In the year 7000, Krina Alizond-114 (metahuman descendent of the robots that once served humanity) is on a journey to the water world of Shin-Tethys to find her sister, Ana, who went missing during a research trip.

In the past year I had acquired more experience of being kidnapped and deceived than the rest of my lineage had managed over a period of several centuries.

page 188

They each possess half of a lost financial instrument worth an incredible fortune. Her journey is waylaid by pirates, and she finds herself embroiled in a war between various interests that seek to claim the financial instrument for their own.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Androids, valuable treasure, interstellar travel, forensic accounting, what’s not to love? Although many science fiction authors lay out a utopian world where money is an afterthought, money and its value is front and center in this book. Travel between stars exists, but it’s bounded by the speed of light (fractions of the speed of light for actual vessels, slightly faster for digital transmissions).

Neptune’s Brood was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Rating (5 stars)

The underlying premise is that there are three types of money, fast, medium, and slow. Fast money is cash and things that can be immediately traded for goods and services on a planet or starship. Good for daily needs, but not a long-term asset. Medium money is property and other assets that would take some effort to liquidate, and likely to retain its value between planets. Slow money is the currency of colonization efforts and transactions between stars (after all, why would a dollar be worth a dollar after a 4 light-year trip between two stars?).

The Atlantis Carnet is a slow money transaction that was never completed–under interstellar law, with the passage of time, whoever possesses the keys for both halves of the transaction possesses the money. And this transaction is a whopper…

Although the cold open is a little jarring, it makes sense in the context of the plot. The narrative explains the details of the world without lecturing. Plot twists are built up and properly revealed, and the characters are well developed.