Stealing Worlds

Karl Schroeder. Tor, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9998-4
This dense but enjoyable near-future thriller teeters on the surprisingly fine line between utopia and dystopia. Sura is desperate to stay afloat as more and more jobs are automated and America’s surveillance state makes hiding from her creditors next to impossible. She’s barely scraping by when she discovers that her father was murdered by shady business interests, and she has to disappear. With the help of an underground resistance, Sura learns to hide in plain sight, vanishing into the alternate economy of augmented reality games. Sura builds a new life while searching for whatever her father discovered that was worth killing him over. As her enemies close in, the games are revealed as a strategy to gamify social cooperation and resource reallocation, and Sura learns that she holds the key to the success or corruption of the entire new world order. The explanations for how these systems function can get lengthy and confusing, but Schroeder makes intriguing use of Sura as a lens to explore how utopia might come to bloom out of radicalism and intolerance. Readers looking for a little optimism mixed in with grim predictions will find a good balance here. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/02/2019
Release date: 06/18/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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