 19


Pixy Is Currently Reading...

Book 5 of Charlie Stross's The Merchant Princes.  The initial adventure story has, at this point, devolved into a seven-sided war spanning which is just the way I like it.

Update: One problem with this series is that Stross appears to have let his political views colour the story, and his political views are asinine.  If those aren't his actual views, he's still badly mismanaged that part of the story.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:44 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I'm through three of those, and sort of taking a break before picking up #4. I like Stross well enough (just got into him midway through last year) but there's something just a bit off-kilter about his storytelling, I find I can only take him in one-or-two-book doses.

Posted by: GreyDuck at Friday, March 19 2010 11:51 PM (7lMXI)

2 There is in some of his books, yes.  The more hard-SF ones like Iron Sunrise and the lighter ones seem to be free of this, Merchant Princes has a touch of it, but Accelerando I found unreadable.

I've also got a new Glen Cook SF novel and a new Alastair Reynolds after that, so I think a nice quiet weekend is called for.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, March 20 2010 12:02 AM (PiXy!)

3 Book 6 recently appeared here, I'll get to it shortly, I think. IIRC, it would not be wrong to characterize Stross as socialist, economically speaking, is that what you thought was leaking?

Posted by: Kayle at Saturday, March 20 2010 08:26 PM (hphNU)

4 The basic economics seem reasonable to me (I'm no economist) - a big part of the plot is that the Merchant Princes are running a, what's the term, mercantilist economy, and Miriam is trying to introduce them to capitalism.

On the topic of political economy, particularly with regard to our own world-analogue (he slips in some facts to indicate that it's not precisely our world), he's talking nonsense.  And since he appears to actually hold the views expressed by the plot in that respect...  Yeah.

Bit of a shame, since he's a fine writer and (I've chatted with him briefly online) a genuinely nice guy.  It's not enough to ruin the story, but it still detracts from it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, March 21 2010 12:02 AM (PiXy!)

5 IIRC, Stross is some sort of cognitively dissonant left-wing libertarian-anarchist, who's nominally in favor of the free market, but can't resist all sorts of altruistic rentseeking giveaways which necessitate governmental tyrannies, while always pining for pie in the Singularity, in a Marxist withering-away-of-the-state sense.

That, and he's got a simply monstrous case of revolutionary fetishism.  It creeps into every one of his books I've read.

What are the facts which set his Earth Prime apart from the real world, Pixy?  I didn't notice any in the first four volumes; I've not bothered reading the fifth one yet.

Posted by: Mitch H. at Sunday, March 21 2010 03:30 AM (jwKxK)

6 The Earth Prime-ness doesn't really pop up until the fifth book. I kind of get the impression he wasn't intending it to be that way, but then real world political events meandered away from his plot setup.

Posted by: Mark at Sunday, March 21 2010 05:30 AM (bBxKr)

7 I seem to recall there was something in book four, but can't remember exactly what it was.

But in book five - Chief Justice who?! wink

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, March 21 2010 10:58 AM (PiXy!)

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