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Review: The Sunless Countries – Book Four of Virga

I had William Gibson’s “Burning Chrome” in my hand in the Canadian Sci-Fi section of the library when I realized there was a fourth book in the Virga series by Karl Schroeder.

The Sunless Countries

“The Sunless Countries” continues inside the synthetic planet of Virga in the Vega star system.  Each book explains the origins and threats to this tiny balloon planet, 5 thousand kilometres in diameter, in more detail.

I do think this is as close to “Steam Punk” as a futuristic novel can be.  The mechanical, nuclear sun in the center of the balloon actually keeps out all forms of technology, including AI, computers, radio and even radar.

Above all, I love the huge political myopic movement that has the society of “Eternalists” that does not believe there is life outside the bubble of the planet, and that all live has existed there indefinitely.  Government referendums and wave of book burning is disturbingly real.

One thing that really resounds in the current Canadian context is the idea of the ruling government ensuring they remove any authority, such as scientists, that would not just argue, but prove the government’s ideology wrong. (See Canada’s firing of scientists who would inconveniently  show global warming figures).  Also in the book, the governments vilifying of anyone with an alternative view (see recent comments about how environmentalists such as David Suzuki or any concerned First Nations should be seen as eco-terrorists).

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About Gordon

Gordon is a Consultant, Trainer, CAD/GIS Integration Specialist and Web Mapping Integrator for Arrow Geomatics Inc.

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