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Author: Karl Schroeder
Published: 2007
Language: English
Wordcount: 216,720 / 316 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 92.9
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 13,147
Added to site: 2007.09.18 18272
License: by-nc-nd

A novel of information apocalypse set in the far future. For a thousand years the sovereign Winds have maintained the delicate ecological balance of the terraformed planet Ventus. Now an alien force threatens to wrest control of the terraforming system away from the Winds...

Show Excerpt

not monsters. That one was just trying to protect itself."

"What was that silver stuff? It looked alive!"

"Dad told me about that one time. The mothers protect themselves with it. He said the stuff goes towards whatever's wettest. He said he saw somebody get covered with it once; he died, but the stuff was still on him, so they got it off by dropping the body in a horse trough."

Emmy shuddered. "That was an awful chance. Don't do anything like that again, hear?"

The excitement was over, and the rest of the crowd began to disperse. "Come, let's get you cleaned up," she said, towing him in the direction of the kitchens.

As they were rounding the reflecting pool, Jordan heard the sudden thunder of hooves, saw the dust fountaining up from them. They were headed straight for him.

"Look out!" He whirled, pushing Emmy out of the way. She shrieked and fell in the pool.

The sound vanished; the dust blinked out of existence.

There were no horses. The courtyard was

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.6 from 15 reviews: *****

Read it - it's simply amazing.

John Cantor

Lotta thaliance in Gwynnite. Translation: read it.


Loved it, totally loved it!

I don't agree with the other reviewer who said it was too long, I think it was fine. It does need some editing, the ePub version did have some issues

Ross Campbell

Really good story that starts in a late medieval rural setting with fortresses, forests and folkelore - and ends up in a planet-scale nano AI battle. It's a little longer than it needed to be, and definately needs more editing, especially on the last half. I can reccommend it - reminded me a bit of Peter Hamilton's story in "Void Trilogy" with Edeard realising his powers slowly over time, at the same time as the nature of his world are revealed at the same pace.


Superb writing tranports u to an another world ....nice imagination....


Great ideas, story, plot, etc. Pretty much what everyone said already.

However the book could really use an editor. It was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. The last few pages are all in italics.

Ending was a bit trite and anti-climactic. I didn't think it was that long, I finished it in about three days. IMO it could have been longer to cover all the content. Some of it was glossed over.

All in all, a good read.



Excellent novel. I loved the journeys (both literal and metaphorical) made by all the protagonists, and the way their paths and relationships developed throughout. The explanation of the stuff of fantasy in terms of advanced technology was pure genius.

At over 400 pages this is not a quick read. It's long. It's complicated. And as Norm says below, there's a *lot* of stuff in it. But having read it, I can't think of any bits that I'd be happy to take out. It's all interlinked.

This is definitely one that goes on my "to be re-read" list.


An excellent novel, with a complex storyline, well-crafted characters and highly imaginative settings and technological artifacts abounding.

In one way or other, the lead characters, all on journeys of self-discovery or self-recovery, are metaphors for the struggles taking place on the planet, Ventus. This book is a fascinating exploration of the question of the meaning of being as it applies to intelligent machines and persons alike.

Mike E

Superb book, great characters, marvellous story.

James Pharaoh

Really loved this book. It manages to create a world of magic as we might recognise it from other stories and explain it convincingly with technology.


Fantastic story, grest idea using nanotech to terraform a world. Something goesd wrong and humans are no longer able to communicate or control the technology and it takes on a life of its own.


Ventus is a rich complicated Sci-Fi mixed fantasy novel.

The setting is the distant future on a planet called Ventus. Athousand years ago, Earth based civilization sent "mecha" (terraforming machines) which used nannites to prepare what was an inhospitable environment for human colonization. But when humans arrived, they found the planet full of plant and animal life; ideal for humans, but the machines themselves had changed and would not recognize humans or specifically their technology because the latter interfered with the mecha's main mission of ecological balance. The mecha created "swans" (formidable police entities) based on the nearby moon of Diadem to enforce the ecological balance. The result is a human civilization forced to live in a feudal society which is the rough equivalent of 18th century earth technologically.

After a thousand years, earth society has lost their knowledge how to create mecha and the Ventusians have lost full knowledge of just what the nanotechnoligy machines really are; they now worship them as "Winds."
They have struck a balance with the Winds, and can live and thrive in places the machines don't feel they are interfering. Some worship the Winds as Gods but most try to discern how to communicate or control them. Like any feudal society, Ventus is in the midst of a major war with the powers that be (Parliament) allied against a rouge queen who has some ability to communicate with the Winds and is changing the old order.

Into this tableau comes the first protagonist, Jordan, a young mason. Yes, his last name is Mason as well. At first he seems just a small cog in this feudal society....until he meets up with the second of several protagonists. 2 mercenary agents of earth civilization on Ventus to try to regain the knowledge of how to control the mecha. They are also in Ventus to destroy a competing agent named Armiger. Armiger is a human changed by a machine intelligence known only as 3340. 3340 was considered a grave danger to organic human life; 3340 co-opted humans, giving them godlike powers and then absorbing them into itself. Armiger is the last remaining agent of 3340 and is on Ventus to try to learn how to control the Winds. 3340 itself was destroyed by one of the above agents.

Jason has visions and can speak to the nannites of Ventus. They are because of implants from Armiger installed in several Ventusians to try to gain control of Ventus. Jason can see what Armiger sees. The Earth agents kidnap Jason to use his visions to find Armiger so they can direct their ship to their ship destroy him.

But Armiger is changing, and becoming more human......

Without giving more away, The clashing armies of Ventusian feudal civilization, The earth agent's ship's AI, and all the protagonists interact. Even the machines of Ventus are at war with themselves and represent major players in what is a philosophical dance and tug of war between competing organic and machine intelligence objectives .

A great read, except for something you have probably figured out already. There is too much stuff in this novel! It's all really interesting and incredibly creative, but the book is waaaay long and has too many competing interests for the reader to identify with one in a satisfying way. For this I take away one star, but strongly recommend it anyway.



Excellent! A wonderful story.


Very complex and interesting story -- almost Dune-like in its use of ecological/nanotech systems. The characters are engaging, though I wish there had been a single main protagonist instead of five or six, and they're well delineated. But there wasn't anything to root against, in the end, which felt a little odd.

R Stephan

One of the best SF novels of the decade. What seemingly starts as a fantasy story soon becomes a major vision of nanotech, with an immersive adventure plot enjoyable by a wide audience.



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