I love audio fiction. It's one of my favourite outcomes of interweb and mobile connections: Exercise is far less boring when I can listen to some amazing story at the same time.
The Sultan of the Clouds is a space opera kind of story set on the planet Venus. It's got love, of a hopeless kind, a strange, but human, culture to explore, and a conspiracy to expose.
It's the story of a young man, David Tinkerman, who accompanies a woman, Leah, to Venus. Leah is a famous scienteist and it's her brains that the Sultan of the Clouds, Carlos for short, wants to explore. As the story progresses, David realises that Carlos, a very clever 15 year old, has further plans for Leah, but why?
The cities of Venus float in the toxic clouds of that planet. This is a story that likes to explain how that kind of thing works. The wealthy of Venus enjoy a kind of hang-gliding sport. When David is invited to participate he has an accident. This leads to a meeting with pirates, who, he somehow works out, are actually the good guys. He agrees to spy for him, and they trust him to do so.
So who are the baddies, and what's their agenda? Will David and Leah get together?
The Sultan of the Clouds by Geoffrey A Landis
Audio at Starship Sofa
Or read it at Asimov's.