The new Sword & Planet – Sun of Suns

virga cities of the airKaor fellow Barsoomians ! To no great surprise I would love a boom and revival of new Sword and Planet stories, but that isn’t really happening.Of course with my years of following the multiple variations of A Princess of Mars/John Carter of Mars movies and my imaging all the cool things that would hit the shelves because of course the movie will be huge, I sometimes forget. Imagine my distress as I futilely search bookstore shelves for new reading material. Like many of you I’m sure, I go through my waves and faves of reading. I’ve read a fair bit of Heroic Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, and all of the cyberpunk back in the day. ‘Neuromancer’ just blew my mind. I actually read all of the Ace Specials of the time. A huge number of excellent writer’s came out of that line. One was Kim Stanley Robinson who of course owned Mars books in his own way eventually.

Today I yo-yo between rereading old favorites which is good sometimes, but not always and searching for new material. A new favourite has been steam punk, which is a fairly broad genre really. It’s led me through China Mayville, Cherry priest, Michael Hodder, Jay Lake and obliquely to Karl Schroeder. I didn’t view his books as Steam Punk, and still don’t really, but there is a high element even without the top hats. What really drew me was the exotic and beautiful covers paintings of the exotic environment of his World of Virga.

This is actually a reread for me, I’ve read four out of five books and just got my hands on the last one. My edition of the first is the Cities of Virga which includes Sun of Suns and Queen of Candensce. The cover of the paired edition is in line with the rest of the series, and feels more true to the material. The original cover is accurate but looks more Space Opera. Rather than try and do it better than the pros, here’s what it’s all about.

“It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and “towns” that are

in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He’s come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden’s nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden’s spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn’t bode well for Fanning’s chances.”

So how did I decide this was the New Sword and Planet? There isn’t even a planet! Phhhpt ! pick pick pick. What it does have – and exotic ‘world’, airships (and battles !) swords, lots of swords, sword fights, escapes, daring do, pirates, battling empires. Pretty much everything but tharks. It was on this second read that it all became clear to me. It also leads me to the conclusion that there may be more Sword and Planet out there than I realized. Hmmm. Next time, an actual review. – Jeff

Sun of Suns big


7 responses

  1. Sean Brodrick

    Love the Virga books. I listened to the audio versions, narrated by Joyce Irvine, which are extraordinary.

    If you like Sword and Sorcery, this book might interest you. It’s free on Kindle, so you can’t beat the price. It’s part of a larger series.

    December 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    • I’ll go check it out – I used to work at the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology as an illustrator, so dinosaurs are in my blood 🙂

      December 8, 2015 at 2:46 pm

  2. Sounds darn interesting. I need to check this out

    December 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm

  3. Dare I recommend my three planetary romance novels–Scout’s Honor, Scout’s Oath, and Scout’s Duty–all of which are available from Amazon in ebook format? I wrote them as a modern homage to ERB and Leigh Brackett. They aren’t deep by any stretch of the imagination, but they are fun adventure stories. The first two books are 99 cents each.

    Please accept my apologies if this is a more commercial post than you prefer. If it is, I’ll fully understand if you decide to delete it.

    December 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    • No problem at all. I really should consider doing features on this kind of thing. Hey, The Strange Worlds Anthology is mine… Add a link 🙂

      December 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

  4. Well, if you insist… 🙂

    Each of the three novels stand on their own, though the second and third obviously build on characters met in the previous books.

    Scout’s Honor opens the series and actually spent six weeks on Amazon’s Space Opera best sellers list during the summer of 2014.

    Scout’s Oath contains a novella and a short novel. It also features some flashbacks to well before the main characters meet each other.

    Scout’s Duty wraps up what could be called the “Scout” trilogy, bringing us to what I think is a satisfying conclusion. (Despite that, I’ve already written a fourth book — Scout’s Law — and hope to have it out sometime in 2016.)

    Many thanks for the opportunity to promote my books!

    December 10, 2015 at 7:25 am

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