I recently remembered reading a soft sci-fi novel about 10-15 years ago (borrowed from a library); the basic premise was of some space empire (based throughout the Solar System I believe, but primarily in Space rather than on planets, moons, etc.). Most people I believe lived on some kind of ring (Dyson-like maybe?), and there was matter replication-like capabilities and teleportation.

The Empire was ruled by a young (possibly eternal) Empress, with the protagonist being a male friend of hers (possibly an artist) who may have been in a relationship with her (possibly before she became Empress?). She somehow controlled all the technology (nanites?) which allowed people to do as they wished. The ending featured her being assassinated, but "surviving" by using the teleporters to duplicate herself so she could be with the protagonist.

I think the book had a title of something like "Singularity".

Does this ring a bell?

  • 4
    I want to say that "post-scarcity" is what you're looking for.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 2 '17 at 12:26
  • I risked a look at post-scarcity on tvtropes and didn't see an obvious match. Nov 2 '17 at 15:51
  • Charles Stross's "Singularity Sky" was published in that timeframe but I'm not sure it's what you're looking for. Link to Wikipedia page:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singularity_Sky Nov 2 '17 at 17:16
  • Leaving as a comment because not enough time to flesh out an answer, but this reminds me of Stross' Accelerando. Specifically the Empress part. Maybe someone else can put an actual answer.
    – DonFusili
    Nov 7 '17 at 10:36
  • Post-scarcity was what I was thinking of, thanks!
    – ivanm
    Nov 12 '17 at 3:05

I've come across the book I was thinking of: The Collapsium by Wil McCarthy.

People don't live on the ring but they're building one (which is central to the plot). They have "Faxes" which are used to both create whatever they need but also to travel (so Star Trek replicators and transporters combined); at the end the Queen (not Empress, got that wrong as well) has an old backup of hers restored thus bringing her back to life.

(The Queen of Sol also doesn't actually control the titular Collapsium that everyone uses; the protagonist is the original inventor of these particles and not an artist per se.)

  • 1
    Congrats on the self-answer. :) It would still be good if you can explain why it matches, for future querents.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 2 '20 at 14:22

This sounds vaguely like Peter Hamilton's Greg Mandel Trilogy (Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder, The Nano Flower). Julia Evans would be the young eternal Empress character you refer to, and her fate matches your description. The protagonist, Greg Mandel, is a psychic detective who Julia employs to find her ex-husband.

  • That series looks good, but the one I'm thinking of was stand-alone and soft sci-fi (more "technology is flashy and great").
    – ivanm
    Nov 12 '17 at 3:06

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