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(Ventus #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,070 ratings  ·  100 reviews
After terrifying and titanic struggles, a godlike artificial intelligence gone rogue has finally been destroyed. But not before it scattered seeds of itself throughout the galaxy.

On the terraformed planet Ventus, benign AIs -- the godlike Winds – which shaped and guarded its transformation, have fallen silent. Calandria May is sent down to the surface where she quickly
Paperback, 672 pages
Published November 19th 2001 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,070 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...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
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
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
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
Oct 16, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
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 ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...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
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!
Brian Gaston
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Quite liked this entire series.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Strong fantasy elements in a futuristic sci-fi world setting.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting idea, but weird. And it gets weirder. Not my thing.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a nice reading this was! SciFi mixed with Fantasy.
A good ending too, and that is important to me.
Jeff Rudisel
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2017
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
D.L. Morrese
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book uses the SF concept of nanites (nano-machines) and plays it out to the hilt in the setting of Ventus, a world where every element of the ecology is imbued with some measure of intelligence and communication ability, from the tiniest insects and waves of water that know their own name and place in the world, to the giant mobile machines that control the weather and sustain the ongoing terraforming of Ventus. The genius twist is that, for reasons you discover as the book unfolds, the ...more
Julie  Capell
Best hard scifi book I have read in years. Schroeder's amazing writing draws the reader into a world where NOTHING is as it seems. Incredibly dynamic plotting moves the book quickly out of what seems more like a fantasy setting (medieval) into the realm of high science. Schroeder takes concepts that are usually just window dressing for a scifi soap opera or war story and uses them to make the reader stretch his/her imagination in more directions than that goofy signpost in MASH. In Ventus, ...more
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ventus by Karl Schroeder at the time of reading I didn’t think had been publish and so I spent the entire book wondering why a publisher had let something this enjoyable get past them. It turns out I was wrong the book has been published but the author released the novel online as a free ebook when his second book was published.

Ventus is a great far future sci-fi novel that manages to combine a nice element of high fantasy. Its set on the world of Ventus terraformed into an Eden like world by a
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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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“The secret to life, she had said, was to find the little things, the unimportant ones that would nonetheless always remind you of the precious things they accompanied—and hold onto them.” 1 likes
“Frankenstein’s monster speaks: the computer. But where are its words coming from? Is the wisdom on those cold lips our own, merely repeated at our request? Or is something else speaking?—A voice we have always dreamed of hearing?” 1 likes
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