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Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder
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Sun of Suns (2007)

by Karl Schroeder

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6432515,030 (3.48)24
  1. 00
    The Integral Trees by Larry Niven (KingRat)
    KingRat: Sun and Suns (and the two other Virga books), like The Integral Trees (and The Smoke Ring) explores a weightless world made of air.
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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Schroeder's vividly imagined fullerene balloon-world of floating rocks and mechanical suns is waaaaay too cool for the pock-marked plot and 2d characters which populate it. A savage ending saves it from being one-star. ( )
1 vote apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
Societies and cities are formed around artificial suns floating in space. The main character's family and town are all destroyed when their attempt to create their own sun--and thus break free of the overly controlling government--is discovered. The main character then seeks revenge. The main idea is an interesting one, but I just couldn't get into the narrative. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This was the first book I've read by Karl Schroeder, and it was a pleasant discovery - I liked it well enough that I've already picked up a couple of other books by him. It's exciting sci-fi adventure with an unusual setting that reminded me a little of Flash Gordon (the movie). Virga is a bubble-like world, filled with floating cities and towns heated and lit by artificial suns. Settlements' wandering paths often take them into each other's way, causing political conflict. Hayden Griffin's life has been formed by such a conflict - his people, from the tiny nation of Aerie, perished in a rebellion against a larger nation, and he has been bent on revenge for years... but when he finally infiltrates the inner coterie of the powerful Fanning family, whom he believes to be his enemies, what he learns besets him with doubt. And when he meets a woman who says she is from outside Virga, and tells him strange things about the Universe outside Haydn's world, he realizes much more may be at stake than the future of Aerie ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I actually started this book twice. The first time I got hopelessly lost in the first chapter so put it down. The 2nd time, I stuck it out until the world and setting made sense. This took a little bit of effort, but if you can make it past that initial hiccup with a foreign world, and their measures of space, etc, it is actually quite an engaging story.

I will likely read more in the series, but they will be lower down on my reading list because, well, there is not really a cliff-hanger here that requires you to pick up the next book. Maybe we are supposed to care about the characters and want to find out what happens to them, but... I don't think they are strong enough, or distinct enough, that we really care. I almost hate to admit it, but it happened more than once that I got Vanera Fanning mixed up with Hayden's love interest. - Oh, and where did that come from anyway?... until the love interest occured, I was sure Hayden was 16... I even attempted to do math to figure out his age.

The part I did like about the book was the world/reality they inhabit and how it interacts with the "outside" world, and what this outside world actually is. And what Virga is, and why... you get my drift? It was the hard components of the science fiction and not Schroeder's attempt to write characters that made this story worth reading. ( )
  crazybatcow | May 28, 2014 |
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

Hayden Griffin is out for revenge. When he was a boy, the nation of Slipstream attacked his little home world of Aerie. Hayden’s parents had just managed to build a sun for Aerie so their world could be independent of Slipstream, but the more powerful nation attacked before Aerie could escape. Both of Hayden’s parents were killed. Years later, Hayden knows it was Admiral Chaison Fanning, the Admiral of Slipstream’s space fleet, who ordered the massacre, so Hayden plans to insinuate himself into the admiral’s household so he can get close enough to kill him. What he doesn’t know is how ruthless Venera Fanning, the Admiral’s wife, can be. When Venera discovers another nation’s plot against Slipstream, Hayden gets caught in the middle.

Sun of Suns, a “hard” SF novel, is the first book in Karl Schroeder’s VIRGA series. By far the best thing about Sun of Suns is the world-building. Virga is a marvelous creation — a huge balloon in space where humans have created their own suns and planets that float around inside. Anyone who has the knowledge and ability to create a sun can start his own civilization, but he’ll need to have a lot of resources and know some physics because there is no natural gravitational force in Virga — it has to be created by spinning the cities with centrifuges. Gravity is inconsistent, then, and on some worlds it may be denied to the lower classes. Civilizations can also be carved into lakes of water or attached to the inside wall of the balloon.

People and spaceships fly through the air of Virga, trying to avoid the rafts of junk that accumulate, and the cold dark areas called “Winter” where icebergs float and no sun shines for hundreds of miles. The people of Virga are unaware of anything outside of their balloon, though we get hints from another character about what is beyond — a universe of artificial engines that rule over humans who don’t remember their own science and technology. Candesce, Virga’s Sun (the sun of suns) disrupts artificial nature, so if the engines ever plan to rule Virga, they’ll have to take out its sun.

The characterization in Sun of Suns suffers a bit compared to the world-building. The female characters are especially shallow, but I’m sure that wasn’t Schroeder’s intention. I think he meant for them to be strong, but instead they come across as unlikely and unlikeable. He does better with Hayden and Chaison, though both men make some really stupid decisions. The plot is mostly exciting, but sometimes obscured by confusing action sequences or implausible occurrences, though I found myself willing to suspend disbelief because I liked Virga so much.

I listened to MacMillan Audio’s version of Sun of Suns, which I got free at Audible during one of their promotions. Joyce Irvine reads it competently, but I was puzzled at MacMillan Audio’s choice of an older-sounding female to narrate a book whose main protagonist is a young man. This bothered me some, but not enough to keep me from reading the next book, if I do, in audio format. Other readers may feel differently and should probably listen to the sample of Sun of Suns at Amazon or Audible before choosing the audio version.

I liked Sun of Suns well enough that I will try the second book, Queen of Candesce, if I find it on sale at Audible. I would have been more eager to read book two if featured Hayden as the main character, but judging from the description, it features Venera Fanning (which may be why a female narrator was chosen) and, though I look forward to spending more time in Virga, I don’t really want to hang out with her. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Hayden Griffin was plucking a fish when the gravity bell rang.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765354535, Mass Market Paperback)

It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He's come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden's nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden's spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn't bode well for Fanning's chances.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for centripetal gravity." "Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He's come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden's nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden's spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn't bode well for Fanning's chances."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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