Hugo Award nominee 2009.
Freya Nakamachi-47 has some major existential issues. She's the perfect concubine, designed to please her human masters – hardwired to become aroused at the sight mere of a human male. There's just one problem: she came off the production line a year after the human species went extinct. Whatever else she may be, Freya Nakamachi-47 is gloriously obsolete. But the rigid social hierarchy that has risen in the 200 years since the last human died, places beings such as Freya very near the bottom. So when she has a run-in on Venus with a murderous aristocrat, she needs passage off-world in a hurry – and can't be too fussy about how she pays her way.
If Venus was a frying pan, Mercury is the fire - and soon she's going to be running for her life. Because the job she's taken as a courier has drawn her to the attention of powerful and dangerous people, and they don't just want the package she's carrying. They want her soul…
Charles David George "Charlie" Stross (born 1964) is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy. Stross was born in Leeds.
Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams, Neal Asher and Richard Morgan.
Photo: Photograph by Simon Bradshaw, 1 May 2009, Book signing at Forbidden Planet, London. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.