- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (13 April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857988515
- ISBN-13: 978-1857988512
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 5 x 17.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,062,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Deepness in the Sky Paperback – 13 Apr 2000
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This hefty novel returns to the Universe of Vernor Vinge's 1973 Hugo win ner A Fire Upon the Deep--but 30,000 years earlier. It has the same sense of epic vastness despite happening mostly in one isolated solar system. Here there's a world of intelligent spider- creatures who traditionally hibernate through the "Deepest Darkness" of their strange variable sun's long "off" periods, when even the atmosphere freezes. Now science offers them an alternative. Meanwhile, attracted by spider radio transmissions, two human starfleets come exploring: merchants hoping for customers, and tyrants who want slaves. Their inevitable clash leaves only crippled remnants of both fleets, with power in the wrong hands, leading to a long wait in space until the spiders develop exploitable technology. Over the years Vinge builds compelling tension through multiple story lines and characters. In the sky, hopes of rebellion against tyranny continue despite soothing lies, brutal repression and a mental bondage that can convert people into literal tools. Down below, the engagingly sympathetic spiders have their own problems. In flashback, we see the grandiose ideals and ultimate betrayal of the merchant culture's founder, now among the human contingent and pretending to be a senile buffoon while plotting, plotting. Major revelations, ironies and payoffs follow. A powerful story in the grandest SF tradition. -- David Langford
"Huge, intricate, and ingenious, with superbly realized aliens: a chilling spellbinding dramatization of the horrors of slavery and mind control."--"Kirkus Reviews "(pointer review)
"A feast of imagination. As always, Vinge satisfies with richly imagined worlds and a full-flavored story."--Greg Bear
"Wonderfully engaging!"--"Cleveland Plain Dealer"
Huge, intricate, and ingenious, with superbly realized aliens: a chilling spellbinding dramatization of the horrors of slavery and mind control. "Kirkus Reviews (pointer review)"
A feast of imagination. As always, Vinge satisfies with richly imagined worlds and a full-flavored story. "Greg Bear"
Wonderfully engaging! "Cleveland Plain Dealer""
"Huge, intricate, and ingenious, with superbly realized aliens: a chilling spellbinding dramatization of the horrors of slavery and mind control." --Kirkus Reviews (pointer review)
"A feast of imagination. As always, Vinge satisfies with richly imagined worlds and a full-flavored story." --Greg Bear
"Wonderfully engaging!" --Cleveland Plain Dealer--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps it was a mistake to market this as related to A Fire Upon the Deep in any way; there are only tenuous cross-references and a reader hoping to "learn more" from this prequel will be disappointed. Rather, the story should be treated as an excellent - and involving - yarn in its own right.
The spider-analog aliens do have particularly human emotions. I thought that was the point. In the course of reading this you will develop genuine empathy for creatures most would find otherwise physically repugnant.
The plot follows a complex path alternating between human and spider-analog themes and the competition of rival factions within each. The crescendo is the final coming-together. Personally I found the development and conclusion highly imaginative and very rewarding.
This is a prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, set in the days of the Qeng Ho from which Pham Nuwen rose. It's works perfectly fine as a standalone novel and in my opinion even outshines it's great predecessor.
The zones so important to the first book are merely hinted upon here, but this novel features the most fascinating and detailed description of an alien society I've read (even beating that in The Mote Series. You can't help but like the creepy looking aliens, while the humans in the story often behave at their most despicable. Other engrossing facets are the rise of a technological society, the cold war setting and the fallacy of trusting manipulated information, computer networks and "unbreakable" encryption. Not to mention the rather unique world (or solar system) in which most of the story takes place.
A book packed full of interesting concepts and characters, this is a must read for any fellow nerd.
The storylines about the humans are all the more enthralling because these are characters you come to care about, and they're in a very sticky situation indeed. The way that the bad guys mess with their victims' minds and literally integrate them into their computer systems is chilling and memorable...
The spider-beings are another example of Vinge's greatness at inventing aliens. It's true that their society and actions are couched in human terms, but that made them all the more understandable without glossing over their alienness.
It did take a fair few pages to get me hooked, though. If you're looking for something that will grip you from page one, this might not be for you...
Like Vinge's other fiction, this book is host to a number of "big ideas" that take the stage along with the actions and inactions of the characters. They include:
An alien species--the Spiders--that seems far less alien than they really should. What seems like bad writing through much of the book is given a reasonable explanation in the end. These creatures are interesting and even--heaven help me--cute.
A variable star turns on and off at regular intervals. The possible explanations are intriguing as are its effects on the evolution of life on its planets.
A tailored "mindrot" virus produces various neurological effects, including an exaggerated ability to concentrate called "Focus." The virus is both a disease and an altered state that makes workers diligent, productive and savant-like.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favourite of the Zones of Thought books. The scale is more approachable than A Fire Upon the Deep and the story is more emotive (though A Fire Upon the Deep is great too). Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mr. M. Sinclair
BRILLIANT. An EPIC of SF. The way he writes the Spiders into the story is Masterful and surprising.Published 19 months ago by Mr. Paul A. Harmsworth
Now that is quality Science Fiction!!!!
Buy this book. Not part of any series. Stands on its own. Mr Vinge presents the big picture
This is Vinge's second novel in the "Zones of Thought" series and takes place approx 20,000 years prior to the events of the first novel. Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2013 by Amazon Customer
I've read three of Vinge's novels now. I started with Across Realtime which I read a decade or so ago, then more recently (2012) A Fire Upon the Deep closely followed by this tome. Read morePublished on 6 Jun. 2012 by Kindle Customer
Typically, I can read a 700+ page book in a week (Asher and Reynolds to name a few). I've been known to devour 1,000+ page tomes in five days (Hamilton for one). Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2011 by 2theD
I found this book impossible to put down. The development of the characters, the evil podmasters, Pham Nuwen, the Spider society - it was all fascinating. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2007 by Susan W