Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 6, 2004

Permanence by Karl Schroeder

Of the five who attended this discussion, one was new to the group and had not read any of Schroeder’s work. The other four had read the whole book, plus Schroeder’s previous book, Ventus and thought the author had done a much better job this time.

Permanence is a classic space opera set in a completely different universe from Ventus. The main character is a feisty young woman, Rue, who steals her family’s ship and escapes to the nearest brown-dwarf planet. On the way she discovers an unoccupied interstellar cycler ship, which will make her rich if she can claim it first. She hopes to use it to serve the brown-dwarf civilization, which has been decaying since FTL ships and the monetarily obsessed Right’s Economy left it behind.

We found much to like about this book: good main characters, good pacing, adventure, conflict, interesting technologies, aliens, a sufficiently different plot and enough ups and downs to hold a reader’s interest. We liked Rue, the heirloom fossil, alien archeology, brown-dwarf worlds, cycler seeds, and brain implants that showed the value of everything.

Although this book did not have the plodding pace, info-dumps and repetition of Ventus it still had some new-writer glitches. The love story was not very believable, secondary characters were over-developed, some of the science was not very believable (but not enough to bother anyone), the story had some large jumps in time, and the kami concept was not completely clear.

We all enjoyed this book and expect to see a sequel since the bad guy, an admiral who escaped with a cycler seed, was not captured at the end.