Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lady of Mazes” as Want to Read:
Lady of Mazes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lady of Mazes

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  602 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Karl Schroeder is one of the new stars of hard SF. His novels, Ventus and Permanence, have established him as a new force in the field. Now he extends his reach into Larry Niven territory, returning to the same distant future in which Ventus was set, but employing a broader canvas, to tell the story of Teven Coronal, a ringworld with a huge multiplicity of human civilizati ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lady of Mazes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lady of Mazes

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,596)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Bryan Alexander
Apr 15, 2015 Bryan Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, space-opera
What a richly inventive novel this is. Lady of Mazes is most of all about ideas, the concepts coming quickly and piled on top of each other.

To describe the plot is really to do the novel an injustice. Well, if I must, I'd say it's a kind of travel narrative in a far future solar system, where virtual reality plays a central role. The protagonist, Livia, sees terrible things happen to her home and world, so sets off to address them.

Where does she go? Livia travels between ringworlds. By flung ho
Sep 12, 2010 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Huge ideas drive this book. Action and character much less so, however, and appear sometimes only incidentally.

But the ideas are vast and mind-boggling, and come fast enough to keep any reader wondering if they really know what Karl Schroeder is trying to say, so despite flaws it's still recommended to read.

Why was I disappointed? I read the back cover and found out that this book takes place on a Ringworld. Sounds cool, I thought, and I went into the book bringing my version of reality with me.
Jan 21, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's rare that a prequel is not only better than the original, but also completely stands alone to the point you don't need to have read the other book. Lady of Mazes is one such book. Although set in the universe of Ventus and hundreds of years before, although the antagonist (to use the word loosely) is the same, the main characters and setting are completely different.

Livia Kodalay's world, hidden from the rest of humanity to chart its own path, has been invaded and everything she knows is be
Aug 02, 2013 Meek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hay un detalle en Facebook que hace que la gente se sienta poderosa. Cuando no queremos saber nada mas de alguien, simplemente lo borramos. Ese poder hace creer a muchos que esa persona en realidad desaparece. El poder sobre la vida y la muerte...virtual, a la distancia de un click. Como si con eso anularamos una existencia solo por el hecho de que no "encaja" con nosotros. En cierto sentido lo apartamos de "nuestro" mundo, aunque el siga vivito y coleando por alli.

Ahora imaginense que eso se tr
Ursula Pflug
Oct 13, 2011 Ursula Pflug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The following review ran in Strange Horizons:

Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder
Reviewed by Ursula Pflug
27 March 2006

Nanotech, for those few who might have missed it, is a rapidly developing technology which could make it possible to create absolutely anything by manipulating matter on the molecular level with the help of robotic assemblers, or nanobots, so small as to be invisible. Nanotech is often touted (as, of course, prior technologies have been as well) as potentially bringing a final end t
Chris Scala
I'm debating on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. Normally I'd plow through something this short and accessibly written in a day or two, but I kept finding myself putting this book down to do something else.

I had several issues, but foremost was the fact that for a novel that was billed as "hard sf" on the cover it was remarkably short on science and incredibly long on buzzwords and tropes. You could replace the Artificial Intelligences with Gods or Demons, the 'manifolds' and 'narratives'
May 14, 2014 Nell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jon Nelson
I don't really know what to think about this one. On the one hand, it's an example of that rarer breed of sci-fi novels that genuinely engages serious philosophical issues in a groundbreaking way.

The world of Lady of Mazes is one in which technology has advanced to the point that it enables a kind of fractured postmodern world in which people with different values and interests can inhabit the same spaces but experience radically different versions of reality, where even the (apparent) laws of p
Erik Buchanan
I'm afraid this one and I did not get off to a good start. It was apparent very quickly that there were multiple realities in the book, but it was not apparent to me very quickly why I should care about the people in them.

The story did develop into something worth finishing and I recommend it if you want an excellent vision of a post-reality reality, where humans live is virtual worlds of their own creating, and a very unique take on how humanity can fight for its own destiny.

I just could have
Belle (Corazón de Papel)
Un libro bastante complejo, tanto en la historia como en el lenguaje. Supongo que esto se debe principalmente al género literario al cual pertenece, ya que el autor, además de crear un mundo totalmente nuevo y futurista, también se encarga de crear nuevas palabras, asi como nuevos significados para estas.

Acerca de la historia debo confesar, que la primera mitad es bastante tediosa y aún creo que hubo muchas cosas innecesarias que no aportaban nada al desarrollo de la trama, pero por suerte ya en
Sep 03, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book . The story starts off on the vast ringworld of Teven Coronal . located in the Lethe Nebula, an enigmatic region of space beyond Jupiter. We meet the Hero of the story Livia Kodaly, a young musician and singer of Westerhaven. Westerhaven ia a manifold each manifold has a culture unto itself, with a unique history, mythology and technology. The manifolds are enabled by programmable matter and neural implants that give access to the virtual realities of "ins cape," where ...more
Nov 08, 2008 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into this book, mostly because I only had a few minutes each day that I could devote to reading, so it was difficult to understand what was going on just because I would forget what had gone before.

But the central concept of the book was very interesting, and unlike a lot of SF concept books, the writing was done well enough, avoiding most of the stilted prose and long explications on the technology that some 'ideas' SF falls into. The central idea is that humanity has
Jun 09, 2012 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
Livia Kodaly lives on a ringworld called Teven Coronal somewhere in the vicinity of Jupiter and, like everybody else on Teven, neither knows nor cares about the wider solar system. This all changes when outsiders come into her world in preparation for an invasion that could change the face of the entire solar system.

This book is a prequel to Ventus, although there is almost no overlap between them, this showing the birth of the rogue AI 3340 that was the focus of Ventus. The book aims, like its
May 31, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This came out in 2005, and I described it then as "The-Future-as-Livejournal". (If I'd been hipper I would have said "Friendster"; younger, "Facebook".) Pick your social network, the principle still applies. The people of Teven Coronal can filter their realities: select friends and family and scenery and technology, and live the lives that they choose. Then evil invaders start knocking down the walls.

The Archipelago, the civilization beyond Teven's horizons, has picked up a bit more res
Feb 23, 2009 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
I could not put this book down. After reading the Virga books (or at least two of the three, and the library put me on a waiting list for the third) I needed more Karl Schroeder, so I picked this one up.

That was an excellent decision. Lady of Mazes is as captivating as the Virga books, but take place in an entirely different world. And because that's the way Schroeder does things, this world is as detailed and realistic as Virga. And the adventure is just as thrilling.

In an odd note that's boun
Grady McCallie
Livia Kodaly lives in a ring world on the edge of the solar system in a far future in which 'reality' consists of a virtual reality that is superimposed on the physical world. The physics are a little sketchy, but that's beside the point; the conceit takes the notion that for each of us, our sense of reality is socially and culturally constructed, and makes it true on the level of the senses, not just on the level of mind. Livia's world comes under attack by a force that wants everyone to share ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2015 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great work of scifi, breaking down the way technology affects our experience of reality. although photography has nothing to do with this book, reading this work made me see selfies and shared photos in a different light. The characters were also dynamic and perfectly flawed. I fell in love with the world Schroeder created here, one that is not too far-fetched for the future of humanity.
Oct 25, 2007 korty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
High concept far future SF. This is a standalone story set in the same universe as his first 2 novels Ventus (amazing) and Permanence (pretty good). The setting is an artificial ring world where societies are arranged according to AI mediated worldviews, where members see only what they agree to see and anything else can be filtered out of their vision. This story concerns what happens to these societies when a powerful outside entity invades and forces them to experience existence from a differ ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Cera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three stars because it was so dense that I had to keep rereading sections and even at the end I didn't feel like I had a really good grasp on some parts of the world and the characters. It might go up to four stars upon reread, though, because it really was a fascinating book about how technology creates reality. Schroeder seems to be arguing that while there _is_ an objective reality, nobody can possibly experience it, because both technology and biology shape our perceptions. So what does that ...more
Althea Ann
Jul 26, 2012 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schroeder is a fairly recent discovery for me. (Why is it that I tend to love Canadian SF authors? Do I have some sort of deep-seated genetic affinity?) I haven't read everything by him yet, but I've liked everything I've read so far. 'Lady of Mazes; is admittedly not my favorite selection by him so far, but I still quite liked it. It reminded me of Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder books - but better.

It took a while for me to get into it. The multi-layered virtual reality these characters live in
Bring your attention and penchant for philosophical implications of technology correlating with identity with you when reading this book(through narrative levels in any possible direction, I mean, structurally, temporally, formally, through language, through connections with physicality and culture, I don't even KNOW dear god there's so many things you can take out from this if you want to).
Toma Chicerman
Lady of Mazes is in some ways a trial run of the Virga books in my opinion. Thematically, it touches on the same ideas of a technological plateau, emergent systems, and technology's effect on the kind of life humans can live. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, in Virga we never see what life outside of Candesce's tech cancelling field looks like and this book does exactly that.
My one disappointment is that the characters are somewhat weaker - Livia is no Venera Fanning, that's for sure.

Dec 23, 2013 Caroline marked it as shelved  ·  review of another edition
Midpoint review as I'm not sure I'll make it to the end. I like the ideas and the subject matter - first SF author I've read who is tackling current reality (or VR, or AR), and I appreciate the issues he is trying to raise (what is real anyway?). But I think he bit off more than he could chew: he fudges over the science/mechanics and many of the concepts, inserts clunky paragraphs in places to explain what's going on, doesn't really develop the plot or characters... Every time I think of stoppin ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts off slow; or, more accurately, it starts off with a bunch of people and situations I wasn't that interested in. But once it takes off in the second half, and some familiar characters from "Ventus" appear, it gets pretty good. As with Ventus, this book raises some interesting philosophical questions, here about the nature of creativity and satisfaction. However, the characters were not as interesting to me as those in Ventus, and while a number of the details of this future human society w ...more
Rich Mcallister
Nov 02, 2014 Rich Mcallister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2014
Forgot to review this when I finished it. Better than Permanence, hit the creepiness of delegating one's sensorium to a computational intermediary. Couldn't quite figure out the politics, though.
Sep 27, 2013 Roger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand it tackles subjects other authors spend multiple books covering. What does it mean to be human - in this case in highly virtualized world. Note you won't see either of those words in print.

I kept thinking "oh this reminds me of..." Amber series by Zelazny or Canopus in Argos. Or Ringworld

This book is described as hard SciFi. There is hardly any Sci at all in it. We are far enough into the future where the tech is ubiquitus and out of site. T
Dec 09, 2014 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is set in a far future where advanced technology is pretty much indistinguishable from magic (to steal a phrase from Arthur C Clarke). I found it difficult to follow - too many unexplained concepts and plot shifts helped along by "weird science" for my taste. It's a lot closer to fantasy than hard SF, which I prefer.
Mar 10, 2015 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this today and will come back to write more later. Very ambitious. Really the story focuses on the idea of technology and its ability to break down barriers between different cultures/societies and homogenize people through the use of "families" of technology. The story was clunky and lacked strong characters (besides the main character Livia) and a engaging plot. I just really liked the concept and how technology and progress had become this homogenizing force that was destroying ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Johann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time. Very hard Sci-fi that carries a ring of truth and immediacy that is compelling. Do you wonder what the future of the world is once we have completely given or selves to virtuality? This book has that answer and is a glimpse into idealogies that are present in today's culture that seen from a different light takes on more ghastly appearances. Revealing, intriguing and innovative. A must read for the hard sci-fi fan and humanitarian for or against the age of v ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 53 54 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Shelter
  • Up Against It
  • The House of the Kzinti (Man-Kzin Wars)
  • Beginning Operations: A Sector General Omnibus (Sector General, #1-3)
  • Transit to Scorpio (Dray Prescot, #1) (Delian Cycle, #1)
  • A Grey Moon Over China
  • Sunborn (Chaos Chronicles, #4)
  • Planets of Adventure
  • David Falkayn: Star Trader (Technic Civilization 2)
  • Contact with Chaos (Freehold, #4)
  • The Hub: Dangerous Territory (The Hub)
  • Warlock
  • Ragamuffin (Xenowealth, #2)
  • The Dark Beyond the Stars
  • Warlord (Raj Whitehall, #1-2)
  • Second Genesis
  • Star Corps (The Legacy Trilogy, #1)
  • Marrow (Marrow, #1)
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...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »