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Karl Schroeder

Karl Schroeder was born in 1962, grew up in Manitoba, and moved to Toronto in 1986 to pursue his writing career. He became a founding member of SF Canada and served as its president for two terms. His first published novel, The Claus Effect, was published in 1997. He lives with his wife and daughter in East Toronto and divides his time between writing fiction and consulting in the area of Strategic Foresight. Learn more at Karl Schroeder’s blog.

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Virga

Virga — (2006-2012) Publisher: 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…

Virga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of CandesceVirga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of CandesceVirga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of CandesceVirga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of CandesceVirga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of CandesceVirga 1. Sun of Suns 2. Queen of Candesce 3. Pirate Sun 4. The Sunless Countries 5. Ashes of Candesce, The Hero

Sun of Suns: Virga is a marvelous creation

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Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder

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 VIR... Read More

Queen of Candesce: Characterization is better in this sequel

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Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder

“I’m someone infinitely more capable than a mere heir to a backward nation on this backward little wheel.”

Warning: This review contains a minor spoiler for Sun of Suns, the previous volume in the VIRGA series, but the same spoiler is in the publisher’s blurb for the book, so maybe it’s not really a spoiler after all.

Queen of Candesce is the second book in Karl Schroeder’s VIRGA series. It’s been four years since I read the first book, Sun of Suns, so I don’t remember all of the details of that story, but I do vividly recall the fascinating wo... Read More

Pirate Sun: Wants to be a movie

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Pirate Sun by Karl Schroeder

Warning: Review contains minor spoilers for the first two books, though nothing not mentioned in the publisher’s blurb.

Pirate Sun is the third book in Karl Schroeder’s VIRGA series. You probably don’t need to read the previous two books (Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce) to enjoy Pirate Sun, but the story will make a little more sense if you do. In Sun of Suns we learned of Virga, the huge balloon like structure near the star Vega that contains its own little universe with man-made suns and planets that are often constructed of metal, gears, and cables in a wild steampunk style. Virga’s inhabitants don’t realiz... Read More

The Sunless Countries: Introduces a new heroine

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The Sunless Countries by Karl Schroeder

The Sunless Countries is the fourth book in Karl Schroeder’s VIRGA series. This book introduces a new town (inside Virga) and a new protagonist. There are explanations of what’s gone on before, so you don’t have to read the first three VIRGA books (Sun of Suns, Queen of Candesce, Pirate Sun) first, but you’ll probably feel more at home if you do.

Our new heroine is Dr. Leal Maspeth, a tutor in the history department at the university on the wheel/town of Sere. Sere is compiled of several spinning wheels and it has no sun. Its citizens’ only sources of light are the artificial lamps they use. That’s why Leal g... Read More

Lockstep: Great premise, disappointing execution

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Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

I’m starting to feel like a broken record (Google it kids) here the past month or so, having had the same general reaction to a long run of books now — “good premise, flawed execution.” The latest perpetrator is Lockstep, a new YA space opera by Karl Schroeder, who has come up with a wonderfully engaging premise and setting, but has failed to create that same sense of engagement with regard to the characters and plot.

Way back in time in the Lockstep universe, Earth was controlled by the super-rich. In order to escape that highly stratified world, Toby McGonigal’s family buys Sedna (a real recently discovered trans-Neptunian planetoid smaller than Pluto’s moon) and sets up an independent colony. While there, Toby, the eldest child, is sent to claim one of Sedna’s moon’s and accidentally goes into suspended animation, on... Read More

Magazine Monday: Forever Magazine, Issues 1-3

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Forever Magazine is a new venture by Neil Clarke, editor of the esteemed Clarkesworld. He explains in the introduction to the first issue of the magazine that it is a monthly publication focused on previously published works, mostly from this (still new) century. Clarke is the entire staff of the magazine. The Kindle subscription price is currently $1.99 per month.

The first issue opens extremely well, with a novelette by Ken Liu, “The Regular,” about a serial killer who targets high-end prostitutes. Ruth is a f... Read More

METAtropolis: It’s just maybe something that sucks a little less

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METAtropolis edited by John Scalzi

It’s not a utopia. It’s just maybe something that sucks a little less.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and it turns out that all those eco-freaks were right all along. We humans destroyed the planet and now we’ve got to live with the mess we’ve made. Many world governments, including the U.S., have been essentially dismantled and large, mostly independent and self-governing city-states have taken their place.

Under the direction of John Scalzi, the story authors — Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Read More

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction: Packed full of excellent SF stories

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Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is packed full of excellent science fiction stories. I've been reading anthologies lately, partly to improve my own short story writing, and this is the best I've found so far. It contains stories by authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Catherynne M. ValenteJohn Scalzi, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Read More