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For now, avoid forcing the issue with mere "lists" of works possessing an arbitrary shared characteristic, such as relating to a particular place. Avoid series that cross authors, unless the authors were or became aware of the series identification eg. Also avoid publisher series, unless the publisher has a true monopoly over the "works" in question. So, the Dummies guides are a series of works. But the Loeb Classical Library is a series of editions, not of works.

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Ariane must discover what it means to be the Leader of Humanity, both for herself and for humanity, before her enemies—at home or in the Arena—depose her, kill her, or worse. It will take all her luck, Marc DuQuesne's indomitable will, Simon Sandrisson's genius, and the peerless skill of a living legend. Paperback , pages. Published November 15th by Baen first published October 16th Grand Central Arena 2.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Spheres of Influence , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jan 23, Alan rated it liked it Recommends it for: Followers and leaders alike. Spheres of Influence is the sequel to Ryk E.

Spoor 's Grand Central Arena. This is important, because Spheres of Influence is very much not a standalone novel—you're going to want to have read Grand Central Arena before proceeding to this one, both because the initial volume in this series contains essential background and because it's a ripping good yarn in its own right. Spheres of Influence is Even after the nine-page synopsis of Grand Central Arena which I for one really needed; it's been a couple of years , it still takes awhile for Spheres of Influence to get rolling on its own.

Part of that is just a standard case of SIS Second Installment Syndrome —the introductions have all been made, the major technological and future-historical changes introduced, and the first great crisis or, rather, crises survived Spoor chooses the third option mixed with bits of the first for this sequel, which brings Marc DuQuesne, Ariane Austin, Simon Sandrisson and the rest of the gang from Grand Central Arena back—along with at least one extremely colorful new character—to the Arena for more gosh-wow, whiz-bang adventures of super-science.

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Marm, in "'Repent, Harlequin! The integrated roles of women and the respect for diversity in Spoor's series are a distinct improvement on its templates, and are—for the most part—skillfully handled. The romantic interactions between the characters are still awkward and infrequent—Spoor's bigger-than-life heroes don't really seem to know what to do with the opposite or even the same sex.

But at least the attempt is made. And the anti-authoritarian sense of the irrepressible human spirit which is so well exemplified in Ellison's short story gets integrated into both Grand Central Arena and Spheres of Influence as well—in sharp contrast to James Edwin Gunn 's novel Transcendental , which I read just before this one. In Gunn's book the tropes of pulp sci-fi term used advisedly are played entirely too straight. Spoor does have some issues he needs to work through as a writer, though. The most significant problem: While there were some genuine moments of suspense in Grand Central Arena , and while there are some apparently permanent deaths in Spheres of Influence , the question in the sequel is never whether the core gang will survive, but only how.

Spheres of Influence 's cover has to count against it to some extent, too, with its garish typography and aggressively inept art—both of which are practically Baen trademarks. I guess that awkwardly-posed, busty, leather-clad cover gal is supposed to be Ariane Austin, Leader of the Faction of Humanity Don't let all that put you off, though; the book inside is much better-constructed—and if you liked Spoor's first tale, you'll be pleased with this one too, once Marc DuQuesne, Ariane Austin and the rest of the gang get back to the Arena where, it's starting to become apparent, they really belong.

Some really important questions that were left hanging at the end of Grand Central Arena get resolved, and a few new ones are raised.

I am not disappointed by this, despite what I'll freely admit is a review that largely focuses on the negative. Spoor's been clear all along that this series is either open-ended or its end is so far in the future that it might as well be undefined. Overall, I thought Spheres of Influence was And, after all is said and done, I still want to know What Happens Next.

View all 4 comments. Aug 17, Steven rated it really liked it. I enjoyed this book as much or more than the first one. I read the ARC ebook from Baen. So there are some typos and writing issues. This type of space opera is not for everyone. But coming from the right perspective and in the right mood made me the perfect audience. I enjoyed all the characters from the first book and certain new characters introduced here. The betrayal and changes of loyalty by characters give a small touch of realism to an mostly fantasy story. A funny issue for me is that I I enjoyed this book as much or more than the first one.

A funny issue for me is that I know none of the literary references in the series. I think it is odd because I am 55 years old and have read about a book a week for my whole life. I guess it is a matter of what reading world you live in. I don't know any of the references to character names, except "Journey into the West. It only distracted from my enjoyment a little bit. I loved the world creation of the Arena. I was intrigued and fascinated with the idea of the Arena and the rules and other races.

I am even able to put up with the "magical" powers that are somewhat in evidence. Of course the book is written so I can explain the magic, if I choose. As other reviews say the character development is not at an extreme high level, but most people don't expect that in space opera. For me the character development and explication was sufficient to support the action and plot.

Speaking of action, this is the heart of the book and perhaps at the same time a source of weakness. I very much enjoyed the action and found those parts of the book edge-of-my-seat entertainment. The plot is driven by the dramatic action conflicts that occur in the story and the plot leads directly to the action.

My criticism of the action is not any kind of problem for me. In every action scene very lucky and magical events play a role. I thought these features were fine for me. I saw the results I wanted to see in the conflicts and was willing to suspend disbelief every time. But, I could imagine some readers in some moods would not be willing to go along with the fantasy level of the space opera. I say this is a great book. I think it should be read in order after the original title.

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There is continuity of characters, locations, rules and situations, that make pre-knowledge useful for a reader. This book requires a level of suspension of disbelief that means people need to enjoy space opera and are in the right mood to be able to enjoy it. People should pick up this book and prepare for a roller coaster of fun. Another reviewer posted this link to reveals about the inside jokes and references in the book don't look at until you have read the book: Jul 02, Liviu rated it it was amazing Shelves: Mar 07, Jeffrey Grant rated it really liked it.

I actually like books that are just this side of being really good, because the really really good ones end up causing me to go to semi-desperate lengths in order to finish reading. Like its predecessor, this story takes place in a wide ranging and well-thought out universe that the author only seems to engage with at a surface level.

We return to the Arena, the universal melting pot and the various species and factions that are present in it. Arianne is trying to come to terms with being the le I actually like books that are just this side of being really good, because the really really good ones end up causing me to go to semi-desperate lengths in order to finish reading.

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  • Arianne is trying to come to terms with being the leader of her faction and therefore all of Humanity in the arena in the face of a group of politicians who really want her out of the way, while dealing with the usual machinations and politics of the Arena itself. There is not a lot of action in this book, particularly compared to the previous one. Unfortunately, the main issue I had with the previous book continues here; there are a number of potential or obvious sub-plots set up in this book that appear to go nowhere.

    In the first book, determining the rules of the arena and how the crew was going to survive were the primary driving force behind everything else that was going on. It was much harder for me to identify the driving force here. At first it seems like there is going to be a lot of time spent on diplomats trying to undermine Arianne, but that plot is sidelined fairly quickly. There is also the renegade mass-murdering Hyperion that snuck into the Arena, but very little is done with that plot either, and those are only two of six or seven that present themselves.

    This book seemed like it was a lot of setup, laying the groundwork for a bunch of things that were going to occur in the next book of the series. Aug 16, Tim rated it it was amazing. I read the eARC version so a couple little things I ran across might have changed.

    I like this very much.

    Grand Central Arena: Spheres of Influence 2 by Ryk E. Spoor (2014, Paperback)

    Enough that giving it a four doesn't seem fair and a five out of place because I thought the original book in the series was just outstanding. Four - but 4. I would have been more sa I read the eARC version so a couple little things I ran across might have changed.

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    • I would have been more satisfied with a completely packaged story. And if there are more later - great. So ignoring the obvious stuff at the end, and trying to not reveal any spoilers - I'll just say - Maria-Susanna. No value added character. Those who have read the book will know both what I mean and what the author is intending I think.

      Anyway, I have a couple very minor 'writer-viewed' suggestions I could make but they have little to do with enjoying this work as a reader. Dec 09, Jeff Soyer rated it really liked it. Welcome to the second novel in the Grand Central Arena series. Spheres of Influence, by Ryk E. Spoor, Amazon link is a joyous romp in an unusually clever sci-fi fantasy story that you and your kids can enjoy. Each solar system is represented in a sphere at the Arena. This is a simplification that is much expanded and explained in the story.

      Let me try to shorten this review. Spoor has created a wonderfully thought out plot mechanism that is sure to ensure many more novels in this series. Spheres of Influence is fun, mind provoking, and a terrific read.