Palimpsest is the last story of Wireless, a collection of short stories by Charles Stross. Janos recommended Stross. In fact he did more than that, he presented me with a plastic bag filled with sci-fi books, one of which was Wireless!
But back to Palimpsest. It's a novella, and really could be turned into a novel. It was genuinely new and interesting. I loved the scale of it all. Awesome.