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The Family Trade
By Charles Stross

Discussed March 2009

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  1. What did you like about the book?
  2. What did you dislike?

The book is marketed as fantasy, but Wikipedia insists that it is actually science fiction. There is even a discussion page where they talk about the issue. One reviewer on the Internet says that it is more like a mainstream thriller.

  1. What elements of the book would lead one to believe it is or is not fantasy?
  2. What elements of the book would lead one to believe it is or is not science fiction?
  3. Can you think of other books that are similar to this?
  4. Paul Krugman has discussed the development of economics aspect of the book; the interaction of a low-tech civilization with a high tech civilization. Did Stross do a good job? How does the book compare with such experiences in real life?
  5. Charles Stross is a Scottish writer writing about New York and Boston. Did he do a good job?
  6. What did you think of Miriam as a character? What about the other characters?
  7. The book was written shortly after 9/11. How does this affect the book? Is it out of date already?
  8. This is the first book of a series called the Merchant Princes. Books one and two were written as one novel, but the publisher decided to split it into two books. Was this a good idea? Does the first book satisfy as a novel?
  9. Since this is the LSF book group, let us discuss the sex and the sexual politics.
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