Book/page totals

Top 10 Lists

Saturday, September 29, 2007

cover of A Fire upon the Deep

I've been hearing good things about Vinge for a while, and finally read the book he is (I think) most famous for. It took me a while to get into this one, but when I did I found it completely engaging. This book presents a fascinating vision of the universe, full of diverse life-forms and aliens. The big idea is that there are different "zones" in different parts of space where different technologies function-- in the slower zones, like Earth, there is no faster-than-light travel and the more complex technologies don't work. In the higher zones, beings can evolve into something like gods (or "transcend"). What sets all the conflict of this book into motion is a group of humans discovering an old archive near the Transcend and awakening an ancient and powerful evil being. The rest of the book is the story of the battle against this being as it grows more and more powerful, taking over civilizations and starting interstellar wars.

Vinge has created a fascinating and compelling universe, and particularly interesting are the alien life-forms. There are the clever Tines, a pack-mind creature made up of several dog-like animals communicating and thinking together at subsonic levels-- they can live for centuries, with different members of their packs dying out and new ones taking their place. Also, the skroderiders-- a plant-like creature riding a mechanical "skrode," which provides them with the short-term memory they would otherwise lack.

Great science fiction, fascinating and compelling. This book is the beginning of a series, but it stands perfectly on its own as well.

Title:A Fire upon the Deep
Author:Vernor Vinge
Date published:1992
Genre:Science Fiction
Series:Zones of Thought
Number of pages:391


Google Search