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PARAGAEA: A PLANETARY ROMANCE
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: 2006
Cover by Jon Foster

Paragaea: A Planetary Romance is the story of the Akilina "Leena" Chirikov, who shortly after launching from Star Town in the Soviet Union, finds herself thrown into another dimension, a world of strange science and ancient mystery. There she meets another timelost person from Earth, Lieutenant Hieronymus Bonaventure of His Majesty's Royal Navy - who left home to fight the forces of Napoleon and never returned - and his companion, Balam - outlaw prince of the jaguar men. Bonaventure is interested only in adventure and amusement, while Balam only wants distraction until the day he can reclaim his throne. Having little better to do, they agree to help Chirikov find a way home. Along the way, they encounter ancient androids, cowboys riding pterodactyls, Atlantean wizard-kings, and lost cities of bird-men.

In the tradition of the planetary romances of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, Paragaea is in fact a "hard" science fiction adventure, grounded in the latest thinking in the fields of theoretical physics, artificial intelligence, genetics, and more. There is a rigorously rational explanation behind all of the unearthly elements, with most of the "magic" the protagonist encounters being the products of a long forgotten, transhuman, post-Singularity culture that has long since disappeared. Chirikov, a strictly rational Soviet Cosmonaut, interprets these as best she can, using the framework of early 1960s science. Being a dutiful Soviet, she wants only to return home to Earth, to inform her superiors about what she has discovered, but she soon finds herself developing ties to her companion Bonaventure that make her wonder whether she really wants to go home at all.

For more detail, visit the Paragaea site.
 


Sample Chapters available online.


Praise

"...a barbaric alternate Earth worthy of Edgar Rice Burroughs..."

Publishers Weekly

 

“Brings Edgar Rice Burroughs and Alex Raymond into the 21st century. Paragaea is nothing less than the great old pulp adventure stories, made new with the considerable modern skills of Chris Roberson.”

Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning

 author of Kirinyaga and Starship: Mutiny

Roberson's book is subtitled "a planetary romance" and seems part of a recent mini-surge of such revitalized retro-fictions, notably by such writers as Al Sarrontonio and R. Garcia y Robertson. Prior to this new generation of writers seeking to mine the musty but potent tropes of the pre-Campbell era, old hands like Michael Moorcock and Philip Jose Farmer were the prime upholders and perpetrators of such romps. Roberson has certainly learned a lot from his literary ancestors, and he manages to hit all the high notes perfectly.
Paul Di Filippo, SCIFI.com

You like sense of wonder? This book's got sense of wonder. By the bucketful. There might not be any Great Toonoolian Marshes on Paragaea, but there might as well be; Paragaea is this generation's A Princess of Mars. Read it with your mind's eye wide open, so you can take it all in.
John Joseph Adams, Intergalactic Medicine Show

 

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