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Sun of Suns

Sun of Suns

Written by Karl Schroeder

Narrated by Joyce Irvine


Sun of Suns

Written by Karl Schroeder

Narrated by Joyce Irvine

ratings:
3.5/5 (18 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 10, 2008
ISBN:
9781427205872
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 10, 2008
ISBN:
9781427205872
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

KARL SCHROEDER is a professional futurist as well as one of Canada's most popular science fiction and fantasy authors. He divides his time between writing and conducting workshops and speaking on the potential impacts of science and technology on society. He is the author of The Million, as well as a half-dozen previous SF novels.


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Reviews

What people think about Sun of Suns

3.6
18 ratings / 17 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    The premise: Hayden Griffin is out for revenge. His parents were part of a Resistance on Aerie and Aerie was building its own sun. The far more powerful Slipstream wouldn't hear of that, and destroyed the sun and everything with it. An orphaned Hayden decides to kill the man responsible for the murder of his parents. Only after enmeshing himself in the Slipstream and Admiral Fanning's household, Hayden becomes part of a bigger plot that doesn't just endanger Aerie, but the entire Slipstream as well. Sun of Suns is a story of high action and adventure, including pirates, treasure, artificial suns, and civilizations that live inside a giant air bubble (I'm SO not describing that well) called the Virga. My RatingGive It Away: for readers who want more character than action in their space opera, this book isn't going to fit the bill. However, I would recommend this book to readers who want something different out of their space opera, those who want settings that aren't of the usual plant-ship variety. Schroeder has a gift of creating impossible settings, so those SF readers who really sink their teeth into that sort of thing (and don't mind high action), definitely check this out. Fans of Tobias Buckell's action and thorough world-building should definitely check this out. The full review (which doesn't include anything that could be a spoiler but does include the mass-market paperback cover) may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.REVIEW: Karl Schroeder's SUN OF SUNSHappy Reading! :)
  • (2/5)
    It was okay. I found it very unforgiving if you didn't know things ahead of time.

    For example, the book was recommended to me so I never read the blurb about the book. Within a page or two I got really confused. Turns out the "world" was the inside of a balloon the size of a planet.

    I know a couple of times I had to go back pages to check if i missed something.

    That being said, they had some interesting overarching stories that were eventually reveled. I don't think I'd recommend the book to anyone, but i wouldn't discourage anyone who was interested. It just wasn't for me.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (2/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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
  • (5/5)
    The author is so imaginative and makes it all work!! The woman reading this does an excellent job!
  • (4/5)
    The real strength in this book is the absolutely vivid world: wooden airships do battle in the mists of a sunless sky, pirates and treasure maps, and solid adventure. The characters are a little on the one-dimensional side, and the writing style is sometimes annoying, but it's a short book and totally worth the ride if you're looking for just a simple little adventure book. This is a great little book, and the great beginning to a new series.
  • (4/5)
    Imagine this, if you will; a 5000-kilometer balloon, floating in space. Countless nations, made of rings that produce centrifugal gravity, surviving within that balloon, relying on local suns. The larger nations have their own sun, but smaller states rely on others for their survival. On one hand, we have technology so advanced and such an extensive mastery of physics that one could not even imagine how this world could ever be plausible. On the other, we have wooden ships, archaic weapons and swashbucklers reminiscent of the 18th century.Virga. This is the world Karl Schroeder has introduced me to. From the very first pages, the reader is simply amazed at how detailed Virga is, how amazingly complex it seems. Virga is simply gripping.Sun of Suns follows Hayden Griffin of Aerie, one of the principalities of Slipstream. His parents have been murdered, and he's bent on revenge. However, he gets involved in a plot to recover the lost treasure of Virga, and joins forces with the man he wants to kill, Admiral Chaison Fanning. Unfortunately, the plot is an overused cliché. Fortunately for Schroeder, it works.How the author approaches the world and its characters raises questions which are answered in the following novels, Queen of Candesce and Pirate Sun, despite all the detail. On the other hand, what I found dissappointing was the lack of development of the protagonist. Schroeder has many opportunities to delve in this paradoxal character, which has massive potential, yet doesn't do so. It seems the author was as guarded about Hayden as Hayden was himself. As a result, readers sympathize more with support characters, such as Chaison and Venera Fanning, which are much more developed and entertaining.Maybe this was Schroeder's intention?
  • (5/5)
    My synopsis of the Virga Series:In the fullerene balloon world Virga, forests and seas float in free fall, and nations grow up around “town wheels” cobbled together from wood, rope, and metal, each producing different levels of gravity according to their spin, as well as a dazzling variety of people. Critical to the cultures and power structures of most of these nations are artificial suns, and at the heart of Virga is the “sun of suns”, Candesce. As the series progresses, readers will be drawn into the plots and intrigues of a host of vivid characters, including would-be assassin turned hero Hayden Griffin and the irrepressibly scheming anti-heroine Venera Fanning — not to mention pirates, fanatics, and revolutionaries — and treated to a masterfully constructed world of steampunk technology and breathtaking action. Add to this the sinister threat beyond the icy skin of Virga where legendary creatures may hold the secrets to the origins of the world itself, and you have one uniquely swashbuckling space opera.My review of the series: The first two books are definitely the best, and as others have noted, inspiration by Niven's "Integral Trees" is pretty obvious. But I think anyone who is seeking non-stop action will enjoy the whole series, and it's the sort of fascinating world that makes you want to continue reading despite any character flaws you might come across (and yes, there are a few). Ironically, I had a long bout of vertigo while I was reading this series; to this day, I still don't know how much of it was exacerbated by all the whacked out gravity environments...
  • (4/5)
    Imagine a balloon circling a distant star. Imagine this balloon is thousands of miles in diameter.Imagine that within this balloon there are societies clustered around fusion-powered miniature suns, all floating in the atmosphere within this balloon. Societies, polities, nations existing in low gravity who sail the skies on ships and bicycles of a mostly steampunk level of technology. A world of action, adventure, and swashbuckling goodness.Welcome to Virga!Sun of Suns introduces this audacious and awesome setting created by its author, Karl Schroeder (who I previously enjoyed his Lady of Mazes). Virga is sui generis as a setting, and Schroeder has carefully constructed his world to tell the kind of stories he wants. (There are good reasons why technology, aside from the fusion suns, technology is low, reasons that are revealed in the novel).Clearly influenced by Dumas-like fiction, Sun of Suns is the first in a series of novels set in Virga. Sun of Suns tells the story of Hayden Griffin. His family was killed in an attempt to free his nation of Aerie from dominance by the nation of Slipstream, and he has sworn revenge and to continue his parents work to free Aerie. Events cause him, however, to join to an attempt by a small fleet from Slipstream to follow a map that may lead to a treasure beyond price that will give a decisive advantage over its own deadly rivals.Rivals that are no friends of Aerie, either...Ships and bicycles that sail the skies. Nations and pirates. Sword duels and pistols. I am reminded of a lower tech milieu of the Disney movie Treasure Planet, except everything is contained within this balloon. We get hints of what the universe is like of this clearly artificial world, and are introduced to a character exiled from that outside world into Virga. From Hayden Griffin's desire for revenge, to Admiral Fanning's quest for a decisive edge for Slipstream, to his wife,Venera Fanning, who has an obsession with a bullet wound from years ago, to the mysterious armorer from beyond Virga, Aubri McMallan, not only is the novel a rollicking adventure with flying ships, it also has larger-than-life characters appropriate to the setting.My only complaint, perhaps is that Sun of Suns is a bit too short. Still, that only means that I will *definitely* be reading more of the three additional novels Schroeder has written in this amazing world.If you are the type of fantasy and SF reader who enjoys Dumas-style action and adventure in addition to your SF fix, hoist sail and get thee a copy of Sun of Suns. You won't regret it.
  • (4/5)
    Imagine a world in which there is no gravity and yet there is still air. How would such a world come into existence? This book is set in the distant future in which a giant bag of air has been built in space, with an artificial sun in the middle. Nations are built on wheels that are spun to create gravity. As a boy, Hayden Griffin, witnesses his mother's death at the hands of an enemy nation. He vows to kill his mother's killer, but as he attempts to get close, he is swept along onto a military vessel that's mission is a secret ploy to defeat an even more powerful enemy nation that threatens them all.The story is a lot of fun, with lots of rollicking low-gravity sword fights. The world building is very interesting and the characters are sympathetic and three-dimensional. Despite all this, something was lacking. I can't put my finger on exactly what it was, and it would be going too far to say that the story fell flat, but for some reason this didn't quite do it for me. A good story, but definitely put-downable.
  • (2/5)
    Great world-building in this, and like the rest of the Tor downloads, part of a larger series. Damn them. Instead of a world of land, with people on the skin, this world is air, with a skin keeping everyone in. There is a lot of really inventive use of gravity. And farming! Low-gravity farming, omigod. The gravity stuff is fascinating. The cities have their own "suns" to light and warm their homes. There are pirates and betrayal and little or no electricity, because most electrical stuff doesn't work? Fun, fun, fun.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story of a galaxy in miniature created in a giant balloon. 5000 miles in radius, the balloon Virgas, holds hundreds of civilizations around a central internal "sun" called Candense. There are smaller ancillary suns floating in the outer reaches of the balloon also.This is a story of a groups hunt for a treasure, for a way to save their local civilization, for anothers way to destroy the same, and finally a persons need to disable Candense and open Virga to attack.There is lots going on here and the book it exciting and well paced. Pirate attacks, deceptions, double crosses, cold blooded murder, and romance are there for the reading.My only problem was the ending. Seems as though the author reached hise word count and just cut off the story. A little more neatness was need.All in all a very good book I would recommend to anyone.
  • (2/5)
    Got about 50 pages in and gave up on this one. I just can’t read one more Luke Skywalker story, at least at this point in my life. I really can’t get myself to give a shit about some poor adolescent in a backwater town, even if it’s floating somehow in a huge bag of gas in space. Not interested, no thanks, I’ll pass. Mr. Schroeder’s flame has gone out already, alas.
  • (4/5)
    I like the setting of this immense artificial environment and Schroeder gets enough plot into this one short novel for a whole trilogy, particularly when he starts letting his readers on to the bigger game that he's playing.What's a little problematic is that you have to get almost a third of the way into the book before you're really acclimatized to the reality you're reading about, as it's all so disorienting. I can see how some readers might not have the patience to do so.Also off-putting at the start is the character of Hayden Griffin, who I gather one is supposed to care about. The problem for me is that too many real-life quiet loners with lethal missions have made it difficult for me to care about one in a novel. Hayden does rise above his seeming level, but it takes awhile. It's thus fortunate that one has the character of Verena Fanning, embittered survivor and high-ranking noblewoman to fill in the gap. She does capture one's imagination from the very start and holds the reader's attention while the threads of the story are woven together.That I don't rate this novel a little higher is that I'm waiting to see if Schroeder can keep up the level of inventiveness he's shown, or whether he's already pretty much shot his bolt.
  • (3/5)
    There's only a few hard science fiction writers I can stand to read. Schroeder is one. First, because he's writing about something really different; in the case of Suns, "different" means floating freefall cities built around nuclear-reactor suns, making for a truly bizarre but well-grounded set of societies. Second, and more importantly, because Schroeder performs that oft-forgotten but all-important step of putting actual people in his techno-dreams. And people, moreover, that I like. Gregory Benford, I hope you're taking notes.Aside from the floating cities, the wild battles, and the woman wounded by a bullet fired in some unknown war millions of miles away (freefall! Nothin' to stop it movin'!), Schroeder also fascinates me with his... I suppose it's best described as a conflicted attitude towards AI. It's not the first time it's come up in his work -- you can see edges of it in Ventus and it's a strong undercurrent in Lady of Mazes. Schroeder seems to take the position that people in his future need to be protected from the all-powerful AIs, not because the AIs are hostile, but because the AIs can do and be everything... and thus there is no particular need for humans to do or be anything.It's not a world-view I agree is an inevitable consequence of true AI, and certainly not one I would care to write about, but it's fascinating to watch Schroeder exploring all the consequences.At any rate, aside from the techno-dream and the good characters, this is also a whizz-bang great bloody fun adventure story. If you've been looking for your sensawunda, I suggest you look for it here.
  • (5/5)
    Science fiction adventure in an exotic megastructure: a vast, air-filled bubble named Virga, lit by miniature suns. (The society in Virga has gotten to an early twentieth-century tech level, which is an interesting contrast to Niven's The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring.) There's a posthuman world outside the bubble that apparently has some major flaws, but we've only caught glimpses of it as yet.