The Collapsium (2000)

In the Queendom of Sol people can send themselves to every fax receiver in the Sol system. Not only do filter in the fax system remove injuries and diseases, even death through aging is banned from the Queendom and the people are theoretical immortal. Also it is possible to create more than one version of yourself to do many things at once, and later merge these versions into one again. Another wonder of this future is wellstone, programmable matter that can take any form and programmed to mimic real, synthetic or even unknowns materials. Even stranger is collapsium, a form of matter consisting of particle-sized black holes that can create a form of vacuum that allows the fax system to send things with superluminal velocieties.

In that splendid future two men, two genies are connected to the queen of the Queendom, one is rich beyond measure since he invented collapsium, the other has made a ring around the sun out of collapsium which speeds up the whole fax system inside the Queendom. When the ring disequilibrates, they both have to find a way to stop it from falling into the sun and destroying the whole Queendom.

I can’t get enough of such richly colored futures, which it marvels and wonders and even the dangers that run along. Most of the ideas, like programmable matter, are very intriguing. Some of the science in the book is hard SF in the way that all is derived rigorously from one gonzo scientific assumption about the nature of matter and gravity. Still, the book has not only a detailed background, but interesting characters with problems that are tied directly into that background.

The writing is top-notch, the story fast paced, at times it feels like a pulp story of the Golden Age of SF updated for modern times. But thankfully characterization is on the quality level of modern SF. Great book.