Stealing Worlds by Karl Schroeder Reviewed

Times being what they are, with the coronavirus attacking the world, and so many ofStealing Worlds us being affected in so many ways, it was a bit surreal listening to this book on Audible. I wouldn’t call this dystopian, although it is set in a world where global warming has devastated the Earth, and the promise of capitalism is shown to be an empty vessel. Aside from using an eff bomb repeatedly as a character contrivance, Stealing Worlds is an absolutely spectacular novel. Virtual and Mixed Reality, Live Action Role Playing (LARP), block-chain technology, politics, and revolution all have a place in this thriller by Karl Schroeder.

Sura Neelin is on the run after her father is murdered and she doesn’t even know who she is running from. The society has evolved into one of complete and constant surveillance, but she might have a chance in the virtual game world, using smart glasses and block-chain tech. His characters are distinctive and well-drawn, and as the plot moves along, I liked Sura more and more. Her first mentor, Compass, turns out to be a broken, but gifted young woman, and Nancy Wu, who is the reader for this audiobook, brings Compass to life. The evolution of the game world economy and the smart tech of the world, with its ” Internet of Things,” is brilliantly conceived and makes for a mind-stretching read.

With all of the political gyrations I wondered how he would pull off the grandiose plot, but he stuck the landing, very satisfying. This is my first Karl Schroeder book, even though I’ve had some of his books on TBR pile for several years. It definitely won’t be the last.

Highly recommended!

Alternate Reality

I  don’t know about you but life feels surreal right now.

Pretty much everything is cancelled. My daughters opera slated for next month is cancelled. All the schools here are online only until further notice.

No sports, of any kind, except . . . except Virtual Sports. Could this spark something new? All those out of work sports reporters need something to do.

cornonaprepper

I’m listening to Karl Schroeder‘s newest book, Stealing Worlds. People can disappear in the LARP game worlds, into the alternate economy of Notchcoin and blockchains. The people who build the games also program the surveillance networks. It’s s Deep State thriller that deals with a lot of virtual and mixed reality stuff. Combined with what is happening across the world right now it has really got me feeling like we are in the first stages of Schroeder’s world.

 

My imagination has been working overtime, and I can see a world where virtual sports really take off, online worlds thrive. Why? Because you can do it in the comfort of your fortress at home. I wonder about the implications of social distancing. If this virus threat continues for months and months it could have a lasting impact on how we live for years to come. If I had the money I would be investing in online ventures and delivery services.

I hope you are doing well. Keep washing your hands.

The Spark of Searching for Extraterrestrial Life

Charlie Stross pointed out an article and commentary that peaked my interest, dealing with SETI and the Fermi Paradox. The article was The Fermi Paradox, Self-Replicating Probes, and the Interstellar Transportation Bandwidth by Keith Wiley. Wiley’s article was to do with the likelihood of Intelligent Aliens or lack thereof.

 

If you aren’t familiar with the Fermi Paradox, it basically states that the likelihood of intelligent life in the galaxy is high, given the huge number of stars and therefore planets in our galaxy, that intelligent extraterrestrial life should have been to visit us by now or at least left their evidence and yet we haven’t found clue one.  There are lots of theories as to why and these essays delve into those arguments.

 

The commentary was The Deepening Paradox by Karl Schroeder, a Futurist and SciFi Novelist. Great stuff! Karl just finished his Master’s program in Strategic Foresight — Futurism by another name. If I had known such a program existed when I was a kid I would have been all over that!  I was probably 13 or 14 when I did my first timeline, trying to extrapolate technology advancement. I still love it! His job is to forecast trends so that companies might adapt their technology. This also feeds his writing and I am adding all his books to my reading list, they look fascinating on first glance.  He has seven books out with a few other odds and ends.  His focus is Post Singularity, Post-humanism, fantasy and hard science all mixed together.  I can’t wait to read them.

 

One of his cover artists also caught my eye.  Stephan Martiniere is his name and he has an amazing array of artwork spanning several different styles and genres.  He has a lot of stuff for sale and If I could afford him I would want him doing my covers.  His style is breathtaking and intricate and really stokes my imagination.  His style is way out of my reach with the meager skill set I have.  I would love to see how he does his paintings, they are so detailed and imaginative and his use of light is right on the money.  I absolutely love his artwork!

 

All this has got me thinking about Post Singularity ideas for stories and I have an idea or two brewing already.  I’ll jot down a few ideas and let them percolate for a bit while I’m finishing the revision for Clear Ether.  I am sending my first chapters out to my alphas hopefully this week, (are you listening Stacy?)