July 19, 2008

Halting State

Halting State
Charles Stross


(July 19, 2008)

It's 2012. Scotland is independent. Gaming is big. And a band of orcs has just, impossibly, broken into the central bank of Avalon 4, a massively multiplayer role-playing game, nerfed the guards, and stolen the contents of the vault — which, if they were sold on eBay, would be worth €26 million.

Someone calls the cops, who send a baffled investigator. Someone else calls the VC's, who send a forensic accountant. The accountant wants a native guide, and hires an unemployed game designer. Together (more or less) they try to get to the bottom of a crime that turns out to be much bigger than the game.