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Permanence

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Young Rue Cassels of the Cycler Compact -- a civilization based around remote brown dwarf stars -- is running from her bullying brother, who has threatened to sell her into slavery. Fleeing in a shuttle spacecraft from the sparsely populated and austere comet-mining habitat she has lived in her whole life, she spots a distant, approaching object, and stakes a legal claim t ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 14th 2003 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2002)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  607 ratings  ·  47 reviews


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Peter Tillman
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread-list
"The discovery that made interstellar travel possible was made in 1997; but at the time no one recognized its significance..."

So opens Permanence, set in the 25th century, when humanity has settled dozens of extrasolar planets -- the so-called "lit worlds" -- and thousands of brown-dwarf colonies -- the halo worlds. All the colonies were linked by big, NAFAL starships, each travelling a fixed circuit of worlds -- the cyclers . The cyclers never stop, as the energy cost to boost them to relativi
...more
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
I'm sorry to say, I couldn't bring myself to finish this one. The ideas behind the novel are somewhat interesting; not fascinating, just enough to make you go 'Hmm.' Once you marvel at the civilization Schroeder built around brown dwarfs, all you're left with is a poor plot that is childish and amateur.

There's something annoyingly artificial about the way the characters are written. They go along with mad ideas just because the plot requires a crew for the protagonist's quest. The events that li
...more
Robert Runte
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: SF
Recommended to Robert by: reading all books by author
Shelves: canadian-sf-f
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of this book. Fast paced adventure has subtext about our economy and microtransations that has completely changed the way I look the world around me -- I seriously cannot use an ATM machine without getting angry after reading this novel. It reads like SF, but it is a thorough-going critique of capitalism gone wrong. And the universe he is building in this novel, along with his other works, really makes one think about implications of social netwo ...more
Randy Mcdonald
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this book a decade ago, after hearing quite a bit of fuss written about it. Already, it has managed to influence many other science fiction universes, with its concentration on brown dwarfs and their planetary systems and the human cultures which have sprung up on their worlds. Read Simon Bisson’s excellent review.

evildrganymede is livejournal’s local expert on brown dwarfs, published and everything, so he can correct me. Briefly put, brown dwarfs are star-like objects which lack suffic
...more
Bruce Sanders
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a modestly hard sci-fi book. The setting, worlds orbiting brown dwarfs, is ingenious with some good realistic and creative attention to detail. There is an interesting adventure with both action and intrigue though there is maybe a little too much contrivance in setting up the heroine's travails. The protagonist and some of her close associates are quite interesting. The villains are from the "lit" worlds (stars) and represent a government that exploits the "halo" worlds associated with ...more
Jeremy
Nov 30, 2008 rated it liked it
This book took a while to get into, but into it we did done got. Er. I've always felt that the best science fiction isn't about the technology, the aliens, or the general freedom it gives to authors to just make up stuff they think is neat. Those stories work only with readers who share the fantasies that the author is playing out. Great science fiction is about people. The speculative aspect of science fiction allows the author to give relevance to an idea that would be entirely abstract in rea ...more
Jacob
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how good this was! It's got some very believable alien and space environments together with some novel ideas about humans interacting with aliens and the ultimate destiny of humans in space. The characters felt realistic and I cared about what happened to them. I must admit to finding the basic plot inherently interesting (it's kind of like Rendezvous with Rama but bigger in scope and with more action).

For some reason I found this hard to read quickly, but it was still engagin
...more
Sarah Williams
I enjoyed Permanence's overall story, and really loved the world-building of this novel. However, I found the characters and their motivations to be a bit flat. Though the novel covers a relatively long period of time, relationships seem to develop too quickly/easily and obstacles are overcome too smoothly. Also, because of the story's time-jumps, character behaviors felt inconsistent at times; a lot of character development occurred off-screen, which leaves the reader seeing just a character's ...more
Nicolas
Non mais dites donc ! Si Ventus, son précédent roman était pas mal, il m'avait laissé un goût d'incomplet, ou plutôt un côté pas complètement éclairci (1). Heureusement pour moi, ça n'est vraiment pas le cas de ce roman, qu'on peut tout de suite placer dans la catégorie des très, très bons romans.
Mais reprenons du commencement. Dans ce roman, on suit d'abord les aventures de Rue Cassels, une jeune femme qui, par un jeu de circonstances de l'ordre de l'extraordinaire (2), se retrouve en possessi
...more
BobA707
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summary: Another good SF book, interesting premise, believable, and nicely complicated with a good set of characters. Karl seems to specialise in backward wolds set in future times, this less so, but the ingredients are all there.. Highly recommended

Plotline: Lengthy, rags to riches, plenty of action and all built around the complex premise

Premise: Love it, Aliens wiped out and humans heading the same way

Writing: The reader is right there in the action.

Ending: Well yes, very satisfactory

Pace: N
...more
Sarah Rigg
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this space romp. My only little criticism is that it starts out entirely from Rue Cassels viewpoint and abruptly changes viewpoint to Michael Bequith about 100 pages in. I wasn't expecting it and it was a little jarring. On the small scale, the story is about Rue and her attempts to get away from her controlling half-brother and to find her place in the world. On the macro scale, it's about competing philosophies about how to keep a large, far-flung group of human colonies in to ...more
Julia
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very typical Male Science Fiction Author book (the good kind, at least) in that it had absolutely mind-bendingly fascinating sci-fi ideas and forgettable characters and relationships between them. When I think about this book a year from now, I will not remember the name of a single character, but I will definitely remember the unique aliens, provocative ideas, and universe-altering technology.
Brian Gaston
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A classic 3.5 book. I went with 4 as I liked the characters. The science and plot were very good too.
York
really a 3.5, but I enjoy his writing..and that's got to be worth 1/2 star...liked the characters too...
Duncan
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've read a lot of Karl Schroeder and I didn't really connect with this one. Some cool concepts but I had trouble really getting into it.
Peter
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it

Rue Cassels steals her inheritance, which includes part-ownership of a ship, in order to escape her older half-brother and forge a new life for herself outside of his control. While in transit, she stumbles upon on unregistered comet, and stakes a claim, making her wealthy... but things only get more complicated when the comet turns out to be a cycler, a starship that runs on a cycle around the dim, chilly worlds that have been colonized between stars, like Rue's. Cyclers haven't been coming by
...more
Timothy Finucane
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it

This book is a top notch sci-fi read, blending new ideas with a classic feel, and has immediately catapulted Karl Schroeder into my favorite authors list. This book falls into the category of hard sci-fi, but with interesting characters, a well thought out story, and some philosophy thrown in for good measure.



The scientific concepts that are integrated into the setting offer a look at some of the more recent ideas about what exists between solar systems, from Kuiper Belt objects to Brown Dwarfs

...more
Zeta Syanthis
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I've encountered a book this ambitious (or this well executed) since the Hyperion Cantos. This book has kind of shaken me in a way few ever have.

The primary protagonist of the story, Rue Cassels, is an amazing young girl who is force to quickly grow into strong young woman after being thrown a few fairly crazy life twists. When the book starts, her brother is attempting to sell her into slavery, only to have that turned on its head when she discovers of an abandoned starship and is
...more
T
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Permanence is a good ol' star-spanning sci-fi epic, dealing in interplanetary politics, with civilizations hanging in the balance. I enjoyed spending time with the main characters, each likable in their own way, though some of the side characters were underdeveloped, leaving me occasionally confused about who people were. Also confusing was a lot of the technology and terminology, which is not explained before being used. What is an "inscape window", "high space", etc? Eventually these are expla ...more
Tom Tresansky
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it
There was a lot to like here - a great setup for a Big Dumb Object story with political and personal intrigue against a backdrop of interstellar war - but too much that failed to rise above the mediocre.

I much enjoyed the worldbuilding, the civilizations came across as this-century modernizations of classic Golden Age SF Human Empires, and really worked. The technological constraints of High Sapce versus the halo worlds with regards to travel also permitted engaging space race scenarios to deve
...more
Lucas
Feb 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
There are a lot of instances in this book where events would abruptly happen that the author did poorly to prepare the reader for, or significant events that are mentioned only briefly that should have gotten more description. Not being able to properly view the novel from the point of view of a first time reader is the hallmark of a first novel, in this case it's Schroeder's second- and I think it's the fault of the editor as much as the writer.

The biggest example here is to have a magic scienc
...more
Rich McAllister
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014
Good hard SF, though I got a little hung up on some seeming inconsistencies. Supposedly self-reproducing automata are banned, yet the protagonist gets reminded by her "blood bots" to eat more silicon when she's stressed so they can make more. I love that the Evil Galactic Empire is basically a DRM scheme gone mad, but one of the bits about it is the bad guy's starship is going to be shut down if he gets any further behind in his royalty payments, yet the bad guy is currently in one of the "dark" ...more
Mike
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
There's aspects of this book that if someone told me it as a concept, I would probably react negatively to it and never read it. Mistake. Big mistake. Schroeder takes this plot and characters and weaves a really good tale out of it. It's not "high fiction", but it doesn't pretend to be. It is a solid, well-planned and executed story about a technology and civilization that exists for these characters to populate, suffer and succeed in.

This book makes the author someone who I want to keep in mind
...more
Julie  Capell
One of the rare scifi books that focuses on religion, Permanence posits some interesting ideas about the nature of religion, its purpose in society, and how we can use religion to understand the alien--or not. This was not as technically complex as some of Schroeder's other works, but still featured his signature far-future scenario building and examination of governmental forms that evolve to fit what people need. Also more of his trademark ideas that are huge not only intellectually but also p ...more
Cera
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a solid and enjoyable sf novel, with nifty ideas and decent characters and an interesting plot. I didn't enjoy it as much as Ventus because the science was not as much the type I am interested in -- lots of physics of space travel -- but I really love Schroeder's interest in future culture & religion. He's the first hard sf author I've come across in a long time who takes those aspects as seriously as the crunchy details of terraforming and ship mechanics, and it makes his books a j ...more
Shankar
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I simply loved this book. I only gave it four stars instead of five because I can see some of the seams, so to speak - the plot jumps around a bit at points and the character development is a bit unrealistic.

But aside from that, from page one this book just sucked me in. So many "sense of wonder" moments, a fascinating backstory and a set of conflicts, and very human characters trying to make sense of it all. Perhaps one of out five scifi books I read has this combination. When it finished, I d
...more
Alec
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought Permanence had a shaky start, mostly because the dialogue and some of the descriptive passages fell a bit flat. Really liked a couple of the Big Ideas and the narrative arc, though - Rue, the protagonist, is strong without being entirely one-dimensional or ridiculous, which is rare among the SF penned by men that I've read.

Recommended for SF enthusiasts and people who like thinking about what it would take to build human civilizations beyond Earth with (mostly) conceivable technology.
Catherine
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
My first Schroeder book! Maybe he wasn't as good at developing characters, but the world he created, the history he detailed, the conflict he introduced? I was hooked from the first few chapters, curious to know how things would work out, and my imagination was working like crazy figuring out details about the new civilizations he described! Um, I loved it :)
Stephanie
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this for my SciFi book club. There are a lot of great ideas in this book, enough for several books. Unfortuneately, almost none of them are well explored, some only getting a brief mention before moving on. The character development is almost non-existant. The plot is ok, but uneven and jumpy - you can't tell how much time has elapsed between scenes, etc.
Elisabeth
Jul 20, 2009 marked it as to-read
Started this as a library book and ran out of time to read it... love Schroeders space civilization concepts. This didn't grab me as much as the Virga series has but its on my to-do list to finish all the same.
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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.
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