Originally on : Strange Horizons (and still online)
I was very much minded of Charles Stross’ Manfred Macx/Accelerando with this story, a near(ish) future story that looks a few technological steps ahead, considers some ecological and political developments, and put them into a story that benefits from a slow reading to savour the detail.
As you see (it is online and the link is above) the opening paragraph successfully captures the attention : “The Granny wasn’t talking to any of them. The husband was collecting rocks, the other wives had stayed with the house, her mother was stretching at the other end of the beach, and the kids were running wild in the waves. The baby, still in utero, had only recently begun talking to her and already knew when to keep quiet.” It makes you re-read it just to make sure you fully understood the cast of characters being introduced and their relationships.
Suffice to say, there is a mobile house (and I mean mobile!) with it’s own AI, the intelligent communicating pre-natal child, politics in the Hague, Somali pirates, fearsome haggises (hagii) and a complicated set of family relationships,, and more. And it’s well worth the read.