Reviews & Reactions
On its first day in the stores, Sun of Suns was met with this review on Scifi.com. I like the part where they say:
Schroeder wants to restage the classic pulp tropes of sword battles among the starlanes, to revivify the Robert Louis Stevenson/Rafael Sabatini roots of the subgenre, and he does so with elan and brio, blending the exciting action with the speculations seamlessly. Hayden Griffin is a fine character to shoulder this tale, a man of intense drives, intelligence and contradictions. His growth is touching and believable, and the characters around him support his story splendidly.
Wow! I'd been hoping for a good reaction, but this was ridiculous. And they kept coming:
Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal all loved Sun of Suns. Kirkus in particular called this book "Outrageously brilliant and absolutely not to be missed."
Publishers Weekly said, "...Schroeder layers in scientific rationales for his air-filled, gravity-poor world with its spinning cylinder towns and miles-long icebergs but the real fun of this coming-of-age tale includes a pirate treasure hunt and grand scale naval invasions set in the cold, far reaches of space."
Library Journal said, "This series opener by the author of Lady of Mazes and Permanence provides an unusual setting a fullerene balloon in which humans dwell in wheel-shaped homes that create their own gravity but the characters remain unquestionably human. A promising beginning; for most libraries."
And here's the Kirkus Reviews review in full:
What if space had air in it? That's the-ostensibly-insane premise of Schroeder's latest wooden-hulled, middle-tech adventure (Lady of Mazes, 2005, etc.), the first in a projected series. How to fill space with air? Well, enclose a planet-sized volume in an impermeable barrier, call it Virga, then fill it with air, water, rocks, dirt, life forms and people. Make it habitable by creating min-suns (actually fusion reactors that shut down at night). The inhabitants will have to create their own "gravity" by building huge wheels from wood and rope (metals are scarce) and spinning them to generate centrifugal force. Fish and birds-the two are practically indistinguishable-fly or swim with ease. Out beyond the suns lies the cold darkness of winter. Much of this construct, indeed, is counterintuitive but ruthlessly logical. You want a story, too? Eight years earlier, Chaison Fanning, admiral of Slipstream nation's fleet, conquered Aerie, young Hayden Griffin's tiny, sunless nation. Now a skilled jet-bike rider, Griffin, having wormed his way into the good graces of Fanning's beautiful and ambitious wife, Venera, is poised to assassinate the admiral. But when spies uncover a plot by a totalitarian nation to invade Slipstream, Griffin finds himself assisting Fanning, who, he can't help noticing, is brave and honorable and may not even be guilty. Meanwhile, Griffin notices ship's armorer Aubri Mahallan; fascinating Aubri, he learns, comes from outside Virga, where a predatory and all but incomprehensible regime, Artificial Nature, reigns supreme. Still on the agenda: stunning naval battles, giant flying icebergs, zero-gee swordfights and a pirate's treasure that's at once much less and considerablymore than it seems. Outrageously brilliant and absolutely not to be missed.
I was very happy with that.
Accolades and Nominations
Sun of Suns makes the John W. Campbell Memorial Award shortlistSoS was up against some heavy hitters for this award--notably Charlie Stross's Glasshouse, Peter Watts's Blindsight, and Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. In the end it was Titan
by Ben Bova that won the award.
Locus Magazine's Recommended Reading list for 2006Here's their recommended science fiction from 2006 (complete list):
- Polity Agent, Neal Asher (Tor UK)
- The Armies of Memory, John Barnes (Tor)
- Emperor, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz; Ace)
- Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
- Idolon, Mark Budz (Bantam Spectra)
- Babylon, Richard Calder (PS Publishing)
- End of the World Blues, Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
- Eifelheim, Michael Flynn (Tor)
- Nova Swing, M. John Harrison (Gollancz; Bantam)
- The Road, Cormac McCarthy (Knopf; Picador)
- Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon (Penguin; Cape)
- Keeping It Real, Justina Robson (Gollancz; Pyr)
- Horizons, Mary Rosenblum (Tor)
- Mathematicians in Love, Rudy Rucker (Tor)
- Sun of Suns, Karl Schroeder (Tor)
- The Clan Corporate, Charles Stross (Tor)
- Glasshouse, Charles Stross (Orbit; Ace)
- Matriarch, Karen Traviss (Eos)
- Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
- Farthing, Jo Walton (Tor)
- Blindsight, Peter Watts (Tor)
Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nomination
Sun of Suns was one of six SF novels nominated for the 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. The Romantic Times is a review magazine, much like science fiction's Locus, but focusing on all titles of interest to women--not just romance fiction.
As they put it in announcing the nominations,
2006 was another great year for readers. So many fabulous books were published! We reviewed more than 250 books in each issue of RT BOOKreviews —more than 3,000 titles for the entire year. Our ace reviewers and editors have scoured 12 months’ worth of reviews to compile the best of the best for the annual Romantic Times BOOKreviews Career Achievement and Reviewers’ Choice Awards. For the Reviewers’ Choice nominees, our star team selected only those novels that deeply resonated with them.
My fellow nominees for this award are Elizabeth Bear (for Carnival), Tobias Buckell (For Crystal Rain), Tom Piccirilli (for The Dead Letters), John Scalzi (for The Android's Dream, and Jo Walton (for Farthing). As it turned out, Farthing won--a highly deserving choice.
This was great company to be in and I was quite flattered by the nomination.
Aurora Award Nomination
Shortly after the Romantic Times nominations came in, I found out that SoS was nominated for Canada's Aurora Award as well. As with the other nominations, it didn't win (always the bridesmaid, never the bride); this year the honour went to Dave Duncan for Children of Chaos.
The Hugo... Ah, the Hugo
Well, a man can dream. Sun of Suns was six votes short of being nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for best novel. Ouch! (Vernor was a shoe-in for Rainbows End anyway, of course.) Oh well, as they say, there's always next year.