on 7 November 2015
Ashes of Candesce brings the Virga series to a satisfying grand finale and reveals enough about “Artificial Nature” to explain the events of the complete story. One of the features of the Virga series is that whilst the series tells one hugely complex story, the mood of the individual books differ. Thus whilst the previous volume, The Sunless Countries, was humorously centred on the follies of human politics, Ashes of Candesce combines a battle of four fleets of wooden warships sailing in zero gravity with a discussion of the dangers of virtual life, perhaps vaguely inspired by Christian writings on the problem of evil, and an application of Gödel's incompleteness theorems to quantum gravity.
My only regret, apart from the fact that there are no more volumes, is that nobody AFAIK has produced an index or Wikia to help one follow all the threads of one of the most complex SF stories written. For example, I realised at the end that I had no idea what had happened to Eustace Loll. Perhaps some fans could be encouraged to produce something.
on 8 July 2013
Having followed this unique, ground-breaking series from the beginning, this is both a sad and a happy ending. It is happy in the sense that the twisting, complex plot finally comes to an end, tying up neatly all the various threads, both at the personal level on up to the universal. It is sad in the sense that this ground-breaking "steam punk space opera", set in a far future scenario in a giant balloon, is over. There is nothing like it now. Something truly original has been lost.
on 3 October 2012
I know, I know, how can I review this without reading it.
I'd *like* to read it, I really would, but I do all my reading on my Kindle these days. It may surprise you to know that it's available in the US on Kindle, but don't try and look there from a UK IP address - Amazon hides that fact from you (why so sneaky, Amazon?). If you have Tunnel Bear or another proxy/VPN based in the States you can see it, though. Sadly you still can't buy it if you (and your Kindle) are registered as being in the UK.
Given this is a new publication, I can't comprehend why this isn't available as an ebook too. Two stars, and it would have been one if the first four books hadn't been so damned good.
[Note: if/when Ashes of Candesce appears as an ebook on these benighted shores, I'll happily amend this review. Until then, sorry Karl - but you really need to have a word with your publishers. If necessary using a stout stick.]