I read this in 1992-93, maybe... The setting was our solar system, which humanity had explored thoroughly and settled somewhat. There was a group of people who elected to live permanently in space suits, where they were perpetually exposed to space in orbit of a gas giant's moons or something. Because of the exoskeleton-like suits (and maybe they had claws?) this particular group of people were called "lobsters."

Does anyone know the name of this novel/short story or its author?


Possibly Cicada Queen by Bruce Sterling.

The Lobsters are a group more properly called Mechanists:

I found Wellspring in the swollen bubble of a tubeway bar, discussing a convoluted business deal with a man he introduced as "the Modem." The Modem was a member of a small but vigorous Mechanist sect known in C-K slang as Lobsters. These Lobsters lived exclusively within skin-tight life-support systems, flanged here and there with engines and input-output jacks. The suits were faceless and dull black. The Lobsters looked like chunks of shadow.

The protagonist, Landau (I don't think we ever learn his surname), has to become a Mech to escape some important people he has offended. He ends up staying a Mech and ruling over a group called the Terraform-Kluster.

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