One comment I got on my blog entry on Accelerando by Charles Stross was that Halting States was better. So when I saw its funny pixel art cover in the bookshop, I bought it. As luck would have it, I read the book during my trip to Edinburgh, where most of the action in the book takes place. I must agree with Alias, this book is better than Accelerando: both the plot and the writing are tighter, the characters more likeable, but the book is also way less ambitious. The starting point is a funny mix up between police matters and the weird world of online gaming:
It was called in as a robbery at Hayek Associates, an online game company. So you can imagine Sergeant Sue Smith’s mood as she watches the video footage of the the heist being carried out by a band of orcs and a dragon, and realises that the robbery from an online game company is actually a robbery from an online game
ISBN : 978-1-84149-694-8
This book reminded me of the Snow Crash for its rhythm and the satire of the dilbertian corporate culture that permeates everything nowadays. The book has a few quirks, the use of the second form in most of the text is somehow new, but I found this an amusing device. The narration alternating between the protagonists really feels like an old classic now.
In short a nice read and a good compromise between murder stories and science fiction. If you want to know more, the author graciously put the first three chapters for free on his blog.