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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,087 ratings  ·  103 reviews

Ventus is a large-scale hard SF adventure novel in the tradition of Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, and Arthur C. Clarke. Karl Schroeder, a physicist and writer, is a winner of Canada's Aurora Award. His novel The Claus Effect, written in collaboration with David Nickle, was called the best first fantasy of the year by Science Fiction Chronicle, and now his first SF novel launc

Kindle Edition, 485 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,087 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, sci-fi, fantasy
Ventus is the biggest surprise so far this year for me: a page-turner that I devoured in a week, even though it's a whopping 660+ pages. It doesn't even start like something I'm usually interested in: in a European-style medieval-esque world, a young man is kidnapped by an outsider because he's important. Cliche, yeah?

But even the summary on the back gives it away: this is the planet Ventus, a terraformed human colony that's ruled by rogue AIs now called Winds. The outsider kidnaps this young ma
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
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Schroeder has a talent for making sweeping hard science fiction epics be about the most human emotions and characters, and doesn't disappoint here. Even the “monsters” are compelling, with their alien monstrosity giving way to various degrees of sympathy as their stories unfold.
Marshall Boyd
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A neat book. The setting is fantasy-like enough that it scratches my fantasy itch and the story and ideas are sci-fi to satisfy those desires.
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2011
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Liam Proven
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fun, with some mind-stretching ideas. Long but maintains pretty good pace throughout. Best free ebook of the year so far!
Sarah Rigg
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to check out a novel by Karl Schroeder after reading his Metatropolis novella. I was put off by the cheesy cover of "Ventus" and the cheesy fantasy name of one of the main characters, but I got pulled into the plot quite quickly. It's set on the world Ventus, which was supposed to be terraformed by nanotechnology and ready to welcome settlers. but when the settlers arrive, the nanotech demigods, called "Winds" in the book, don't recognize the settlers as their masters and keep the sett ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've been a huge fan of Karl Schroeder for a long time but for some reason this one just didn't grab me. I wasn't too invested in the characters and it seemed to swerve around with no rhyme or reason. Characters kept introduced later and later in the book to the point where I wasn't sure if things were still just beginning even though I was halfway through. Characters' motivations were change in ways that I found confusing and a little unbelievable. I don't know. Again, I'm not saying it was bad ...more
Joe Robson
Good book and all got going towards the end but Christ almighty does it drag for the middle 80% where it's just Jordan watching Armiger and slowly sloooowly making his way to him. Two months to read, and I've had it waiting in my collection for about 17 years. Definitely felt like the latter.

Also characters are pretty unceremoniously killed off or have their arcs tied up. It'd be like "and then he died", end of chapter, or "by the way this guy died in the fight last chapter. So anyway..."
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Sort of a medieval setup in a far future setting, really enjoyed this book, massive premise, huge plot and lots of puzzles for the reader to try and sort out. Highly recommended

Plotline: Huge plot, nothing is straight forward and interaction with the complex premise is masterful

Premise: Astounding, at times incomprehensible, but the logic finally gets there.

Writing: Simple descriptive, flowing

Ending: Oh yes. Somehow a good ending

Pace: Never a dull moment!
Apr 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, sf
This started slow, almost feeling like a standard european medieval fantasy novel wiith the SF elements gradually unfolding. I struggled to maintain interest in the developing story or the characters but a review below said it all kicks off after page 100 so I persevered up to 150 and it still failed to really grab me. When I asked myself if I really wanted to wade through another 500 pages of this, the answer was sadly 'no'.
Brian Gaston
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Quite liked this entire series.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Strong fantasy elements in a futuristic sci-fi world setting.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It took me multiple tries and one really long break to get through this. I'm not sure why. It wasn't terrible, but kind of felt like a slog anyway.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting idea, but weird. And it gets weirder. Not my thing.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a nice reading this was! SciFi mixed with Fantasy.
A good ending too, and that is important to me.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts a little bit slow but then the pace increases and it becomes one of those books that is hard to stop reading. Overall it is a nice SF, however, some of its main heroes lack depth and character. Again, it is a nice book but I would not put it on the same level as Revelation Space of Reynolds or Commonwealth Saga by Hamilton.
Vijayanarasimhan Ka
Engaging read...
Jeff Rudisel
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, science-fiction
What a complex tapestry of action packed universe building and world building, and alien nanotech other-minds, and vast imagination and hard Science Fiction.
Filled with wonderful surprises, gigantic mysteries.
A great read and a great talent.
"A large-scale hard SF adventure novel in the tradition of Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, and Arthur C. Clarke."
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Rachel Fellows
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Oh my gosh I finally finished it!

It seemed to take forever to get through it, but I did it and it was worth it. I had always been a little intimidated by hard sci fi, even though as an English major I've slogged through many tough Victorian novels and have watched my husband chew through sci fi novels like candy. But since I'm not a "science" person (I actually really love technology and scientific advancement and all that) I always thought I would be a little lost while reading a book like Vent
D.L. Morrese
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This took a short forever to finish consider how into it I was. It builds up almost perfectly for my tastes - the weird mash-up of high-tech baroque and technology indistinguishable from magic in a medieval, surreal setting, a few boxes he ticked (he reminds me somewhat of Vampire Hunter D. Or Cordwainer Smith. Or Strugatsky Hard to be a God - waaay too many reference points but hey). The third one was him playing with programming language, and human language and - of course - what is identity i ...more
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
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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.

Other books in the series

Ventus (3 books)
  • Ventus, Tome 1
  • Ventus, tome 2

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