Halting State

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“Halting State” is a funny nerd-book by Charles Stross.

The setting: In an online role playing game a bank is robbed. Three people, a cop, an insurance accountant - both women - and a game developer investigate the case.

The cop and the accountant do not really understand what is going on. The cop uses goggles that overlay the real world with a virtual reality providing all sorts of police information, but she doesn’t understand online games. The accountant plays some kinds of online games, but doesn’t understand how they work. The nerd – the game developer – takes the job to guide the accountant through the maze of online RPGs. He’s a Python 3000 programmer and the way he thinks and acts is really nothing new to software developers. The book contains some insider jokes probably only people working in the software development industry will understand.

Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the three protagonists. It’s a bit unusual, because the author wrote the book in the second person. So it’s somehow like reading a text adventure with the difference that you as the reader cannot take any influence on the action.

At the end the book somewhat looses it’s drive as the author tries to tie it all up, but it is a fun book and definitely recommendable.