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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  662 ratings  ·  68 reviews
After terrifying and titanic struggles, a godlike artificial intelligence gone rogue has finally been destroyed. But not before it scattered seeds of itself throughout the galaxy.

On the terraformed planet Ventus, benign AIs -- the godlike Winds – which shaped and guarded its transformation, have fallen silent. Calandria May is sent down to the surface where she quickly fin
ebook, 672 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,382)
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Inventive, original, and thoughtful, this is one of the better science fiction books I've read in quite a while. An unusual combination of hard science in the trappings of the kind of adventure fantasy that has largely displaced science fiction from the shelves, it explores a world of sentient nanotechnology that has gone awry.

It was the perfect way to while away a day where I seem to have a touch of flu or something wrong with my inner ear. Highly recommended to anyone who likes a good science
On Ventus the "Winds" are the supreme power.

The book starts off with the common setup of a typical fantasy story, the young hero's journey out into the wide world. The narrative quickly branches out into pure SF territory, revealing the planet's presumed magic forces, the "Winds", as nanotechnology, and incorporates a host of other characters, some of them more transhuman than human.

The storytelling is solid, with minor slumps when most of the characters are chased around the planet, without a c
Jul 24, 2008 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves science fiction.
Shelves: sci-fi-geek
This book has so much awesome between the covers it's hard to rate. It starts off feeling like a fantasy novel, and then suddenly you realize it's hard sci-fi with a whole new way to gauge whether something is artificially intelligent, and it does all this against a backdrop of an interstellar war between two AIs. Schroeder gracefully manages the balancing act of epic-scale science fiction and a more personal tale of self-discovery. Exactly the sort of expectation-shattering stuff that turned me ...more
A traditional fantasy quest (Campbellian) novel with the magic replaced by nano-tech, and a little space opera thrown in for salt. It was a credible addition to either genre, and I found the book enjoyable light reading.
On the planet Ventus, where humans are prohibited from all but the most limited pieces of technology, Jordan Mason lives what he believes is an ordinary life, expecting to eventually inherit his father's stoneworking business. But that all changes when he begins having visions of a distant warrior named Armiger whose army is destroyed for defying the powerful Winds that control and moderate the planet's ground, seas, and atmosphere. Soon, Jordan learns he's also key to finding Armiger, who is th ...more
This is my first Karl Schroeder book, and I enjoyed it.

THE WORLD AND TECHNOLOGY. A thousand years ago, nanotechnology seeds were sent to Ventus. That technology transforms the planet so that is habitable, and that technology was intended to make the world a wonderful place for later settlers. But the intelligences controlling the nanotechnology (the "Winds") ignore the settlers, refuse to do their bidding, and seem to barely tolerate them. The settlers now live in a late-Medieval/pre-industrial
The planet Ventus is a great invention, and is another take on the Zones of Thought or Schroeder's own Virga, where most of the story takes place in bubble of backward medieval technology and social structures and a super high tech post-singularity galaxy hums along in the background but even higher powers prevent much interference from the one in the other. And then the Culture has a roughly Star Trek like non-interference doctrine, and Banks invokes the incredible largeness of the galaxy to ac ...more
D.L. Morrese
I had seen some of Karl Schroeder’s books in the library before, but I never picked one up until now. I’m glad I finally did. This isn’t a great book. There are weak spots. The prose, grammar, and punctuation could be better, but the story is outstanding. This is an imaginative science fiction tale in a seemingly fantasy-like medieval setting. I like this kind of cross-genre mixing and use it in my own stories.
Two investigators from a technologically advanced intergallactic civilization are on V
Oct 05, 2011 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
Ventus by Karl Schroeder at the time of reading I didn’t think had been publish and so I spent the entire book wondering why a publisher had let something this enjoyable get past them. It turns out I was wrong the book has been published but the author released the novel online as a free ebook when his second book was published.

Ventus is a great far future sci-fi novel that manages to combine a nice element of high fantasy. Its set on the world of Ventus terraformed into an Eden like world by a
Jan 19, 2013 Raj rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of hard SF
Recommended to Raj by: Charles Stross
Shelves: sci-fi
I got this book on the recommendation of Charles Stross, and although I downloaded the free 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 ...more
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This book uses the SF concept of nanites (nano-machines) and plays it out to the hilt in the setting of Ventus, a world where every element of the ecology is imbued with some measure of intelligence and communication ability, from the tiniest insects and waves of water that know their own name and place in the world, to the giant mobile machines that control the weather and sustain the ongoing terraforming of Ventus. The genius twist is that, for reasons you discover as the book unfolds, the hum ...more
Somewhere inside of Ventus is a great story waiting for the patient reader to tear it out. But I wasn't that patient reader. Early on, I thought to myself: meh, this is too much like A Fire Upon the Deep... Only it's really not like A Fire Upon the Deep at all (which is a good thing). But it does read too much like a fantasy novel to be "good science fiction". This always grates on me [1] -- it happened with Dune, too -- all that weak quasi-medieval pageantry etc. There is some cool stuff going ...more
This was my first book by this author. I enjoyed it.

It has: faster-than-light travel, nanotechnology, post-humans, self-aware (and existential) artificial intelligences, subdurmal armor, etc. Nothing too outlandish for sci-fi at this point, but *not* hard sci-fi.

The planet Ventus is in the process of being terraformed by nanotechnology. Due to the nature of the planet it will never completely finish. (Without a little help, the planet will revert to a state that is not friendly to human life.)

Althea Ann
This book is available as a free download from the author's website!

from his site:
Ventus is a novel of information apocalypse set in the far future. For a thousand years the sovereign Winds have maintained the delicate ecological balance of the terraformed planet Ventus. Now an alien force threatens to wrest control of the terraforming system away from the Winds...

Jordan Mason, a young tradesman, is thrust into the midst of an ancient galactic conflict when he becomes
This was really excellent hard sf with a delightful mix of human and post-human characters. I don't usually tend to enjoy books that span a wide variety of POV, but Schroeder did a great job of entwining a large number of stories together into a coherent whole and only rarely played his POV-shifts for annoying suspense. More often he would have a character witness or experience something, then shift POV to another character whose own experience or thoughts or emotions reflected meaningfully on t ...more
Ed van der Winden
I liked this book. I liked many of the characters, the world and most of the themes. However, it was just a story, well- told but not something that will linger in my mind for a long time.
The large cast of characters was handled well by the author, but in the end there were a bit too many main characters. In particular there were two characters that were not really needed for the story. Also I think the book would have been better if it had been somewhat shorter. A last point of criticism is th
Teresa O'meara
I started reading this book because I had really enjoyed the Virga series and Lady of Mazes. It was kind of a slog in the beginning but by the last hundred pages I couldn't put it down. I think the pacing is a little slow to begin with but as the world and technology of Ventus is revealed it becomes more and more engrossing with a great climax between the 33400 (which are mentioned in Lady of Mazes so I had some foreknowledge of this mysterious force) the technology of Ventus (self-determining a ...more
Chris Ingram
Quite good take on hard sf, nanotechnology, etc in a setting that manages to be recognizable despite all the weirdness that such technologies allow for.
Also manages to seem relatively up-to-date despite being over a decade old.
Zeta Syanthis
Credit where credit is due. This book is worth the read. Why, you ask? Well, let's see...

The characters span a wide variety of personalities and types, all of them richly backed up by the story. You know who they are, but even more so, *why* they are by the end of the book, and learn those things along with them as they go.

Thalience... damn. I don't even know what to say about this. I'm an engineer myself and AGI is one of my side projects... I've been thinking about many of these things for yea
Jay Michaels
Is it magic, or high-tech science? Schroeder rises to the challenge while gradually uncovering the mystery behind the "magic."

All of his characters change over the course of the novel, while wrestling with their personal hard decisions. A very satisfying read.

I've been reading several series lately (Kevin J. Anderson's "Hellhole," Jeffrey A. Carver's "Chaos Chronicles"), so I was expecting some followup novels to this one. But Schroeder packs away all the loose ends in this stand-alone story,
Oct 04, 2011 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ebook
Best book I've read this year! It's freely available under a creative commons license if you're short on book money, so you've got no excuse to stop reading this and start reading it instead.

The characters are varied and interesting, the background fascinating, and every part of it believable.

The climax is somewhat predictable for LOTR fans, with an Old Testament twist, but doesn't suffer for it.
Maybe I'm reading into it things that weren't there, but that Bible scene influence seems to show up
This was a good read. It reminded me of so many other similar-ish works that I kept thinking I had read it before. I hadn't.

The overall universe (the Archipelago) reminded me strongly of The Culture. The world, plot and characters were all entertaining, with the situation regarding Ventus itself being the most interesting.

I didn't have many issues with this work, although I feel like Arminger, his behavior and the plot around him was predictable and stale for the most part. There were details t
This was a slower read than some of his others, but once it builds up it has an awesome premise. It's hard to really describe, but it has to do with the idea of "thalience", a concept of things and beings existing together in a kind of harmony where they all know what they are and what their purpose is.
Humans first started with magic and superstition, then moved on the religion, then to science, and each of these eventually took over and calcified, becoming more of a hindrance than a help. So, "
Lisa Wilcox
Bit of a tough slog. Schroeder explores some of the intriguing ideas he later developed more expertly in the Virga series, in which he creates an extraordinarily convincing and compelling universe.

As a practitioner of the craft of writing, he seems subject to peculiar lapses in which the characters become abruptly wooden and say and do things inconsistent with who we thought they were. Finally gave up three-quarters of the way through and instead read the deft and amusing The Human Division by
William P.
There's a lot going on here, and a lot of what's here is reiterated in the Virga series, better to my mind, but its still a fun book. My main problem is that it's trying to do too much. When Schroeder focuses down to tell a tight story, like Queen of Candesce, he does amazing stuff. When he's working on his big concepts, he gets a little unfocused. He tells a mean story, and I love his worlds, but there's something lacking. I also felt a bit preached at by the end of the book, and I wasn't reall ...more
I enjoyed Ventus on two different levels. First, several of the characters were very well drawn, so that I found myself wanting to know what happened to them. In at least one case, the character went from hated to loved...a sign of good character development! Second, the world that Schroeder has built in the book is very interesting. The technology level and the implications were interesting to think through, even beyond the confines of the book itself. An enjoyable read, recommended to any futu ...more
Or maybe just ★★.
Ok, so "A Medieval Hero's Journey but it's Actually the Future and Magic is really Sufficiently Advanced Technology" twist is pretty played out by now. Hell, I even created a RPG setting of the sort when I was in middle school. But Karl Schroeder gets over that right quick so he can show you a fantastical little world. The guy is really good at making places I'd like to visit. There's a few little plot oddities, and a handful of editing glitches, but this book hit all my right switches.
Kelly Flanagan
Ventus was a greatly unusual book. The characters portrayed will probably never be written in such a mix of lifeforms again. This is a one of a kind book and I don't want to give any of it away so read it and love it!
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Karl Schroeder is an award-winning Canadian science fiction author. His novels present far-future speculations on topics such as nanotechnology, terraforming, augmented reality and interstellar travel, and have a deeply philosophical streak. One of his concepts, known as thalience, has gained some currency in the artificial intelligence and computer networking communities.
More about Karl Schroeder...
Sun of Suns (Virga, #1) Queen of Candesce (Virga, #2) Pirate Sun (Virga, #3) Lockstep Lady of Mazes

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