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Sun of Suns

(Virga #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,497 ratings  ·  245 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 frie
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,497 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: steam-punk
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sun of Suns is the first book in a series set in the distant world of Virga, an Earth-sized sphere filled with air, and inhabited on the vast interior, where gravity is a luxury you can't always count on and light and heat comes from artificial suns... and some have to do without. It follows Hayden Griffin, who starts off on a quest for revenge against the man he believes responsible for his parents deaths, only to wind up on a mission with him, for the nation that conquered his own.

The book's
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
The Larry Niven quote on the back cover is perfectly appropriate, given that this is a spirit child of The Integral Trees. Humanity has adapted to life in a (to us) profoundly unnatural environment, and Schroeder is relentless in layering on the worldbuilding when constructing the likely technologies and societies implied by the core concept.

That the result is an old-fashioned swashbuckler in slightly new clothing is an unexpected pleasure, even more so because he manages to find a rational exc
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I finally finished a book this month! What an accomplishment but sad to say that it wasn't a book that I really enjoyed. I read this in the hopes of getting into more science fiction and I found myself confused by the technology and spacecraft elements. I can't say if that's me being not well versed in the genre or a lack of strong description on the books part, but I finished it in the end.
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“If the world needed saving it wouldn’t be worth doing it. Everything worthwhile ends up getting stolen by someone evil.

Great new setting for steam-punk science fiction: inside a planet-sized balloon of gases (Virga). All “gravity” is inertial, “suns” heat and light local areas of the temperate zone, and the politics and technology is mostly nineteenth century. The characters begin in mystery and opposition but must work together for a greater good. An outsider knows about the evolved technology
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-new-york
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
Michael Burnam-Fink
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2014
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
No spoilers here.
Schroeder creates an interesting world here Virga, a 5,000 mile air filled bubble filled with floating oceans, spinning wheeled countries, fish, man made suns which feed these nations. This world building reminded me much of Niven's Ringworld.
The story centers around a young man, Hayden who is seeking revenge over the invasion of his home nation, the death of his parents, and the destruction of his sun. All of this is at the hands of the nation of Slipstream, a powerful trading
Nov 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
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.
Jul 07, 2016 marked it as dnf
I am a quarter into this and I just don't care about the story. It's not bad, the worldbuilding is really intriguing but I am not interested in the plot or the characters that feel flat. I have a ton of other things to read so I am not going to force myself to read this.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what I expected from "Sun of Suns." Truthfully, I forgot I even owned it until I went looking through my TBR shelf for some sci-fi to read. When I read the dust jacket the book led me to believe it was a revenge story set in space where the "dangerous" Hayden Griffen sets out to kill the killer of his murdered parents.
Oh cool, I thought. If "Best Served Cold" and "A Crown for Cold Silver," taught me anything is that I have a soft spot for revenge stories. And anti-heroes. And if I
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

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 "pl
Oct 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Video Review(2min):

This universe is just really great. The zero-g, full atmosphere, bubble in space, with land masses inside, moveable cities, and basically air-ship battles are all highly imaginative. I liked how the book had to be read in three dimensions where a lot of times books are only on land or only on one ship. I also really liked the character of Venera. She had a lot of gumption and fortitude but was also extremely feminine.

I never really conn
Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
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
Baal Of
Read this as part of a read-along. Let me start with the good. The world concept is fantastic. I loved it, and I wanted more detail, but it was trickled out in such small bites that it left me entirely unsatisfied.
I found the plot to be rather generic, and I was never able to connect with any of the characters. They just seemed kind of hollow, and even Venera who was probably the most interesting was still a bit too cardboard for my taste. At its core, this is a pirate adventure. Not a bad book,
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I finally got around to reading Sun of Suns, which had been setting in my to-read ebook stack for two years. I should have done so sooner as it was a very enjoyable read. The good news for me is that this is the first book in the Virga series, which is up to five books now.
Imagine Horatio Hornblower in a weightless environment and you will have some idea of what this story is like.
Highly recommended for SF and action fans.
Jul 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, didn-t_finish
Societies and cities are formed around artificial suns floating in space. The main character's family and town are all destroyed when their attempt to create their own sun--and thus break free of the overly controlling government--is discovered. The main character then seeks revenge. The main idea is an interesting one, but I just couldn't get into the narrative.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Quick, action-packed read filled with delicious steampunk imagery. It never stopped, never flagged, only continued to grow.

The one downside was Hayden's wavering of resolution in his revenge, early on, too early for my taste. But as far as nits to pick, it's a small one, considering I didn't believe he'd go through with it in the first place.

Great book. Recommended.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-opera
I would like book better if I liked pirate/sea adventure stories - which I don't. I like Venera Fanning a lot, she's a character I'm interested in following. The world is intersting, and I have a nagging feeling it is connected to the world in "Lady of Mazes" universe. The series reminds me of Kay Kenyon's "The Rose and the Entire," although Kenyon's is more interesting.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
This one was disappointing. Flashes of inspiration were drowned out by ... well, everything from inconsistent contexts to out of character prose. Overall, I never bought into the premise. Parts were fun, but...
Aug 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novel
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.
Dec 08, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
forgot i have this book til i happened to see it on here. sounds like it's going to be good. God! There are so many great books to read and i never have enough time!!
May 12, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 40% - I can't do it anymore, I just have no interest in returning to this book, it wasn't bad I just don't care about the plot or the characters and their struggles. Sorry Thomas, I tried.
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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

Virga (5 books)
  • Queen of Candesce (Virga, #2)
  • Pirate Sun (Virga, #3)
  • The Sunless Countries (Virga, #4)
  • Ashes of Candesce (Virga, #5)

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