Ventus by Karl Schroeder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was a very cool surprise.
I read Schroeder's Virga series (enclosed hard-SF atmosphere with artificial suns, a steampunk-type storytelling) and was very impressed with the concepts, so I decided to go back to his earlier works. I didn't expect it to be quite AS ambitious as it turned out to be.
Indeed, from its humble fantasy-like start, with strange nano mecha taking part of a whole planet, with strange godlike AI visitors limiting themselves to explore Ventus, the planet, I was fairly hooked from the start. I didn't quite know how immense and epic it would become.
This is fantastic hard SF, ya'll. Rich, detailed worldbuilding, never skimping on history or the SFnal rules or the implications, I'm reminded very fondly of C. S. Friedman's Black Sun Rising, Neverness. Indeed, I had the impression of some Peter Hamilton as if written by Valente in The Habitation of the Blessed, King John's kingdom as told by AIs.
So, let me just point out this little fact: most SF doesn't go all out, getting progressively more creative and conceptually larger as it goes, but when it does, it should be noted. Clearly. And here's your notice. Prepare for some jaw-dropping. :)
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