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Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga (Virga #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,680 ratings  ·  170 reviews
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 fri
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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I stayed firmly on the fence with this book. I can't decide what I would rate it, somewhere between 2.5 -3.0 stars would be about right. I don't know what genre I would stick it in, scif/steampunk perhaps. Probably not. Imagine if you will, Honor Harrington meeting up with the Integral Trees, then this is somewhat like what you'd get, without the character development.

The world building is odd, in as much as there is none. You are fed tiny little snippets of info about what the world is, which i
May 25, 2008 Belarius rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Enjoy Adventure, Blue Rogues
Recommended to Belarius by: Malgas
Schroeder's Sun of Suns bears the trappings of hard science fiction, but in reality it belongs to a much older genre: "Adventure." Like great popular works of yestercentury (such as Treasure Island or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea), Sun of Suns takes a compelling premise and applies continuous leverage to the plot. On the short side, I finished Sun of Suns in one sitting precisely because I couldn't put it down.

The story is set in an extremely unusual setting: a planet-sized bubble of
I finished it because it was reasonably short and I wanted to see if it would redeem itself with its ending, but rarely have I been so let down by such a well-reviewed and hyped new science fiction book ("Outrageously brilliant and not to be missed" says one magazine, with additional blurbs from Vernor Vinge, Larry Niven, and Cory Doctorow). Weak writing, hackneyed plot, uninteresting cardboard characters all the way through. The world-building is pretty cool(~steampunk-level tech in a 3000km-di ...more
Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

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
Michael Burnam-fink
Sun of Suns is a perfect alignment of plot and setting. Schroeder wanted to write something in the vein of steampunk or space opera: sword fights on exploding battlecruisers, glittering 'civilized' cities and dank pirate hideaways, heroics and sacrifice and revenge written across the sky. A lesser author would just say 'screw realism' and do it: Schroeder actually does the world building to make it work.

Enter Virga, a 5000 mile bubble of air orbiting Vega, hemmed in by a shell of ice and light f
Normally, by the time I finish a book I have an idea of what I want to say. Or I've made a few notes along the way to help facilitate my final thoughts and opinions. With Sun of Sun's I find I'm struggling with what to say, so I'm going to be a bit more methodical in my review.

World setting - Virga is an absolutely fascinating setting. A "planet" of air, with a central mechanical "sun" called Candence. Smaller cities can build their own suns and live out in "winter", which are areas far enough
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This novel certainly has a very cool and well imagined setting. A hollow sphere the size of a small planet, filled with air. In the center is Candesce, a fusion powered artificial sun. Dotted around the place are lesser artificial suns. Around the suns low G human civilizations cluster for warmth, building giant wooden wheels to create their own gravity strongly tainted by coriolis force. Weather systems are logical extensions of the environment, with convective currents driving everything from ...more
Interesting premise. The known world is actually the inside of a planet sized balloon, called Virga. (I love the word, virga.) From that setup, everything else obeys real science laws. Towns are built on the insides of centrifugal (centripetal?) wheels or cylinders that spin to provide gravity. Several wheels can be tied together to make larger a urban area. Heat to run the weather of Virga is produced by the "Sun of Suns," Candesce, at the core of the planet. But that produces a lot of clouds w ...more
To be completely honest, it was the cover art that really attracted me to this series. I have not read any other of Karl Schroeder’s novels in the past, so I wasn’t sure to expect. The cover art is misleading though, it shows what looks like cool metal spaceships but in this world only flying wooden ships exist. Beside that minor issue, Mr. Schroeder is able to successfully blend Sci-Fi and Fantasy together in a high adventure that will be sure to please fans of both genres.

The one item you hear
Oh man, this was a head trip.

Imagine a hollow planet, filled with nothing but air. No gravity, only floating bubbles of water and drifting landmasses. Everyone lives in wooden towns that spin for gravity, huddled around artificial suns with on-off switches. It's easy to say it's steampunk, but that cheapens it. This is something very different.

It's a really awesome and weird setting, and it will confuse the hell out of you for the first hundred pages. Heck, just the very alien nature of the set
The world of Virga (a bunch of floating cities inside a gigantic balloon in space) makes for some interesting world-building (spinning cities, homemade suns, spherical lakes) but the characters are flat and unengaging and the story is only so-so. There are some nice visual moments, of the battles (naval engagements in space, except there's air so people can just fly around if they want), and how people move and interact when they have atmosphere but no (inherent) gravity.

But my main problem is
Aug 11, 2007 Justin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone remotely interested in fantastic worlds, amazing characters, fast-paced action.
Shelves: favorites
This book is beyond awesome--it's the best SF I've read since Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. Amazing world building and super creative imagery. Quick and to the point action packed space opera that only gets faster and more detailed as the story winds it's way into a supernova finale. I can't wait for the sequal.
Cool world...huge enclosed bubble of air without fixed landmasses, people can float or fly, cities are elaborate spinning constructions heated by fusion 'suns', lots of extrapolated biology. But, the characters just weren't appealing to me; the story didn't grab me.
Awhile ago, Disney did an adaptation of "Treasure Island" that was, like it''s source material, filled with pirates, treasure maps, and wooden sailing ships that were, contrary to all logic, the spaceships. "Treasure Planet" required more than just a suspension of disbelief, it required you to take your disbelief out into the woods, kill it, and bury it in a shallow grave. Schroeder has taken the same concept, but has given it a slightly more logical foundation to build upon. Instead of the cold ...more
Zachary Jernigan
Wanted to like it, but the writing didn't excite me and the narrative struck me as way too coming-of-age-ish. I'm already too old for coming of age.
Got tired of trying to read it put it down early. Like all steam punk, it's pretty with great ideas, but not much substance.
Steve Wasling
What an incredible work of imagination and atmospheric (no pun intended) world-building this amazing novel is! Set in the very far future, Sun of Suns is far future science-fiction wearing a high seas fantasy pirate costume.

A vast bubble of air around an artificial sun that inhibits advanced technology, Virga is a world of zero gravity whose inhabitants construct (among many other wonders) massive timber 'town wheels' which they spin up using gas powered rockets to create gravity. Scavenging cas
This book is one of the most amazing sci fi fantasy books I've ever read! Imagine someplace in space there is a floating orb, filled with gases, some land, water and energy. Virga (this floating orb in space) has thousands of civilizations, as it seems to be the size of the moon or even earth in dimension. Its a beautiful concept, and I wasn't bored once in "Sun of Suns", though it does get a little 'game of thrones' confusing with all the characters. Try it out if you want a good weekend read.
Apr 27, 2009 Sueij rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sueij by: Scott (& Nicola's Erin)
An interesting story in a new universe, and reasonably worth the read.

One of the things I liked best was that the author didn't start off with huge amounts of expository writing to settle you into this new universe. Instead you just read about space ships using speaking tubes inside and semaphores to communicate with other ships, and people standing on the outside of the ships (i.e. not in a space suit). Only when it made sense in the story to say it did we come to understand that this world is
Paul Weimer
Imagine a balloon circling a distant star.

Imagine this balloon is thousands of miles in diameter.

Imagine that within this balloon there are societies clustered around fusion-powered miniature suns, all floating in the atmosphere within this balloon. Societies, polities, nations existing in low gravity who sail the skies on ships and bicycles of a mostly steampunk level of technology. A world of action, adventure, and swashbuckling goodness.

Welcome to Virga!

Sun of Suns introduces this audacious
Rick Hamell
Great world building along with character growth and fast pacing delivery make a great story in Karl Schroeder's Sun of Suns.

It's been a long time since science fiction has captivated me the way that Sun of Suns has done. Usually I go to the fantasy realm to get good world building, but this book pulled me in from the beginning. The entire book I kept wondering if the world that this was set in actually followed Newtonian physics or not. The way the natural sciences of the world were introduced
M.A. Kropp
A few years ago, Tor made some of their back catalog available for download as .pdf files.I don't recall how many I got before they stopped, but it was a good list. The problem has always been that I really don't like reading on the computer, so they have sat in a folder. I got a Kindle for Christmas this past year, so I have finally got around to reading some of these. Sun of Suns is one of these downloads. It is also the first book I've read that can be classed as steampunk.

The setting is a wo
This is an excellent sci-fi book with a steampunk feel to it. The story itself is very much swashbuckling fights between air pirates and explorers trying to find a lost treasure. The story is great, action-packed, and full of enjoyable moments between a cast of nobles and rogues. I am a little bothered by the ending, as this is clearly a setup for the next book with no resolution for two of the three main characters. There are a lot of lead ups and development for their story arcs, but I feel a ...more
This is a high-energy tale of swashbuckling naval adventure, pirates, treasure, and swordplay.

Except it takes place in the far future, inside a giant balloon that's been sealed to cut out the outside world. Inside, there's very little gravity, so cities are built like wheels, and have to spin to create centripetal force. The ships float in the air, and are like baroque, steampunk airships, but there are also fast motorcycle-type vehicles that use the force of air to power them.

There is a central
Althea Ann
This was the first book I've read by Karl Schroeder, and it was a pleasant discovery - I liked it well enough that I've already picked up a couple of other books by him. It's exciting sci-fi adventure with an unusual setting that reminded me a little of Flash Gordon (the movie). Virga is a bubble-like world, filled with floating cities and towns heated and lit by artificial suns. Settlements' wandering paths often take them into each other's way, causing political conflict. Hayden Griffin's life ...more
Bardzo fajny setting, który jest najmocniejszą stroną powieści. Jest oryginalnie, bo nie dostajemy po raz kolejny przestrzeni kosmicznej, planet i latającego wokół nich tałatajstwa. W pewnym sensie jest to podobna koncepcja, ale jednak nie. Tutaj mamy do czynienia z Virgą - wielkim balonem wypełnionym powietrzem, w którym żyją ludzie - zamiast planet spotkamy tam dryfujące skały i kule wody oraz drewniane miasta-państwa. Świat dzieli się na ciepłe i zdatne do życia obszary oświetlane światłem sz ...more
Scott Marlowe
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder starts out flat out hard to understand. Not the writing, or the language, or even the plot (though it does take a while to fully unfold). It's the world itself that took me way too long to comprehend. The setting is a sort of blend of science fiction and steampunk and takes place on a planet called Virga. Maybe 'planet' is the wrong word. The description on Amazon defines Virga as a "planet-sized balloon", which is about right now that I think about it. But that fac ...more
Lianne Burwell
Sun of Suns is the first book in a trilogy that is part of the Virga series, which has five books (so far), and it works better as a thought experiment than a story for me.

Virga is an artificially created world that is a large sphere of breathable air with an artificial sun (Candesce) at its heart

and smaller artificial suns providing heat and light to various nations within the Virga space. Nations are made up of

towns built of wood in a series of wheels that spin to create gravity (I pictured
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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...
Queen of Candesce (Virga, #2) Ventus Pirate Sun (Virga, #3) Lockstep Lady of Mazes

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“He spun in clear air, weightless again but traveling too fast to breathe the air that tore past his lips. As his vision darkened he turned and saw bike number two impact the side of the battleship, crumpling its hull and spreading a mushroom of flame that lit a name painted on the metal hull: Arrogance.” 0 likes
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