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A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought, 1) Paperback – May 5, 2020
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Now in a new trade paperback edition for the Tor Essentials line, A Fire Upon the Deep is sure to bring a new generation of SF fans to Vinge's award-winning works.
A Hugo Award-winning Novel!
“Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today.”-David Brin
Thousands of years in the future, humanity is no longer alone in a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures, and technology, can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.
Fleeing this galactic threat, Ravna crash lands on a strange world with a ship-hold full of cryogenically frozen children, the only survivors from a destroyed space-lab. They are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle.
Tor books by Vernor Vinge
Zones of Thought Series
A Fire Upon The Deep
A Deepness In The Sky
The Children of The Sky
The Peace War
Marooned in Realtime
Tatja Grimm's World
Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge
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“Against a background depicting a space-time continuum stratified into 'zones of thought,' the author has created a rarity―a unique blend of hard science, high drama, and superb storytelling.” ―Library Journal
“A tale that burns with the brazen energy of the best space operas of the golden age. Vinge has created a galaxy for the readers of the '90s to believe in...immense, ancient, athrum with data webs, dotted with wonders.” ―John Clute, Interzone
“Vast, riveting, far-future saga...The overall concept astonishes; the aliens are developed with memorable skill and insight, the plot twists and turns with unputdownable tension. A masterpiece of universe building.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Fiercely original...Compelling ideas in the book include problems and advantages of group mind, galactic communications turbidity, and the prospect of civilizations aspiring to godhood.” ―Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog
About the Author
Vernor Vinge is the multi Hugo Award-winning author of A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, and Rainbow’s End. Known for his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction, he became an iconic figure among cybernetic scientists with the publication in 1981 of his novella "True Names," which is considered a seminal, visionary work of Internet fiction. His many books also include Marooned in Realtime and The Peace War.
Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and raised in Central Michigan, Vinge is the son of geographers. Fascinated by science and particularly computers from an early age, he has a Ph.D. in computer science, and taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for thirty years. He has gained a great deal of attention both here and abroad for his theory of the coming machine intelligence Singularity. Sought widely as a speaker to both business and scientific groups, he lives in San Diego, California.
- Publisher : Tor Books (May 5, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250237750
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250237750
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.21 x 1.25 x 9.34 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #320,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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1. The main "alien" world in this book is medieval England–with dogs. It's divided into city-states replete with castles, dungeons, balconies, scrolls, tables, cabinets, bows and arrows. (Uh, don't bows and arrows require...fingers?) There are spies, assassins, artists apprentices–even a Queen, a council, and a Lord Chamberlain. This is Earth 2.0. I was hoping for something more inventive.
2. When I say dogs, I don't mean German Shepherds. These aliens are tiny--some are menacing and villainous. Others are as cute and cuddly as teddy bears. There are vicious wolves that the author compares to gerbils. The cute and ominous work against each other.
3. And the cute little dogs aren't the only silly aliens. We also have villainous butterflies. Then there are the Skroderiders, who seem to be intelligent potted plants on wheels. The author came up with gimmicky names for the hive-mind dogs–so we end up with Peregrine Wickwrackrun, and other polysyllabic monstrosities. I feel sorry for the poor soul who had to read this for the audio version.
4. Speaking of the language...What's a sophont? What's an agrav? My eyes glazed over. Too much excessive jargon, too few orienting details, and often insufficient explanation to help the reader visualize the action. Here are a couple of examples:
"Cricketsong is a synthetic race created as a jape/experiment/instrument by the High Willow upon its Transcendence."
"Saint Rihndell had a small harbor about sixteen million klicks around the RIP system. The move was even plausible, for it happened that there was a Skroderider terrane in the Harmonious Repose system–and currently it was just a few hundred kilometers from Rihndell's second harbor.They would rendezvous with the tusk-legs, exchanging repairs for two hundred seventeen flamed trellises. And if the trellises were perfectly matched, Rihndell promised to throw in an agrav refit."
You can sort of, kinda get what the author means–but trying to wade through page after page of this is worse than reading a manual on tractor hyperdrive repair.
5. And we also have missteps with characterization:
"After a long period of normal progress, Jefri had come back with a counterplan. It consisted of a complete reworking of the tables for the accoustic interface."
Who is Jefri?
This kid Jefri is eight years old (though his canine sidekick is a budding Stephen Hawking). But do you know any eight-year-old kid who thinks like that?
6. I'll just add that there are better stories out there. For an example of an outlandish, but somehow believable, sci-fi novel read CHILDREN OF TIME. If you like dogs with your sci-fi, I also recommend CITY by Clifford D. Simak and David W. Wixon--an older book but nicely written.
One detail is special- most authors fall over themselves when it comes to a rational description of time. How long is a day in space when humanity has filled the galaxy? How long is a week? A month? A year? All relate to the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun. Vinge solves this problem by having a base of seconds- Ksecs is 1000 secs, Msecs is a million secs, etc. A second is constant, based on oscillations of a certain element, which is the same everywhere, in space or on any planet. Ingenious! (I do not know if he created the idea, but this is the first book I have seen to use the definition. Bravo!)
The plot involves a grand sweep of history, covering many thousands of human years, and billions of years for the villian. The future-descriptions are seamless and easily understandable. I was at home with this story!
I TOTALLY recommend that you read this, it is an awesome read!
Top reviews from other countries
But I'm glad I persisted as the world described has a huge amount of variety and is truly immersive in a way I've not really come across before. You really do feel like you start to understand this huge universe of different cultures, people and aliens that are all existing, trading and fighting their way through the millienia even as more powerful intelligences carry on in planes of existence beyond our level of intelligence. And then you're whipped down to specific worlds where you follow individual characters as they live their more mundane lives and fight their own microscopic battles amongst their own people. And then it all somehow all comes together as the story reaches its climax and conclusion. It's truly an impressive work.
I've now started the prequel which describes some events earlier in the history of this universe.
I love Peter F Hamilton books and I struggle to find anything as good but I enjoyed this as much as those.
I struggled to get my head around the main race (the Tines) and once I understood the concept, I reread some chapters again, so that they made more sense.
Great characters, great story. I'm going to find another book by Vernor Vinge
Aside from the basic errors made by the publisher this book is great, galaxy spanning space opera at its very best and unlike most of the novels released these days it tells a complete self contained story without being split into 6 or more parts.