Ventus

Karl Schroeder, Author
Karl Schroeder, Author Tor Books $27.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-312-87197-0
Paperback - 978-2-07-030947-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 662 pages - 978-0-8125-7635-1
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-1-4668-0007-6
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Although Aurora Award-winner Schroeder is probably best known for his fantasy fiction, this novel, his first large-scale SF work, should greatly expand his reputation. A thousand years ago, highly advanced artificial intelligences (AIs) called Winds terraformed the planet Ventus into a comfortable world for human settlementDbut something went wrong, and the Winds never relinquished control. Now they rule as gods, using their ""mecha"" creatures to squelch anythingDor anyoneDwho creates imbalance in their perfectly groomed environment. Enter young Jordan Mason, whose visions show him dreamlike images of far-distant events that are somehow linked to the Winds. But Jordan only begins to realize the truth after he meets two off-worlders, the assassin Calandria and her partner, Axel. Jordan's visions link him to Armiger, a spy created by a megalomaniac AI called 3340. Though Calandria ""destroyed"" 3340, she fears Armiger carries the seeds to resurrect the entity. Jordan's link offers the only hope of finding Armiger, but there are other forces at work as well. Civil war fomented by the Winds threatens to overthrow mad Queen Galas, the most egalitarian ruler in Ventus's history. And in a distant system called the Archipelago, Calandria's boss, a rival AI, is sending warships to decimate Ventus and insure 3340's demiseDpermanently. Canadian Schroeder handles his large cast of characters with impressive dexterity. Fans of the high-tech foundation and grand world-building of Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod will feel right at home here, as will anyone else who appreciates a challenging, original story. (Dec. 18)
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