Stretto, the fifth and final book in L. Timmel Duchamp's stunning Marq'ssan Cycle has just been published by Aqueduct Press. Taken as a whole, the Marq'ssan Cycle is one of the most ambitious political SF series to appear in the last twenty years. novels have received praise from the likes of Samuel Delany and Cory Doctorow, with Doctorow calling them "a refreshing read and a rare example of deft political storytelling."
Unfolding over a span of 22 years through the perspective of eleven viewpoint characters, the Marq'ssan Cycle envisions radical social and political change, from dystopia-- our current political reality of plutocracy and a savagely exploitative capitalism-- to a desirable situation in which to live, one that boasts a viable, vibrant polity and a minimum of hardship and suffering for the many rather than the few. The story begins with a global intervention by extraterrestrials, who assume that humans can simply be led like rational beings to change--and quickly discover just how deeply they are mistaken; their role then becomes one of facilitating change that humans must bring about themselves. The story explores how such a change might come about by unpacking the infinite detail, the fractalness of thought, in human relationships, laying them bare. Political reality is located not in a "system," but in the human beings who produce and keep it running. And so the story the Marq'ssan Cycle weaves is really the story of people processing change in their most intimate, daily lives.