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A Fire Upon The Deep (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 9 Mar 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (9 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857981278
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857981278
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

In this Hugo-winning 1991 SF novel, Vernor Vinge gives us a wild new cosmology, a galaxy-spanning "Net of a Million Lies", some finely imagined aliens, and much nail-biting suspense.

Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unpredictable, godlike "Powers". When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilisations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.

Serious complications follow. One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit. On his destination world, the fascinating Tines are intelligent only in combination: named "individuals" are small packs of the dog-like aliens. Primitive doesn't mean stupid, and opposed Tine leaders wheedle the young castaways for information about guns and radios. Low-tech war looms, with elaborately nested betrayals and schemes to seize Out of Band if it ever arrives. The tension becomes extreme... while half the Beyond debates the issues on galactic Usenet.

Vinge's climax is suitably mind-boggling. This epic combines the flash and dazzle of old-style space opera with modern, polished thoughtfulness. Pham Nuwen also appears in the nifty prequel set 30,000 years earlier, A Deepness in the Sky. Both recommended. --David Langford

Review

"Fleeing a menace of galactic proportions, a spaceship crashes on an unfamiliar world, leaving the survivors--a pair of children--to the not-so-tender mercies of a medieval, lupine race. Responding to the crippled ship's distress signal, a rescue mission races against time to retrieve the children and recover the weapon they need to prevent the universe from being changed forever. 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""Vernor Vinge's best novel yet."--Greg Bear, author of "Moving Mars""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""The first grand SF I've read in ages...Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today." --David Brin, author of "Earth""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" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
Vinge has often stated his problems with science fiction- the prospect of an impending Singularity, when human society becomes incomprehensible and unimaginable to us, and impossible for the author to describe. This book, and its companion, A Deepness in the Sky, are set in Vinge's solution to this problem: a universe where physical laws are graded in different regions of the Galaxy - here in the Slow Zone, faster than light travel and communications, and superhuman artificial intelligences are impossible; the Beyond, where FTL and strong AI are possible, and then the Transcend, where entire races can pass through the Singularity and become Powers, before vanishing in some fashion within a few years.
Most of the book takes place in the Beyond; glorious space opera, in a galaxy of interstellar empires, god-like Powers, and the newly rebooted ultimate computer virus/evil god, the Blight. The opening prologue itself is stunning, just for the amount of information compressed by implication into a handful of pages; and it gets better from there. There's an interstellar communications network, with just enough bandwidth for a Galactic Usenet, littered with misinformation and occasionally hilarious wacko speculation about current events ("Is it true that humans have six limbs? If so, there may be a simple explanation..."). Throw in fascist butterflies ("Death to Vermin!"), truly *strange* aliens and a frantic pursuit over thousands of light years, all the way into the Slow Zone, for possession of a Transcendent device that can possibly stop the Blight, and it's not surprising the book was voted a Hugo award winner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dave on 23 Mar 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was full of fascinating ideas from start to finish. The author brings in new ideas about the different cultures and tech's in true sci-fi style (imho) by letting you realise just before the full (and interesting) explanation is given what the core content is going to be. The ideas contained are both small and global and are still very strong in my mind at least 5 books and a couple of months later.
I could not recommend this book highly enough. Go and read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader on 3 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Dr Vinge is, in my opinion, one of the best sci fi authors alive. This is the first book I read of his, and I was hooked. The worlds Dr Vinge creates stay with you - a rare achievement. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Nov 1998
Format: Paperback
I actually read this some years ago, when it first came out in the UK, so I can't make too many specific comments. However, I would certainly like to add my agreement to the previous reader's remarks. This is a real galaxy-spanning, "sense of wonder" type book. Intelligent space opera for the nineties. I'd also recommend any other Vinge book, especially the Peace War & Marooned in Realtime (sometimes published together as Across Realtime).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CjW VINE VOICE on 9 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of over-rated books recently - but this grabbed my imagination and attention. Can't put it down! A story across galaxies with brilliant extrapolation regarding the alieness of other living beings and inter-action between them.
Not a science fantasy book; but a science fiction masterpiece with the imagaination of the great Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. Someone reccomend me more like these!
Marvellous- worth waiting for the re-print to come out. Thats a good hint in itself is it not!
CjW BSc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. McDonnell on 20 May 2008
Format: Paperback
A very satisfying book, combining grand themes, a strong narrative, and excellent and thoroughly well thought-out ideas for alien races, societies and technologies. I particularly liked the approach to the predicament of a starship's captain, forced to make unaided decisions which will change the course of history - this was in the tradition of the best naval historical fiction, as it should be, with a good dose of espionage and treachery thrown in. The closest comparable book, for me, is Iain Banks' The Algebraist - high praise.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
Vinge takes all the best ideas from both Fantasy and Sci-fi and masterly crafts them into this book. Everything from epic galactic space battles, Inspired new technologies and mind bogglingly constucted aliens, to Medieval feuds, Makavelian plotting and amazingly in depth characters.
The plot doesnt just keep you guessing all the way to the end, but makes you re-evaluate that guess every chapter. Just as you think the good guys are finally gaining the upper hand, the bad guys pull out another trump card.
Not only does Vinge bring all this alive by going into extreme detail with character development but also the science behind it. Among other concepts like the "Ramscoop" and "Slow Zone", the Tines race is an inspired concoction by Vinge and he introduces and portrays them beyond reproach to provide a deeply rich and Wonderous backdrop for one half of the struggle against the Blight.
In summary A Fire Upon The Deep is a space opera of unsurpassed proportions and delving just as deep into the subtletes of human and alien psyche to produce, in short, the best book i have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 May 2000
Format: Paperback
I reckon this is the most interesting / exciting / thought-provoking scifi book I've ever read. Sure, it gets a bit wobbly on occasion but, overall its a corker.
The opening chapter is very powerful, as is the idea of the physics of the universe in which this story takes place. There is a strong feeling of the age and history and size and complexity of the universe and its assorted star-faring species.
No buts. Its a great book.
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