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Virga: Cities of the Air

(Virga #1-2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  14 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 floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" —enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for centripetal gravity.

This complex and fascinating world is the setting
Paperback, 592 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2008)
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hyper saline
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Two books, I think! Pretty good sci-fi with interesting world-building in a scene that I've never been introduced to before. I read this in jail. I used the inside of the back cover to write my journal before I could buy a notepad from commissary.
Morgan Storey
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Great story telling and world building, character development was pretty good too. But it was slow to start, and the second book focused on a better character than the first.
Cities of the Air is an omnibus of the first two novels in Karl Schroeder's Virga series.

I literally had no idea what to expect going into this. I was at work looking for a quick read and noticed that the title of the book was "Cities of the Air", a concept which has always been a favourite of mine, so I grabbed it. Schroeder is an amazing worldbuilder, that is for damn sure. The setting for these novels is so unique that it defies belief.

The first novel doesn't really concentrate on any one
Scott Firestone
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a high-energy tale of swashbuckling naval adventure, pirates, treasure, and swordplay.

Except it takes place in the far future, inside a giant balloon that's been sealed to cut out the outside world. Inside, there's very little gravity, so cities are built like wheels, and have to spin to create centripetal force. The ships float in the air, and are like baroque, steampunk airships, but there are also fast motorcycle-type vehicles that use the force of air to power them.

There is a central
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This steampunk space-opera had one of the strongest starts I've ever seen: well paced, beautiful creation of new worlds to stoke the imagination, and intriguing ideas of new ways to live. This edition is a compilation of the first 2 books of a trilogy. I found the first to be a lot of fun, but by the middle of the 2nd book it was too repetitive: lots of swashbuckling action and adventure, but frankly too much of it without any new ideas or creativity. That is not really a criticism, since it was ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A light read. Mostly this seems like an exercise in world building for Schroeder.
A bit to steam punky for me on a few occasions but it soon leaves that behind.
The prose is not pretty but it is workable and the imagery is certainly lovely in it's own way.
If you went out of your way to read more into it all of the stories of Virga are about different types of closed societies dealing with change.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars - Virga is an almost impossibly unique world. The action-adventure plot is compelling. Characterization falters slightly and the book is somewhat bloated but otherwise the world and unique events taking place allow readers to overlook any potential faults.

Read my full review here:
Steampunk-like far future world in a hollow-sphere setting (AKA Ringworld on steroids). Local politics intersect with an attempted takeover by the rest of the galaxy. I’m still trying to figure out how the natural resource economy works, especially for things like minerals.
Mark Werner
Liked this.... The combination of what's essentially a victorian society trapped in a very high-tech "world" indeed.... Very promising.

The battle scenes, mixing sailing-ship derring-do with high-tech science; pretty clever.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
I designate this "schtumpunk"
Not my cup of tea I guess, happy reading to you who enjoy it !
Joseph Harding
Third of the way through the first book and loving it so far!
Feb 11, 2012 marked it as to-read
****Received as a prize from a contest from****
Thomas Crausaz
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great sequel to a fantastic story. More crazy worlds, interesting way to continue from the first book, can't wait to see what's going on in the third one...
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Loved the first book (Sun of Suns), the second (Queen of Candesce), not so much.
Mark Schroeder
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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)
  • Sun of Suns (Virga, #1)
  • Queen of Candesce (Virga, #2)
  • Pirate Sun (Virga, #3)
  • The Sunless Countries (Virga, #4)
  • Ashes of Candesce (Virga, #5)