Recently read Rajaniemi's Summerland and Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit, two books which feature magical/technological systems which forcefully shape society and even reality. Ninefox Gambit especially, it has this system which is at the intersection of mathematics and common beliefs, created by what people believe in and in turn changes reality where the people exist. And there are many other recent books with a similar theme.

What's with reality-affecting belief systems? I have a theory: since 2008 market crash, and the panic surrounding it, the relationship with one very basic building block of reality has been nervous and shaky. Economy, money. If that's not a magical system directly affecting people's lives, I don't know what is. It's closer to a god than most other things humankind has come up with. It is an invisible force which gives us plenty of undeniable good. I would not be writing this thing here, well-fed and well-clothed, on a fancy machine precision-built from rare metals sourced from all around the world, if we were living in a hunter-gatherer society with no concept of money – complex systems of trade which make our lifestyle possible just are not possible without money and the many layers of meta-money and derivatives building on top of each other. (As an aside, I'm really irritated with myself that I understand so little of how economy actually works. It's difficult to make sense of the world without having a good grasp how money moves around and what forces rule it. But every time I read a book on economy and money policy, it seems to jump directly from plain obviousness "people want to acquire necessitates they don't have" to cryptic formulas "(Zt=p)+i x t, where Z is the national gross production and t is the interest rate" and my mind starts to wander and suddenly I want to clean the oven or write  a short story or learn hindi, as if understanding economy was something best avoided, like sticking one's hand in a dark hole in the ground. Rationally I find it important and interesting field of stuy, but emotionally it's the opposite. I think this whole fiction writing thing got started when one summer I decided to tackle basic books on economy, borrowed a pile of them from library, and then got hit by a strong urge to write sf romance stories I'd like to read myself. Great way to confuse myself from the original plan, brain!)

But back to where was I… Economy in a very concrete way also punishes people, smiting them down, really hurting them and to at least third generation if not longer. It does not exist in the physical world, not since the invention of debt, and these days hardly at all,and yet it has such a profound effect on _everything_. Up to and including causing the conditions for and hindering any attempts to stop the end of the world. To understand our relationship to this moody and untrustworthy god, fiction has to be written. To accept that we are at the mercy of a system we have created ourselves, for better or for worse. Maybe to remind ourselves of the absurdity of the situation. Perhaps to view this system from the outside, to see if there are ways to change its course? But is this useful line of thought? Is our economy an all-or-nothing deal? Could we cherry-pick just the good and not the bad? I have no idea. I hope someone who has actually read through all the economy textbooks comes up with an answer. Preferably soon.