Fantastic book filled with many new sci-fi ideas that add flavor and discovery to every page. Vinge's obvious interest and personal depth in science and math clearly come out in the book - and yet it is his character's complex and often endearing personas that make the book so engaging. The story must have been something crafted in Vinge's mind long before he ever wrote it - the way he pulled all the pieces together to a final climactic ending that was overwhelming, elating, and yet bittersweet.
Solid novel with interesting physics, characters, and aliens. A number of new and cool concepts. Decent plot. About the writing: while VV is not likely to win an award for his literary prowess, I commend him for his straightforward style. The one negative I have is that the middle of the book seems to be much longer than necessary (Pham, Ravna, and the Skrodriders traveling through space; and the intricate details of the Tine world), but maybe that's just a pet peeve of mine, because I have made this comment on several other thick novels. Peter Larkin does a great job with the variety and quantity of voices.
It isn't often that I encounter a scifi book with entirely novel ideas, but Vernon Vinge seems to have imagined a universe that is truly unique. The setting, plot, and characters converge to create an all-engulfing experience that took me out of this world and into another. It's an adventure worth taking.
There is a reason that this book is considered to be one of the top 100 scifi books of all time.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
This is a sci-fi story about humanoid dogs who create castles, wagons, and all kinds of weapons by using tools they hold in their teeth - - Say What?! - - And then the author seems to have forgotten how to end a story. he goes on, and on, and on, and on.
If you have a nothing at all to do, it is OK.
Otherwise, save your time.
Philosophy, Science, Econ, Sci Fi, Medicine for now...
Amazing creativity, introduction to cool scientific ideas and compelled me to review Einstein, really fleshed out world that makes BSG or Hollywood Sci fi seem puerile by comparison.
Great vocal range and giving consistent voices to the different characters.
Yes but for lack of time....
My new favorite Sci Fi story.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
I spent the 2 credits for this book based solely on the fact that one reviewer stated it was like the book, "Hyperion". Thanks a lot!! This book is NOTHING like ANY of the Hyperion books. The Hyperion universe is based in science, and is actually somewhat plausible. Vinge's universe is FOR CHILDREN. Albeit, smart children, but it's for children nonetheless. If you like silly animal characters (talking dogs and bad butterflies), silly voices from the reader, and silly plot lines, then THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you are an adult, and like hard-edged ADULT sci-fi, then steer clear of this one. I am not pleased at all that one reviewer lied and cost me 2 credits. Hopefully, I'll be able to save at least one of you from the same fate!!
Having said all that, if you are young, like 10-14, and like Sci-Fi, you'll probably enjoy this book.
pleasant imaginative escapism
Vernor is a creative world builder who leaves enough room in his creations for the a listener to explore unwritten possibilities with their own imagination. This is coupled with an ability to craft a plot of sufficient complexity to hold ones attention for many hours without taxing the listener. This book challenges only in the most pleasant ways, while I was exposed to new ways of envisioning thought and the universe I always knew the "good guys" will win in the end. Kinda like letting your brain wear pajamas all day.
puppies & potted plants vs. EVIL
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
Reading the Peter F. Hamilton books of this same genre/subcategory have spoiled me with their 360 degree views and attention to detail. Maybe I'm just a geek, but for me, part of the allure of reading this type of novel is hearing some of the details about how things work. Mr. Hamilton can be overwhelming at times with the sheer amount of new/unknown things coming across in a single paragraph, but he usually does a good job of sorting it all out and explaining it in more detail further in the book. Mr. Vinge just skates along on the edge of these new technologies, new species, and new civilizations, without providing the detail a thinking person needs to buy into a sci-fi book.
I'm sorry, but after reading the book, there are so many things that the characters do, that they should not physically be able to do, that is just glossed over so that your brain is just forced to accept that a race of dogs can weave cloth, build boats, solder electronics, etc. using nothing but paws and jaws. Well, I have dogs and they have a hard time getting a tube sock off their nose, so I just couldn't buy into it.
I can buy that there is a race of plants, but they never eat, drink, or respirate. They just exist and have access to devices that run forever without ever needing any kind of energy source and without ever breaking down. My mind could only suspend the laws of energy and motion for so long.
Most of the characters in the book also seem forced to drink the kool-aid and rarely exhibit skepticism except when they shouldn't.
What should be an "epic space race" at the culmination of the book is a complete yawner. Again, sorry, but if you have a spaceship making jumps to faster than light speeds, none of that will have human intervention. We won't be "driving" such vessels, even the first Star Trek knew that you just set a course and turn it over to the computer. This book was written in the 90's.
I'm not saying that a sci-fi book should be more science than fiction, I loooooove the fiction parts the most. But, the science that is there needs to be be believable or it needs to be mystical (think Midi-chlorians in Star Wars), otherwise it just distracts from story.
As others have noted, the narration also left much to be desired.
I honestly don't know how this book won a Hugo award. Mindstar Rising by Peter Hamilton was published in the same year and it is three times better than this book!
This book is just outstanding. The universe that Vinge creates is so full, the alien races are so original, and the story itself is amazing. If you like hard sci-fi, read/listen to this book. Peter Larkin does a good job reading it, even though some of his voices are hilarious.