Permanence (novel)

Permanence is a 2002 science fiction novel by Karl Schroeder.


The novel tells the story of two characters, Rue Cassels and Michael Bequith, and their encounter with an alien spacecraft the humans have named "Jentry's Envy." Schroeder uses the story as a venue for discussing the information economy and philosophy.

Information Economy

In the Rights Economy, introduced by Schroeder in his 2000 novel Ventus, all physical objects are nano-tagged so that payment may be enforced for all uses of proprietary information. The result is a libertarian dystopia. Schroeder assumes solutions to the problems of conducting trade in space conducted almost entirely through intangible goods--some form of interstellar money (Pp.86, 321)--without explaining the underlying problem of creating such a currency or how the solution was devised.

upreme Meme

Schroeder recycles Friedrich Nietzsche's myth of the eternal return to critique all organized religion with a plot device he describes as the Supreme Meme. The philosophic question asked is whether or not the subject would choose to relive the same life over again "exactly as it was, no detail spared?" (Pp. 232-233).

Literary significance and reception

Roberta Johnson in her review for Booklist said "by turns exciting and thoughtful, pitiless and romantic, Schroeder's excellent novel is the best kind of coming-of-age novel, one that seizes the imagination and the emotions."cite journal|last=Johnson|first=Roberta |date=April 15, 2002|title=Permanence (Book)|journal=Booklist|volume=Vol. 98|issue=Issue 16|pages=p1390|issn=00067385] Booklist praised the novel saying "once again, the plot--of which the foregoing is barely a hint--arises organically from the backdrop and characters: thoughtful, well-informed, insightful work, with a sharp yet subtle political subcontext, catapulting Schroeder into SF's front rank."cite journal|date=March 1, 2002|title=PERMANENCE (Book)|journal=Kirkus Reviews|volume=Vol. 70|issue=Issue 5|pages=p297|issn=00426598] The Library Journal said "the author of Ventus showcases his gift for panoramic storytelling in this story of a young woman's struggle to find her place in a world where trust and friendship are rare treasures."cite journal|last=Cassada|first=Jackie|date=May 5, 2002|title=Permanence (Book)|journal=Library Journal|volume=Vol. 127|issue=Issue 9|pages=p129|issn=03630277] Christine C. Menefee in her review for School Library Journal said "this suspenseful, complex tale asks many intriguing questions and illustrates more scientific principles than a semester of science labs. Some readers might not quite follow all of the rapid twists and turns, but they will want to hang on to reach the story's satisfying conclusion, where a thoughtful solution emerges amid plenty of fireworks." [cite journal|date=September 2002|title=Permanence (Book)|journal=School Library Journal|volume=Vol. 48|issue=Issue 9|pages= p257|issn=03628930]


* [ James Schellenberg]



* Schroeder, Karl, 2002. "Permanence," New York: Tom Doherty. ISBN 076530371X.

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