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A Hugo award-winning Novel!"Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today." —David BrinThirty-Thousand years before A Fire Upon the Deep, humans . Zones of Thought: A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky EPUB with a UK issued credit card and all our eBooks (ePub and PDF) are DRM protected. by Vernor Vinge. Read online, or download in DRM-free EPUB format. (A Fire Upon the Deep, The Children of the Sky, A Deepness in the Sky). by Vernor .

The plot moves at a slow, steady burn, so it never seems to drag, or at least it didn't to me. We spend some time in characters' heads. We get to know them, and like them, or hate them. This is important for the story because nobody ever quite understands everything that's going on, though they all try to do so. Heavy with dramatic irony, then, where the reader knows a bit more than the characters, sees collisions building but can't do much about it.

Maybe I missed the hints, though. The Spider writing struck me as even more clever once this happened though, with the revelation that there was a story reason for the Spiders starting out human and becoming gradually more alien: That was tremendously well done.

One of the more impressive pieces of writing legerdemain that comes to mind. This was not a cheap manipulation. Fantastic stuff. It's one of those times where the literary merit of science fiction kind of sneaks up on you. The far-future humans can find some common ground with the Spiders - at least once they are being led by someone who's not an authoritarian despot.

It's "just" fiction, of course, but if the humans can get along with the Spiders, why can't we all get along on Earth? Not to say that we always will, but we could, if getting along was something that was desired by the people in power. Heartily recommended to anyone who can get over the spaceships and the aliens to enjoy a good story. Jun 21, Andrew Leon rated it liked it.

If you remember back to that book, I said I was only going to read this one if it was better, and it was better, better enough that I wanted to know what happened even though I had some major issues with the book going in. And this one was slow, too, but not quite as slow as Fire. But let's just cut to it The first major issue with this book is that it's barely related to the first book in this "trilogy. Like, there's a character Well, it's like going to a party somewhere and meeting someone who is your very distant relative through marriage.

Or, maybe, two marriages.

Like, you know, the divorced spouse of your fourth cousin twice removed. That's how related this book is to the first book. They're both set in the same party, um Which is probably part of why I liked it, because I thought the first book was, for lack of a better word, stupid.

Which is not to say that this book doesn't also have a strong dose of stupid, the main one being a star that turns itself on and off.

Yeah, like it has a switch, except that it's on a timer. So for a couple of centuries, it's a faintly glowing dwarf somethingorother, then it will flare to life and burn bright for 50 years or so then go back out. And, somehow, there's life on the planet that orbits the star, highly evolved life, that has adapted to this pattern, something we're not even going to touch, because the problem is the star. There is no explanation offered for this. It's just some mystery of the universe.

Or, maybe, it's an alien artifact. We don't care enough to try and find out, and the author doesn't offer any kind of rational explanation for it. Because, you know, physics, and physics doesn't allow for something like this, so the author didn't bother other than that it enabled the plot he wanted.

Look, if you're going to make up some piece of stupid shit like this for your story, you need to at least offer some kind of explanation as to why it exists. Well, unless you're Lewis Carroll and your whole book is full of the absurd. The next major issue I had was the aliens.

There's a problem with aliens in sci-fi and that's that almost always the aliens turn out to be just humans in costumes.

Metaphorically speaking. The aliens act like humans, think like humans, pretty much are humans except for the fact that they look some other way, though, frequently, they're also based on bipedal symmetry, just like humans.

I have a philosophical difference with this approach to aliens. If they're aliens make them act I don't know In some way! Make them different other than just cosmetically. Vinge completely fails to do this with his spider creatures. Look, I get it: Aliens are hard, but at least make the effort. Rather than make the effort, though, Vinge makes excuses and tries to pass it off as the humans in the book anthropomorphizing the spiders as they learn about them, and that does work for certain sections of the book BUT there are clearly sections where the humans have no relation to what's going on with the spiders, and the spiders still act just like humans.

He barely ever mentions the fact that they extra limbs. It's like they're just hanging around useless For all of that, though, the story was interesting enough to keep me involved, which says a lot about it considering the fact that I came into it with the idea that it needed to do something right away to get me to keep reading it.

Mostly, that had to do with the characters, which were much better than the characters in the previous book.

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I especially liked Sherkaner Underhill; he's probably the reason I kept going at the beginning. Actually, there are a lot of good and likable characters in this, just don't get too attached to most of them.

Vinge is a bit like George RR Martin in that respect. They are all the characters who must die to prove the situation is serious. Or they all could be, and you never know which ones will make it through. The book is also incredibly topical from a political standpoint, and that part I found very interesting.

The political conflicts among the spiders, with their truth-denying conservative faction undermining the more progressive scientific community is somewhat engrossing. It wouldn't have surprised me if dogmatic religious spider had started saying, "Climate change is a hoax.

But is the book, as a whole, worth reading? I don't know.

The Children of the Sky

I would just skip the first one for sure if you think you might be interested in this one. Since this one serves as some kind of "prequel" for the other one in that it happens chronologically first, it might even be better to read this one first. But, really, unless you're just into hard sci-fi, I would give these books a pass. I'm not going on to the third book but, then, it's the actual sequel to the first book, and I didn't like any of those characters, and I don't care what happens "next".

Last note: Having said all of that, I do have some ideas about how this book relates to the first book in a more substantial way, but there's no way to verify any of it; it's all speculation on my part and, although it would be neat, it also doesn't matter, not to the story.

Maybe if there's ever a fourth book and Vinge pulls all of these threads he's left lying around together, maybe, I'll read that one; otherwise, I don't plan on reading anymore Vinge.

Jul 22, Palmyrah rated it liked it. An interesting variation on a science fiction theme I am especially fond of, the first-contact story. In this case, the monstrous alien invaders are the humans, conspiring to foment nuclear war among a race of unsuspecting intelligent arachnoids.

To make things more interesting and give us some anthropomorphs to cheer for , the humans are also divided up into good guys and bad guys. Of course, the above variation has already been explored in SF. Frederik Pohl's Jem springs to mind; indeed, Pohl An interesting variation on a science fiction theme I am especially fond of, the first-contact story. Frederik Pohl's Jem springs to mind; indeed, Pohl seems to be a strong influence on Vinge, and I was reminded of the former many times while reading this book.

Pohl is, however, by far the better writer. Vinge, a professor of mathematics by day, doesn't seem to be able to write convincing characters. Out of a cast of dozens, he manages to make us care about just one: The real humans are all cardboard. Of course, cardboard characters are pretty much to be expected in hard SF. The virtues of the genre lie elsewhere, and its aficionados rightly don't give a toss for the traditional literary ones.

But Vinge has problems that go beyond the usual. For one thing, he aims higher.

A deepness in the sky

However, he reveals an amateur's clumsiness in deploying his characters, clearly finding it hard to move them around and make them interact convincingly.

Nearly all the scenes involving human interaction are cartoonish and unconvincing. This includes scenes featuring the aliens, who are presented to us by the author as human in all respects but the physical. This, incidentally, is one of many places in the text where the reader's willing suspension of disbelief falters, for the aliens are utterly different from us in terms of their physical structure, sensory perceptions, instinctive tropisms and reproductive behaviour. Even given the excuse that we see them, for most of the book, through the mediating lens of human perception, they shouldn't be quite so like us.

Surely these physical differences must make for mental ones as well? But Vernor Vinge appears to be immune to the fascinations of speculative xenopsychology, and we are left with creatures that look like giant spiders but act just like people.

Other aspects of the plot also beggar belief. The regularly interrupted social evolution of the arachnoids nevertheless proceeds incredibly fast — they go from early experiments with internal-combustion engines to intercontinental ballistic missiles within a single generation.

The turning of the human Ezr Vinh, a critical plot element, is based on an impossible chain of extrapolations from an obscure hint dropped by another character.

A starship explicitly not designed for operating within a planetary atmosphere, last seen falling at one hundred metres per second, wreathed in flames and starting to break up, somehow manages to land without killing its crew.

Civilizations rise and fall within the timeframe of a mere thousand years, yet humans undertake trading voyages between the stars that last for centuries. The whole thing is confused and rather nonsensical.

The author is so uninvolved with his characters that he casually dumps the two most sympathetic ones for good in a scene that takes place offstage. Indeed, many vital scenes are pushed offstage. Among them is the action climax of the novel, the aforementioned starship crash.

Perhaps it's just as well; the only big action scene in the book, which takes place inside the chief bad guy's artificial water-garden, is a clumsy, sodden mess.

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The chief villain's comeuppance is also unsatisfyingly quick and merciful, while that of his sadistic lieutenant takes place — again, and frustratingly — offstage. This is a scene we are dying to see through his eyes, but he's long gone by the time we hear what's happened to him.

Equally incompetent are the handling of an early, mandatory scene in which the bad guys are revealed to be sadistic perverts, and various other scenes of violence, cruelty or complex action — frankly, the author is too squeamish to write them properly, and he shouldn't even have tried.

So, with all these complaints, why am I giving this book three stars? Well, it kept me reading. Some of the technical ideas were interesting, though nothing was actually new or even very freshly rendered. And first-contact stories are my favourite kind of hard SF story. Yes, there were times when I grew bored with the endless backstory expositions, the cartoon characters, the long, long gaps between important scenes — Vinge captures the tedium of deep-space exile only too well — but for all that, I kept reading.

Of course, I'm a genre slut — I always have round heels for SF — so for me it was a three-star book despite its decidedly two-star qualities.

I shall now go and re-read one of Iain M. Banks's Culture novels to remind myself that hard SF doesn't always have to be lousy literature. Nov 17, Peter rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's been thousands of years since humanity has spread to the stars. There is no galactic empire, the physics of star travel don't really allow for that, but there are hundreds of worlds, some of which have fallen into barbarism and recreated their civilization several times over.

But rarely has there been something truly new Two of these distantly separated branches of humanity reunite at an astrological anomaly, chasing radio signals that are truly alien The other are the Emergents, a high-tech totalitarian government.

The two naturally clash, but then find themselves having to work together to survive and secretly watch the alien culture develop.

Because neither of them can go home without the help of the alien Spiders below, who are decades away from their own Spacefaring Age This book is technically a prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep If you only plan to read one, it doesn't really matter which I've read both several times, and this time around I'm reading them in chronological order, rather than publication order. This is one of my favorite books.

It's jam-packed with ideas, breaks my hearts at times, is at moments both inspiring and depressing, and is filled with plots.

In this book you feel like you get something like 2 novels, and a bunch of extended short stories all in one package, but they all come together perfectly, and it explores enough SF concepts that could fill 5 or 6 books each focused on one idea. The book has one of the most chilling hi-tech tyrannies I've ever seen all the more so because, at it's core, there's something extremely tempting , a well-thought-out alien race with an evolutionary history that suits its strange environment, and also has one of my favorite science fiction characters, the great Pham Nuwen.

It's not a perfect book by any means, though, despite my five-star rating. There are flaws Some might feel the aliens are too "relatable" for a truly alien race however, there is a deliberate purpose to this.

I don't download into some of the social theories. And it's heavy at times on tech and jargon: This is not a book to hand to somebody who's never read SF before, or has only read a little, unless they also happen to be very well-versed in science. If you're a big SF fan, you shouldn't have any trouble understanding what's going on, but it may still put you off a little and the humans measuring all time in units like ksecs and Msecs can get frustrating even for me.

But I love it so much it deserves the score. Every time I start, it sweeps me up in the story and takes me on a ride like few others. Sep 21, Geoffrey Dow rated it it was ok. I really ought to know better by now.

It doesn't matter whether an award is given out by fans or by peers, critics or the general public, whether the criteria is ostensibly "best" this or "favourite" that.

Awards are a crap shoot, influenced by fashions, by lobbying and by plain old bad taste. That's right, I said it. Sometimes an award is given out to a book or a movie, or a play, or a poem — the list is as endless as variations in the arts that simply doesn't deserve it.

That doesn't even meri I really ought to know better by now. That doesn't even merit being on the short-list in the first place. Let me tell you about Vernor Vinge and why the golden age of science fiction is still My full review lives at Edifice Rex Online.

Yell at me here, or there. Jan 13, Richard rated it really liked it Recommends it for: This is an Michener-sized epic tale of conflict, cooperation and betrayal between two human civilizations racing to make first contact with an alien race. To a very small extent, this is a prequel to Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep — it is set much earlier in the same universe, and features the character Pham Nuwen who plays a somewhat unusual role in Fire.

While Fire involves the interactions between many races, Deepness takes place before humans had met any other technological civilizations. It This is an Michener-sized epic tale of conflict, cooperation and betrayal between two human civilizations racing to make first contact with an alien race. It is the story of a race to that first meeting, but the books have other similarities. In both books, the new alien race is relatively primitive in technological terms, and in both books Vinge describes how a radically non-human society and non-human physical type explores the same science and technology that we recognize from our own history.

Also, both stories involve the convergence of two conflicts: The two tracks accelerate towards a breathless convergence when contact is made, at which points all subplots and tensions resolve within a few dozen pages. Wikipedia's definition for Space Opera would seem to preclude this from being included due to the lack of a central romance , but if Star Wars "closely follows many traditional space opera conventions", then so does Vinge's Fire and Deepness: Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful and sometimes quite fanciful technologies and abilities.

Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale. Vinge's books are more complex than Star Wars , but otherwise similar in these respects.

The increased complexity is understandable — this book is in the 97th percentile for word count , so we're talking very long for a science fiction book.

But don't worry — it's at a comfortable 6. Strongly recommended for moderately advanced science fiction fans.

Dec 01, Jennifer rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I had a little trouble getting into this book the first time, put it down and tried again a few months later. The main problem, initially, was that I couldn't figure out how the two main story lines were related The second time through, it became obvious that the "Sherkaner Underhill" character and his people were the spider aliens that the two human cultures were travelling to make contact with, though you really can't tell, from the narrative, that they I had a little trouble getting into this book the first time, put it down and tried again a few months later.

The second time through, it became obvious that the "Sherkaner Underhill" character and his people were the spider aliens that the two human cultures were travelling to make contact with, though you really can't tell, from the narrative, that they aren't humans.

I think this is intentional, actually, for reasons that become clear near the end of the book. Vingt does something very difficult here His two human cultures are quite good, too: The two sides have joined forces to visit the OnOff star, a bizarre solar system that alternates 40 years of warm "on" time, when its sole planet becomes inhabitable, with years of dark "off" time when even the atmosphere freezes and precipitates out of the sky.

The spider people have adapted to their environment by hibernating deep in the earth. It is their sleeping holes or "deepnesses" that give the book its title. The two human cultures arrive together and fight almost immediately, crippling their ships and leaving the Emergents in charge. Without the resources to repair their equipment, they must wait for the spider people to develop technology so that they can go home.

I'm not going to give away the ending, but the Emergents have a technology called "Focus" which makes human beings into something like computers, completely focused on their work, but almost unaware of anything outside it. It's a form of slavery, very interesting concept Anyway, I never would have read this book, or even known about it, except for a GoodReads recommendation, so score one for the network.

Nov 13, Peter Tillman rated it really liked it Shelves: An excellent book, that I don't love quite as much as "A Fire Upon the Deep" -- but it's still pretty amazing. The review to read is Jo Walton's. Anyone can write a character whose dreams have failed.

And yet, this is a ch An excellent book, that I don't love quite as much as "A Fire Upon the Deep" -- but it's still pretty amazing. And yet, this is a cheerful optimistic book in which awful things happen but good wins out. Sep 18, Gavin rated it really liked it Shelves: A beautiful portrait of pragmatism vs idealism, colonialism and collaboration, surveillance culture vs everything, the possibility of deep translation, the beauty and gaucheness of trade, and the ultimate fate of civilisations.

Programming went back to the beginning of time. It was a little like the midden out back of his father's castle… There were programs here written five thousand years ago, before Humankind ever left Earth. The wonder of it — the horror of it… down at the very bottom of it A beautiful portrait of pragmatism vs idealism, colonialism and collaboration, surveillance culture vs everything, the possibility of deep translation, the beauty and gaucheness of trade, and the ultimate fate of civilisations.

The wonder of it — the horror of it… down at the very bottom of it was a little program that ran a counter. The smooth-talking fascist antagonists are a bit too simple, a bit Harkonnen ; their mind-raping slavery, their inversion of justice by lying perfectly, their flat-toned planning of atrocities: The "Focused", the mindwiped slaves are extremely creepy; weaponised savants see Ada Palmer's set-sets for a less straightforward treatment of human computers. Pham Nuwen, the great programmer-statesman, is far more interesting here than in the first book.

He stands out in a large cast of interesting characters, all laying down schemes and intrigues with at minimum 20 years until payoff at maximum years. Not ordinary, but not unrealistic; there have been dozens like him, possessed of or by the force that drives Napoleon off his island, Washington over the river, Alexander everywhere.

He is a psychopath: The [armed fascists] might try to chase him around in here. That would be fun; Nau's goons would find just how dangerous their tunnels had become The evolutionary role of such people - both the fearless hero, Nuwen, and the bloodthirsty predator, Nau - is not handled explicitly, but Pham is held up as a paragon.

The arachnid aliens are much better than the hivehounds of the last book: Vinge and his translator characters' anthropomorphisations or, rather, personalisations are successful. Though maybe I'm just biased because the Spiders are shown going through their Information Revolution rather than their Pre-Renaissance period.

It shows the deep connection between lack of economic growth, lack of intellectual growth and lack of social progress. The great scientist Sherkaner is also the one to challenge his society's sexual oppression.

It's an exquisite portrait of the great promise and risk of a technological society; you get the end of hunger and disease, you get spaceflight, but you also get nuclear standoffs. There are wonderful symmetries between the Spiders and humans: The title looks clumsy but isn't: Pham would get their localizers in return for decent medical science. Both sides would benefit enormously. Magnate Larson would live a few extra centuries.

If he was lucky, the current cycle of his civilization would outlive him. But a thousand years from now, when Larson was dust, when his civilization had fallen as the planetbound inevitably did—a thousand years from now, Pham and the Qeng Ho would still be flying between the stars.

And they would still have the Larson localizers But I am Qeng Ho. I sleep decades between the stars. You Customer civilizations are ephemera to us. Stayed up late to finish it. Social development: The Qeng Ho - the empire without a capital, the force without an army - are a lovely depiction of the humanistic and progressive side of trade. The Emergents are maybe a little too simple, too feudal and dastardly. Software development: Central to the plot titanic cruft as feature , with a subtle twist on the horror of legacy systems: That might sound ridiculous, but I promise you I see this story in miniature everywhere at my work.

No one does it better. Actual Science: Lots, with a breathless romp through all of C20th physics and engineering - though there's also a magic antigrav ore. Prava je poslastica, od prve pa sve do zadnje stranice. Kakva dobra ideja! Mar 16, Kim rated it liked it. Aug 14, Bryan rated it it was ok Shelves: Vinge is the originator of one of my favorite sci-fi concepts called Zones of Thought. Essentially, that the cosmos is not uniform in what is actually possible. For example, Faster-Than-Light travel could be possible in other areas of the known universe and enhanced intelligences brought about by a Singularity event might occur more easily elsewhere.

During these events, a concurrent history of the Spider civilization unfolds — mainly through the picaresque , and then increasingly political and technocratic, experiences of a small group of liberal-minded and progressive Spiders.

Their struggles against ignorance and obsolescent traditions are coloured with oddly human-like descriptions and nomenclature, prefiguring some major plot revelations towards the end of the story.

Far above, after a close fight, the Emergents subjugate the Qeng Ho; but losses to both sides force them to combine and adopt the so-called "Lurker strategy", monitoring and aiding the Spiders' technological development, waiting until they build up the massive infrastructure and technological base that the visitors need in order to repair their vessels.

The mindrot virus originally manifested itself on the Emergents' home world as a devastating plague, but they subsequently mastered it and learned to use it both as a weapon and as a tool for mental domination. Emergent culture uses mindrot primarily in the form of a variant which technicians can manipulate in order to release neurotoxins to specific parts of the brain. An active MRI -type device triggers changes through dia- and paramagnetic biological molecules.

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By manipulating the brain in this way, Emergent managers induce obsession with a single idea or specialty, which they call Focus , essentially turning people into brilliant appliances. Many Qeng Ho become Focused against their will, and the Emergents retain the rest of the population under mass surveillance , with only a portion of the crew not in suspended animation.

The Qeng Ho trading culture gradually starts to dilute this, by demonstrating to the Emergents certain benefits of tolerated and restricted free trade ; the two human cultures merge to some extent over the decades of forced co-operation. Pham Nuwen , the founder of the Qeng Ho trading culture, is living aboard the fleet under the pseudonym Pham Trinli, posing as an inept and bumbling fleet elder.

He subverts the Emergents' own oppressive security systems through a series of high-risk ruses. During his plotting he begins to admire the Emergents' Focus technology, seeing it as the missing link in his lifelong goal to create a true interstellar empire and break the cycle of collapse-and-rebuild that plagues human planetary civilizations. The plan to wrest fleet control from the Emergents, however, requires the co-operation of Ezr Vinh, a much younger Qeng Ho who, through attrition, has become the Qeng Ho "Fleet Manager".

Ezr's position as the unique liaison officer between Qeng Ho and Emergents leads him to despair, and he accepts Pham Nuwen's offer to join a plot against the Emergents as a way to personal redemption as well as to take revenge against the Emergents. However, his understanding of Pham's ambitions for Focus technology leads to a confrontation between them over the future use of Focus by the Qeng Ho. With new knowledge of the effects and victims of Focus, Pham is forced to admit the cost is too high, and the two reach an agreement and continue their plotting.

The critical moment comes when the Emergents attempt to provoke a nuclear war on the Spider home-world in order to seize power.

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Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Book details Author: Vernor Vinge Pages: St Martin s Press Language: English ISBN Description this book Title: If you want to download this book, click link in the last page 5. You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips.That doesn't even meri I really ought to know better by now.

It's a good twist, it really is, but I couldn't help feeling robbed; without reading the book again there's no way to be sure, but I don't think I could have pieced any of it together until it happened. Combining problem. It has a slightly smaller scope than A Fire Upon the Deep which allows for more emotional investment in the fate of the characters.

All quite enjoyable. Still, the book is not fluffy, and he introduces his science subtly, building an entire system for the readers, without ever causing the book to lose its heart.

Surely these physical differences must make for mental ones as well? I liked A Fire Upon the Deep. It's a form of literal intellectual slavery, a substitute for the lack of high-performance computing that's the legacy of living in the "Slow Zone" of the galaxy, where no artificial intelligence is possible.

Tomas Nau is in many ways a moustache-twirling villain, complete with the sadistic right-hand minion Ritser Brughel and the indispensable trusted lieutenant Anne Reynolt.

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