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Ventus Mass Market Paperback – 30 Aug 2002


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Press (30 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812576357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812576351
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 3.7 x 16.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,458,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Jordan Mason, on the terraformed planet Venus, has visions. Kidnapped by Calandria May, he is desperate to find the meaning of his visions, desperate enough to call down the Winds that destroy technology to protect the created environment. As a result, he escapes and sets out to find his destiny.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ifty on 14 July 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Karl Schroeder's debut novel is an exciting blend of fast-paced adventure quest, speculative hard-sf dealing with nano-technology and AIs and some intriguing ideas about the intersection of nature, man and technology. This is definitely one of the best sf debuts in the last few years and firmly establishes Schroeder as an SF author to watch. Highly recommended to all SF fans.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First impressions are rather disappointing - it looks like it's going to be a hum-drum fantasy with a sci-fi explanation, and takes a long time to get going, all the while interspersed with some expository sections that make one really worry about whether the plot will be allowed to naturally develop. Thankfully, things improve about a third of the way in, and while the story still doesn't feel fully developed (to be fair it is the author's first book) it does at least become entertaining. Unfortunately you never get a feel for the main characters. In fact, it's a very minor character, one who another editor could well have insisted was cut out, who is the most interesting. The "birth" of a conscious AI and its crisis of confidence is handled deftly, and I wish it had been introduced earlier and had a bigger role to play. Overall, I'm glad I read this, but also glad it was a free download from the author's website. If I'd bought it based on the strength of the author's other work, I'd have felt somewhat cheated.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I got this book on the recommendation of Charles Stross, and although I downloaded the free CC-licenced ebook to my smartphone I wasn't expecting to get to it any time soon. It was only because I finished my paper book while on holiday sooner than I expected that I turned to this. And I was gripped within the first chapter. It starts off very much as a typical fantasy story where the young protagonist is stolen away and ends up on a quest to discover himself, but as the world widens, we discover a very hard SF story.

The world of Ventus was seeded about a thousand years ago by a nanotech seed pod to terraform it. Powerful AIs called Winds oversee this process, but when the settlers finally arrive, they find the Winds refusing to communicate with them. Worse, seeing them as a threat to their ecosystem, they wipe out their technology, reducing them to a pre-industrial civilisation. Fast-forward to the present day, and young Jordan Mason finds himself kidnapped by off-worlders because in his head is a remote sensor placed there by a former slave of the destroyed rogue AI "3340" who wants to take control of the Winds and recreate his former master.

The scope of the world building is tremendous, from the Archipelago of human worlds to the immensely intricate world of Ventus itself. The idea of a completely artificial world, where nanotechnology is in everything but where everything could also be out to get you is a powerful one. Jordan is a good everyman character through whose eyes it's fascinating to see the world, and to see him grow as the story progresses.

The other really interesting character for me, is Queen Galas - a monarch with remarkably progressive views, who tries to make radical changes in her nation, thus sparking off a civil war with the establishment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read it and all I can remember was that early on the author's obvious talents gave me the impression this was going to be quite a book - but that it wasn't. Read Walter Jon Williams' "Aristoi" for a much better book that uses the same ideas - and many more - to much greater effect.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave on 25 April 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book on the offchance, didn't really know what to expect. Luckily for me it turned out to be one of the better books I've read this year. Finished it a week or so ago but I still have enough enthusiasm to write a review.

The characters are pretty well written, they handle situations in a realistic fashion (most of the time anyway) and are still memorable. There is plenty of good SF tech in the story which is gradually discovered by Jordan as he goes though the story.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that reads SF and I would say that it compares very well with other books I have read recently. There are some nice big ideas and it's well executed.
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