The Sky People (Lords of Creation, #1)
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The Sky People (The Lords of Creation #1)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,115 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published (first published 2001)
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Wendell Adams
What if Mars and Venus had been living worlds just like ours?

And what if humans discovered this at the start of the Cold War space race?

Would the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. still squabble over the Korean Peninsula and Vietnam, or would they set there sites and space rockets toward a more lofty goal?

And once that race began what would they have found on these other worlds and how did it get there?

These are some of the questions that S.M. Stirling poses here, and he does a great job of making this interp...more
An Odd1
***** "The Sky People" are explorers from Earth, on the first two nearby American and Russian settlements in an alternate 1988. S.M. Stirling creates a heroic space-western style adventure, with ambiguity of motivations to show humans/ aliens may be not strictly evil. Colorful vivid Venus has dangerous predators, including prehistoric giants - dinosaurs, sabretooths, flyers. A 1960s probe finds two kinds of humanoids, smelly dirty Neanderthals who drive away clean pretty hunters from their ances...more
Duffy Pratt
More and more, I'm thinking of Stirling as a guy who makes mediocre books out of really cool ideas. Here, an alien race terraformed Venus and Mars a couple of million years ago. It made a kind of zoo out of Venus, populating it with all sorts of Earth critters, and then setting up a sentinel for observation. This race, apparently, is so advanced that it can go to the trouble of terraforming an entire planet, and then just leave it alone without seeming to use it for anything.

That premise is the...more
Mar 24, 2008 Roger rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of old-school SF
This book and its sequel, In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, are based on a brilliant premise I wish I had thought of myself. The premise is that, in an alternate-history universe, Mars and Venus are inhabited worlds like they were in the science fiction stories of the first half of the 20th century, with nods to Burroughs, Bradbury, Brackett, and the rest.

Stirling combines these now-obsolete images of our neighbor planets with a realistic sense of what things were like on Earth--the developme...more
Apr 29, 2008 Troy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Troy by: Kris Johnson
The Sky People starts out with an interesting concept, that Venus and Mars are inhabitable planets and teaming with life. I liked the alternate history view of space exploration by the US and Russians to explore these new worlds in the 1980s . It makes you think about what kind of space exploration really could have been done by now if we hadn't wasted 30 years messing around with the space shuttle...
But I am only giving this book 2 stars because by the middle of the book the plot, for me, start...more
Sep 19, 2008 Hotspur rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Burroughs, Moorcock, Wells
Imagine the Cold War transposed over Edgar Rice Burroughs, Larry Niven and a little bit H.G. Wells, and you have the milieu of the SKY PEOPLE. I'll be honest, I have never been very impressed with Stirling's work in the past-- they start off well, for the most part, but he has (historically, in my experience) dove into some fairly cheesy directions, possibly because he thought that was what his (mostly male) audience wanted (start a Draka novel some time, you'll see.. you'lllll seeeeeeeee). Stil...more
May 28, 2008 Kenneth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys the pulp SF of old.
Great premise, blah execution. The idea of extending the space race in an alternative future in which Mars and Venus are habitable, pulp-style worlds is a great one, but the book lacked the sense of adventure and wonder I was hoping for. The book seemed to struggle to adjust to its own premise, not sure if it wanted to embrace pulp or hard sf, and ended up failing at both. It was an ok read, but not an inspired one.
Riss Smith
Once you accept that this is written in an alternate reality where mars and venus aren't the hostile-to-life planets we know they are, and agree to suspend disbelief in that regard, this book is really good. S.M. Stirling is a great author to begin with, and I absolutely loved the Emberverse series. I'm glad I decided to check this out as well. It had a few parts I found a little drawn out and dry (but they were battles, so I know I'm generally in the minority in finding those scenes boring), bu...more
This one was good, but more space opera to me than Sword and Planet. I liked it but it didn't have the power of "In the Courts of the Crimson Kings."
In a twist on alternate history, mankind explores its neighboring planets and finds thriving civilizations on both Venus and Mars. In this book, a group of human (Terran) scientists are tasked with the exploration and documentation of Venus and its inhabitants (a type of "Prime Directive" is mentioned, but unfortunately not fleshed out enough for me, which is my biggest complaint with the book). The characters are absolute stereotypes, and are not fleshed out beyond their "first impressions." Al...more
The Sky People, by S.M. Stirling. Have to say that I am generally not a very big Stirling fan. I found his Draka Series to be unconformatably close to an attempt to make fascism seem cool, not to mention godawful alternate history. Plus, I don't really care much for his leaden writing style or his cardboard characters. However, in this book, a kind of alternate history homage to old sci-fi pulps, it actually works for him, since we expect two-dimensional, jut-jawed, heaving breasted, real men an...more
This book was an okay adventure in an alternate-world kind of Venus, in which our heroes take an airship across Venus to rescue a downed spacecraft, get stranded themselves, and then must try to make their way back thousands of miles without getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers, raptors, massive dinosaurs of all stripes, huge crocodiles, etc. Not to mention the rampaging Neanderthals and their clubs.

Much of the story unfolds in a very predictable fashion, peopled by characters of only limited d...more
Mouldy Squid
The Sky People is the first of a duology by S. M. Stirling (best known for his Change series). The premise of the novel is rather attractive for fans of the old pulpy days of Science Fiction: that both Mars and Venus are discovered to be just what those old pulpsters envisioned them to be. Anyone familiar with early Science Fiction will know exactly what this means. In The Sky People a tropical Venus is settled by the competing Soviet and American space programs, set in the late 1980s. There the...more
Although written in 2006, "The Sky People" is written in the tradition of Heinlein, Burroughs, and all the pulp sci-fi writers of the 50's and 60's. Just like in the old days, Mars and Venus both have breathable atmospheres and plenty of life, and in the early 80's humans are beginning to visit and colonize.
In the hands of a lesser author - or even a less established one - this could easily have become parody rather than homage, but, unsurprisingly, Stirling pulls it off. It reads like a serious...more
The premise of this book is great: In this alternate timeline, Soviet space probes to Venus in the 1960's discover a teeming ecosystem swarming with a strange mish-mash of earthlike animal life from prehistoric and modern times, along with primitive human societies. The US and the USSR race to be the first nation to explore (and exploit) the newly discovered world.

Unfortunately, the execution of the story does not do the premise justice. The characters are flat and cliched (including the colorfu...more
Chuck's Junk
It sounded fun, and at first it seemed fun, though it occurred to me that book was structured in such a way to be easily envisioned--or adapted?--as a screenplay. Is that cynicism of simply recognition that many readers expect a familiar structure of exposition between increasingly extravagant set pieces? Hard to say.

Stirling spent most of the first half of the novel setting the stage, describing his fictional Venus and explaining the alternate history of his story--Kennedy lived, there was no V...more
H.E. Bergeron
In the vein of the John Carter books, The Sky People is set in a universe where Mars and Venus are simply foreign rather than alien, wildernesses that nevertheless have a breathable atmosphere and edible plant- and animal-life. The story takes place on Venus, where rolling plains and vast jungles are populated by animals that seem to have been assembled from prehistoric Earth: saurian behemoths, sabertoothed mammals, and intelligent, if primitive, bipeds that seem stunningly similar to humans (r...more
Okay, I really really wanted to like this book. I've heard such good things about this author, but honestly? I just don't get what all the hype is about. I'm interested in what's going on, sure, but I don't find any of it to be all that special.

The first problem is ALL THE CLICHE. Maybe some people don't see it that way? But two of the main characters dreaming about each other is so overdone; possibly this comes from my strong background in pure fantasy, but that part just plain had me rolling m...more
The Sky People by S.M. Stirling is an interesting new novel, with a somewhat old-time feel. The Sky People takes place on a very different planet Venus than we know exists today.

During the 1950's, astronomers believed they saw canals on Mars, and concluded they were the work of alien civilizations. The Sky People draws on that assumption and rewrites history to show that Venus is truly a sister-world of Earth, filled with wild animals and species that died-out on Earth, such as dinosaurs, Neand...more
Sep 29, 2010 Phoenixfalls rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who think SF has gone downhill since Edgar Rice Burroughs' days.
A peculiar book, throwback to the science fiction of the 20s. The first half reads exactly like an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, except that the women can fight for themselves. They don't, usually, but you as a reader are supposed to understand that they can and respect them accordingly. The characters are also prettily multicultural - a Cajun, a black woman from the Bronx, an Englishman (though there is a twist there) and a Russian - but Stirling has a tin ear for dialect and differentiates betwe...more
This series is set in an alternate history where Mars and Venus were found teeming with life by spaceprobes in the 1960s. A space race ensued to set up bases on the planets. Interestingly, the superpowers spent so much on space that no major wars were fought on Earth after the Korean War. The action starts on Venus in 1988. Marc Vitrac is one of the researchers living there. It is very much a frontier life among the lush and extremely varied flora and fauna. After some initial setup, Marc and a...more
Oswego Public Library District
The Sky People is S.M. Stirling’s fast-paced, alternative history of the Space Race. After discovering Venus and Mars have life, the Eastbloc and the United States establish living areas on Venus. The Eastbloc’s Cosmograd and the United States’ Jamestown extraterrestrial zones harbor earth-life while the astronauts and scientists are researching the strange planet. Life on Venus is eerily similar to life on Earth – dinosauriods can be seen among space mammals that look genetically similar to ear...more

In a word, 'irritating'. Not necessarily _bad_; no, in fact I had moments of genuine interest and curiosity of a sort that I imagine was rather endemic to readers of the pulp classics of the heyday of prewar Sci-Fi. And indeed, the premise was certainly enough to keep me reading, if for no other reason than to see how Stirling was going to have it all shake out in the end.
But, good grief was it a gripe-worthy journey to that conclusion!
I'm an 80s-baby, many of the cooler ideas behind this work...more
Apr 16, 2008 Manuel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of science fiction
This is the first book I've read by this writer. I know he is better known for his sci-fi series set in the North Western US dealing with the end of civiliztion.

Basically I was just looking for something not too heavy to read while I sit at the pool.

Yes I liked this book even though Im not normally a fan of alternative history. Basically its a story very much in the style of 50s pulp sci-fi. It imagines a universe where life has been discovered on both Venus and Mars.

The book describes the ten...more
Dec 10, 2009 Jesse rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of pulp Sci-fi and Hard Science Fiction
Recommended to Jesse by: My Eyes
Take the Venus of the pulps with all its adventurous glory, and add the backing of "hard Sci-fi", and you've got this book in a nutshell. Its a little of everything: Alternative history, space exploration, pulp adventures, even some military sci-fi.

This is my first S.M. Stirling book, and already he has made a big impression on me. The concept sounds a bit corny, to mix hard science fiction with pulp Sci-fi yet this man pulls it off in spades. Each chapter opens up with an entry in this worlds f...more
CV Rick
This is a serviceable pulp sci-fi adventure book in the golden age mold of the genre. It reads like Burroughs or Hubbard with a cookie-cutter cast of interplanetary colonizers discovering a new and vibrant world within our own solar system. Dangers are avoided, challenges met, and secrets revealed. The good guy wins, gets the girl, and extends the grand designs of American expansion beyond our shores - beyond our atmosphere - for the good of all mankind.

There's a bit of sarcasm in what I wrote,...more
Believe everything you read about this book, if everything you read is a good, positive review. Stirling has crafted an old school style Sci-fi tale which reminds me of plenty of old favorites. Such as, De Camp, Carter, Pangborn and a personal favorite, Jack Vance. (Although the sequel, Court of the Crimson King is very reminiscent of Vance.)

Looking for some inspiration for your Sci-fi rpg, this could be what you're looking for.
This shan't be my favorite book this year, but it was an entertaining read. I enjoyed the character interactions for the most part, and the way that the author made a consistent and fairly believable world within his AU scenario. Besides, there is a certain "rule of cool" factor to being able to tame giant wolves and ride on triceratops! ;) The Sky People doesn't get my unconditional recommendation--I know some of the content would bother some of my friends more than others--but I found it basic...more
Hali Sowle
A modern return to the pulp days of sci-fi with wonderful overtones of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In a not so alternative universe Venus and Mars have atmospheres and civilizations, but there is a mystery - how come the things that live there resemble earth flora and fauna so well? Stirling serves us up a story full of dinosaurs and humans co-existing (although very much not peacefully) on Venus with all the cold war tensions of the middle 1900's the book appears to be set in a 70's and 80's time per...more
Set in 1988 on Venus, but written in 2006, this book has zeppelins, dinosaurs, aliens, neanderthals, saber-toothed tigers, space ships, weapons, a giant wolf companion, a lot of action and a little romance. I am so glad that S.M.Stirling undertook to write a book like this-- a nod to early sci-fi when Venus and Mars still held life, like Edgar Rice Burroughs' Princess of Mars.

The only downside of this book was that, while the action and dialogue were entrancing, for some reason the setting desc...more
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Stephen Michael Stirling is a French-born Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author. Stirling is probably best known for his Draka series of alternate history novels and the more recent time travel/alternate history Nantucket series and Emberverse series.

More about S.M. Stirling...
Dies the Fire (Emberverse, #1) The Protector's War (Emberverse, #2) A Meeting at Corvallis (Emberverse, #3) Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket, #1) The Sunrise Lands (Emberverse, #4)

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