The first installment of Chris Moriarty’s recently-completed Spin Trilogy, Spin State (2003) was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick, John Campbell, Spectrum and Prometheus Awards—a strong debut, fast-paced, that Nicola Griffith described as “vivid, sexy, and sharply written […] a nonstop, white-knuckle tour of quantum physics, artificial intelligence, and the human heart.” And it’s also—more of a rarity—a hard science fiction novel with a queer woman protagonist.
Spin State introduces Major Catherine Li, a UN Peacekeeper sent to investigate an “accidental” death on her home planet, a mining world that produces the Bose-Einstein condensate that makes quantum entanglement and its benefits—travel, commerce, communication—possible. As one might expect, however, the situation is anything but straightforward; Li is being played against (and by) a variety of actors in the larger political sphere. The answers she finds on Compson’s World could shift the balance of power between the UN and the Syndicates with regard to the control of inhabited space. Li’s own secrets are at risk of discovery, and her relationships to her handlers, associates, and friends—particularly an Emergent AI called Cohen—will determine the outcome.
[A relatively spoiler-free review.]