Permanence by Karl Schroeder

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Young Rue Cassels of the Cycler Compact -- a civilization based around remote brown dwarf stars -- is running for her life from her bullying brother, Jentry, who has stolen her family inheritance and threatens to sell her into slavery. Fleeing in a shuttle spacecraft from the sparsely populated and austere comet-mining habitat she has lived in her whole life, she spots a distant, approaching object, and stakes a legal claim to it. It is not the valuable comet she hoped for but something even more wonderful, an abandoned Cycler starship.

Since the discovery of a faster-than-light drive, unfortunately operable only between larger stars, the Cycler Compact civilization has gradually dwindled. It's much cheaper for the star-based civilizations of the new Rights Economy to bypass the stops that can't be made with the new technology, and the civilizations of the brown stars are gradually sinking into anarchy and chaos. It has been decades since the last Cycler ship passed anywhere near the system in which Rue grew up. Her discovery unleashes a fury of action, greed, and interstellar intrigue as many factions attempt to take advantage of the last great opportunity to revitalize-and perhaps control--the Compact.

This is the story of Rue's quest to visit and claim this ship and its treasures, set against a background of warring empires, strange alien artifacts, and fantastic science. It is a story of hope and danger, of a strange and compelling religion, Permanence, unique to this star-faring age, and of the rebirth of life and belief in a place at the edge of forever.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


About Karl Schroeder

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KARL SCHROEDER lives in Toronto, Ontario. 
Published March 14, 2003 by Tor Books. 480 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Young Rue Cassels, fleeing her abusive, ignorant brother Jentry, arrives at the halo world Erythrion just in time to detect what turns out to be not merely a derelict cycler but an alien vessel.

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SF Site

I was a bit disappointed that the cyclers had become obsolete by Permanence time -- well, sort of -- and I hope that Schroeder returns to earlier times in the future history of the Cycler Compact.

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SF Site

These politics, central to the book, concern two basic groups of worlds: the "halo" worlds, home to most of the earliest Earth colonies, and linked by a declining fleet of slower-than-light "cyclers", and the "lit" worlds, orbiting suns massive enough for fusion, and also massive enough that fast...

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SF Signal

In the book’s action-packed opening sequence, she manages to escape the halo worlds and fortunately stumbles upon a derelict alien Cycler that could mean salvation for the halo worlds.

Jun 04 2004 | Read Full Review of Permanence

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