The Family Trade - Charles Stross

Allegedly the first book of a trilogy, this appears to be, in reality, the first third of a rather big book. Don't read this if you expect something which has any kind of sensible ending. Fortunately, the guy I borrowed this off has bought the second, so I should be able to continue soon....

This is supposedly a fantasy book, so we see Mr. Stross stretching out into yet another genre. In practice, there aren't goblins, wizards, magicians, bronzed heroes/heroines, etc. so we're doing ok. As you might expect from Stross, it is in fact a kind of fantasy/something completely different cross. In this case, the something else appears to be business strategy!

The gist of the story is that a bog-standard (adopted) journalist gets fired, gets handed some random rubbish from when she was found, and discovers who her real parents are by accidentally teleporting herself to a strange feudal world. The first thing she does when she gets there, of course, is to bring the world to our modern world standard by introducing modern business structure. Step 1) Avoid intrigue and stay alive, Step 2) ???, Step 3) Profit.

I'm probably making it sound silly, but I do rather enjoy Stross's weird concoctions, and this is not played for laughs as, say, The Atrocity Archives is. As such, I enjoyed this, up to the part where the book ends without much happening. Roll on the sequel.

Posted 2007-12-08.