I think this novel came out in the 2000s. There are many cultures that live close together but are very different, for example some pretend to be pre-industrial. One of the main characters is a youth who grew up in a pretend pre-industrial society and is now exploring the rest of the solar system? ring-world?

Each culture experiences their own reality that is defined by a ruleset. One of the rulesets becomes aggressively self-propagating and this is the problem that drives the plot.

At some point a tumbling house, just a normal house, is used to travel across space.

1 Answer 1


Based on this review, I think this is Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder. The review mentions multiple cultures in the same space, but kept separate:

the venue is an AI-built ringworld near Jupiter, called Teven Coronal. Schroeder foresees a future in which entire realities—"manifolds"—inhabit the same physical space, and where there is little delineation remaining between the experience of the real and the experience of the virtual. The cultures of each manifold are kept discrete from one another by tech locks, the implications of which give the book its philosophical underpinning. The book's heroine, Livia Kodaly, is a diplomat between these virtual worlds.

And it also mentions a flying house:

Livia and Aaron are somewhat less feeble than those around them and take it upon themselves, along with Qiingi, to leave their ringworld in a flying house (which I want), to go to the neighbouring Archipelago and endeavour to discover the nature of the invasion and whether or not it can be stopped.

  • That was it, thank you.
    – seamunster
    Jul 11, 2015 at 15:29

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