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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  354 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Young Rue Cassels of the Cycler Compact -- a civilization based around remote brown dwarf stars -- is running for her life from her bullying brother, Jentry, who has stolen her family inheritance and threatens to sell her into slavery. Fleeing in a shuttle spacecraft from the sparsely populated and austere comet-mining habitat she has lived in her whole life, she spots a d...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published March 14th 2003 by Tor Books (first published 2002)
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Daniel Roy
I'm sorry to say, I couldn't bring myself to finish this one. The ideas behind the novel are somewhat interesting; not fascinating, just enough to make you go 'Hmm.' Once you marvel at the civilization Schroeder built around brown dwarfs, all you're left with is a poor plot that is childish and amateur.

There's something annoyingly artificial about the way the characters are written. They go along with mad ideas just because the plot requires a crew for the protagonist's quest. The events that li...more
Bruce Sanders
This is a modestly hard sci-fi book. The setting, worlds orbiting brown dwarfs, is ingenious with some good realistic and creative attention to detail. There is an interesting adventure with both action and intrigue though there is maybe a little too much contrivance in setting up the heroine's travails. The protagonist and some of her close associates are quite interesting. The villains are from the "lit" worlds (stars) and represent a government that exploits the "halo" worlds associated with...more
This book took a while to get into, but into it we did done got. Er. I've always felt that the best science fiction isn't about the technology, the aliens, or the general freedom it gives to authors to just make up stuff they think is neat. Those stories work only with readers who share the fantasies that the author is playing out. Great science fiction is about people. The speculative aspect of science fiction allows the author to give relevance to an idea that would be entirely abstract in rea...more
I was surprised at how good this was! It's got some very believable alien and space environments together with some novel ideas about humans interacting with aliens and the ultimate destiny of humans in space. The characters felt realistic and I cared about what happened to them. I must admit to finding the basic plot inherently interesting (it's kind of like Rendezvous with Rama but bigger in scope and with more action).

For some reason I found this hard to read quickly, but it was still engagin...more
Randy Mcdonald
I bought this book a decade ago, after hearing quite a bit of fuss written about it. Already, it has managed to influence many other science fiction universes, with its concentration on brown dwarfs and their planetary systems and the human cultures which have sprung up on their worlds. Read Simon Bisson’s excellent review.

evildrganymede is livejournal’s local expert on brown dwarfs, published and everything, so he can correct me. Briefly put, brown dwarfs are star-like objects which lack suffic...more
Timothy Finucane

This book is a top notch sci-fi read, blending new ideas with a classic feel, and has immediately catapulted Karl Schroeder into my favorite authors list. This book falls into the category of hard sci-fi, but with interesting characters, a well thought out story, and some philosophy thrown in for good measure.

The scientific concepts that are integrated into the setting offer a look at some of the more recent ideas about what exists between solar systems, from Kuiper Belt objects to Brown Dwarfs

Permanence is a good ol' star-spanning sci-fi epic, dealing in interplanetary politics, with civilizations hanging in the balance. I enjoyed spending time with the main characters, each likable in their own way, though some of the side characters were underdeveloped, leaving me occasionally confused about who people were. Also confusing was a lot of the technology and terminology, which is not explained before being used. What is an "inscape window", "high space", etc? Eventually these are expla...more
There are a lot of instances in this book where events would abruptly happen that the author did poorly to prepare the reader for, or significant events that are mentioned only briefly that should have gotten more description. Not being able to properly view the novel from the point of view of a first time reader is the hallmark of a first novel, in this case it's Schroeder's second- and I think it's the fault of the editor as much as the writer.

The biggest example here is to have a magic scienc...more
Non mais dites donc ! Si Ventus, son précédent roman était pas mal, il m'avait laissé un goût d'incomplet, ou plutôt un côté pas complètement éclairci (1). Heureusement pour moi, ça n'est vraiment pas le cas de ce roman, qu'on peut tout de suite placer dans la catégorie des très, très bons romans.
Mais reprenons du commencement. Dans ce roman, on suit d'abord les aventures de Rue Cassels, une jeune femme qui, par un jeu de circonstances de l'ordre de l'extraordinaire (2), se retrouve en possessi...more
Nov 07, 2009 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
There's aspects of this book that if someone told me it as a concept, I would probably react negatively to it and never read it. Mistake. Big mistake. Schroeder takes this plot and characters and weaves a really good tale out of it. It's not "high fiction", but it doesn't pretend to be. It is a solid, well-planned and executed story about a technology and civilization that exists for these characters to populate, suffer and succeed in.

This book makes the author someone who I want to keep in mind...more
Good read. It offers action and intrigue and secrets that turn out to be believable but still world shaking. I have a bit of a problem with some of the conclusions of the book, but that might just be me.
This was a solid and enjoyable sf novel, with nifty ideas and decent characters and an interesting plot. I didn't enjoy it as much as Ventus because the science was not as much the type I am interested in -- lots of physics of space travel -- but I really love Schroeder's interest in future culture & religion. He's the first hard sf author I've come across in a long time who takes those aspects as seriously as the crunchy details of terraforming and ship mechanics, and it makes his books a j...more
Sarah Williams
I enjoyed Permanence's overall story, and really loved the world-building of this novel. However, I found the characters and their motivations to be a bit flat. Though the novel covers a relatively long period of time, relationships seem to develop too quickly/easily and obstacles are overcome too smoothly. Also, because of the story's time-jumps, character behaviors felt inconsistent at times; a lot of character development occurred off-screen, which leaves the reader seeing just a character's...more
The central idea of the book — that a "slow" (sub-lightspeed) civilization might live among near-invisible brown dwarfs which heavily populate the gap between the "lit" stars —is intriguing, but it doesn't pan out to a great read. I'm a hard scifi junkie, though, so take that with a grain of salt; while I think I've realized that Schroeder's work just isn't hard enough for my taste, the quality of his writing on other levels is excellent and will probably appeal to those who enjoy softer (i.e.,...more
I couldn't finish this one so I stopped midway through. Maybe I will come back to it later!
Robert Runte
Oct 31, 2009 Robert Runte rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF
Recommended to Robert by: reading all books by author
Shelves: canadian-sf-f
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of this book. Fast paced adventure has subtext about our economy and microtransations that has completely changed the way I look the world around me -- I seriously cannot use an ATM machine without getting angry after reading this novel. It reads like SF, but it is a thorough-going critique of capitalism gone wrong. And the universe he is building in this novel, along with his other works, really makes one think about implications of social netwo...more
I thought Permanence had a shaky start, mostly because the dialogue and some of the descriptive passages fell a bit flat. Really liked a couple of the Big Ideas and the narrative arc, though - Rue, the protagonist, is strong without being entirely one-dimensional or ridiculous, which is rare among the SF penned by men that I've read.

Recommended for SF enthusiasts and people who like thinking about what it would take to build human civilizations beyond Earth with (mostly) conceivable technology.
My first Schroeder book! Maybe he wasn't as good at developing characters, but the world he created, the history he detailed, the conflict he introduced? I was hooked from the first few chapters, curious to know how things would work out, and my imagination was working like crazy figuring out details about the new civilizations he described! Um, I loved it :)
I read this for my SciFi book club. There are a lot of great ideas in this book, enough for several books. Unfortuneately, almost none of them are well explored, some only getting a brief mention before moving on. The character development is almost non-existant. The plot is ok, but uneven and jumpy - you can't tell how much time has elapsed between scenes, etc.
Full of fascinating concepts and thought provoking alieness and philosophy that doesn't drown out a good story and a lovely bit of romance. Liked it. This one found its way onto my shelf via Curt's choice and I am very glad it did. Four out of five for Mr. Schroeder.
An excellent story with really intelligent discussions along the way about science and evolution. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I must say as a middle-aged man, I tire of all the youthful characters learning about the world that inhabit science fiction.
Karl Schroeder has some of the most unique ideas in SF, this book in particular presented ideas about evolution, economics, and technology that blew my wind. I meant to type 'mind' there, but I thought that was an awesome typo.
Jan 14, 2010 Elisabeth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Started this as a library book and ran out of time to read it... love Schroeders space civilization concepts. This didn't grab me as much as the Virga series has but its on my to-do list to finish all the same.
Good modern science fiction that also reminds me of good classic sf. It starts like a Heinlein juvenile and touches on some of the neatest ideas in the impact of evolution on tool using species.
Hard SF with a side order of philosophy. Aliens viewed at a distance, Humanity viewed all to close. Engaging, not overwhelming, action plays out over several star systems.
This book is a masterpiece, Schroeder deftly combines philosophy, hard sci-fi, excellent characters and a deep plot to create one of the best novels out there.
Kaylee Vogt
Rue de Cassal's character was inspiring. I strive to be loyal and persevere as she did. I even named my cat after her.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Oct 23, 2012 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides marked it as maybe-read-sometime  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by:
Interesting start, interesting ideas, but ... it ended up feeling a little dry and emotionally disconnected.
Ben, en fait, c'est pas si souvent qu'on suit unE héroïne en SF. Et j'aime bien ça !
Josée Coulombe
Pas trop impressionnée, scénario faible, mais cela se laisse tout de même.
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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...
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