In Charles Stross' Accelerando, the Queen of the Ring Imperium has successfully created a sovereign "country" that spans the proximity of Jupiter.

Her mom sues her (?!), but she isn't a citizen of the Imperium, and the solar system is still a bit like the Wild West: there's no United Planets, no interplanetary law, and there's no mention in the book that the Imperium participates in any treaties of any kind.

The Imperium is sufficiently armed as well.

So why doesn't the Queen just blow it off? Why bother?

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    Note that Argentina and Russia and both fighting rather than ignoring lawsuits from outside their own borders right now. Basically because those suits originate in jurisdictions where the defendants have assets and interests (and don't have sovereign power), so they can still be hurt by them despite being "sovereign" entities in their own right. Jul 31, 2014 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


Amber's mother is a mentally deranged control freak who lives to dominate her daughter. When she realises that she can't brow-beat her into submission she begins to take increasingly bizarre legal action against her. In an attempt to afford her some protection, Amber's father sold her to a self-owned company in order to shield her from her mother's legal shenanigans.

“I ran away from home. Mom owned me — that is, she had parental rights and Dad had none. So Dad, via a proxy, helped me sell myself into slavery to a company. The company was owned by a trust fund, and I’m the main beneficiary when I reach the age of majority. As a chattel, the company tells me what to do — legally — but the shell company is set to take my orders. So I’m autonomous. Right?”

Unfortunately, her mother's legal advisors find a loophole. If she becomes a muslim, her daughter becomes a muslim. In order to avoid submitting to the will of the nearest imam (flown in specially for the occasion) she decides to stake a claim on a passing rock and appoint herself as the potentate of a self-governing jurisdiction in order to avoid submitting to her mother's requests.

“Well.” Amber rolls over and hugs the fat hydroponic duct to her chest like a life raft. “It’s a legal paradox. I’m trapped because of the jurisdiction she’s cornered me in. I could talk to the judge, I suppose, but she’ll have picked him carefully.” Her eyes narrow. “The jurisdiction. Hey, Bob.” She lets go of the duct and floats free, hair streaming out behind her like a cometary halo. “How do I go about getting myself a new jurisdiction?” Monica grins. “I seem to recall the traditional way was to grab yourself some land and set yourself up as king;

Eventually (and after having traveled for nearly 2 years) the imam finally makes catches up with her in her throne room. Although she, through a series of excellent business decisions, has grown well beyond his jurisdiction she still gives him an audience and listens to him politely, one judge to another and largely for her own amusement:

It’s Sadeq’s turn to shrug, uncomfortably. “I have prepared a judgment,” he says slowly.

“Ah.” Amber rotates the huge diamond ring around her finger. Then she looks him in the eye, a trifle nervously. Although what he could possibly do to make her comply with any decree — “To summarize: Her motive is polluted,” Sadeq says shortly.

  • Yes, so she founds the Imperium, but observes the lawsuit anyway. That's my question: "'Okay.' She nods, then turns away, steps behind him with a swish of skirts, and he unfreezes time again as they snap back into place within the larger universe, just in time to see the respected visitor serve the queen with a class-action lawsuit, and the Queen respond by referring adjudication to trial by combat." Jul 31, 2014 at 21:29
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    @MackTuesday - In the absence of any ability to enforce the lawsuit, she entertains it. Basically for her own amusement as far as I can tell
    – Valorum
    Jul 31, 2014 at 21:32
  • "(flown in specially for the occasion)" ... actually, the Imam was there by coincidence.
    – Stephen C
    Oct 23, 2022 at 10:06

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