Vernor Vinge established himself as one of our greatest living science-fiction writers with his critically acclaimed, best-selling, Hugo Award-winning novel A Fire Upon the Deep. Now he returns to the captivating universe of that book, transporting us back 30,000 years.
After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. There are two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens' very doorstep for their strange star to relight and for their planet to reawaken, as it does every 250 years
Then, following terrible treachery, the Qeng Ho must fight for their freedom and for the lives of the unsuspecting innocents on the planet below, while the aliens themselves play a role unsuspected by the Qeng Ho and Emergents alike.
More than just a great science-fiction adventure, A Deepness in the Sky is a universal drama of courage, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of love.
©1999 Vernor Vinge; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
An epic sci-fi story, and I enjoyed it a great deal and would recommend it to fans of the genre, especially in the Peter Hamilton style. My only criticisms are that the author allowed himself a few too many opportunities to veer off on a tangent for several minutes in areas that ultimately had little or no import on the story as a whole, and the story could have benefitted from a little judicious editing. Also, the spider babies were made to be a little too "cutesy" in my view. That may have been largely in the "baby voices" used by the narrator, which eventually were a little annoying, but a little too much unnecessary spider children attention.
The other reviews are right: You have to stick with this book. It seems at first to be a standard space opera, but the plot gets more complicated as it evolves. The description of a sub-light speed space faring community is well thought out and believable. And the author knows his science.
Less believable are the aliens, who seem very human in their reactions. Given the cultural differences among earthlings, it is hard to believe that an alien world would have such similar psychologies to Americans. And the plot's pacing is somewhat erratic, sometimes slow and sometimes fast. I didn't mind it, but others may. And, yes, the author repeats things, but more as a reminder of where you are in the plot and where the character is at that moment. There are a number of leading characters to keep track of.
The story has its share of unexpected twists and turns, which kept me engaged. I look forward to more stories about the deep space traders.
I admit I am on a John Lee kick at the moment. Perhaps having him read may have helped me. Overall, the story just took a long time to develop. I didn't develop in interest in the characters and didn't feel any tension coming off the characters who were stressed over possible outcomes in the future. I thought the story would pickup once they reached the On-Off star. I made it all the way to Underhill's special event and gave up. I am glad others have enjoyed the story.
I hope it wasn't on sale for $4.95!
In this massive audiobook, one has to hang in there to enjoy it. By the end I was definitely
engaged. I would have like a little less supercilious reading though, good as it was.
This prequel to A Fire Upon The Deep is excellent. It takes place far before the events of AFUTD, but in the same universe and with a shared character. Story seems a bit slow at times, but the rest of it makes up for this, and it is all great.
Starts great, ends great. I found myself fast forwarding through chapters in the middle, yet was compelled enough to reach the end.
Outside the hard sci-fi the author tries to write some sort of grand novel of the human/alien condition. Alliances, double crosses, secrets, love and lust, etc..... While there's a great depth and examination of these ideas, it comes off dull and hard to follow.
It would have definitely been better as a hardcopy book: lots of tricky names that all sound similar. Narrator was ok, but the voice he gave to dialogue was too theatric: too melodic and sing-songish.
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so I was wondering if this was going to be worth it, its one of the few 2 credit books (at least it was at the time I got it) and so is the other one "A Fire Upon the Deep" which although it came out before this one it actually takes place 20,000 years after this one - there is sosposta be a sequel to this one called "Children of the Sky" which should be out in late 2011, so lets hope that Audible gets it in audio format as well
this is about a star that is named the "on-off star" because for 215 of every 250 years it is essentially a dead star outputting almost nothing and really dim - there are these "spiders" on the planet that orbits it and they are going into hibernation within really deep parts of the planet that they can survive in - the surface is covered with air snow and ice when the sun is dark and it freezes melts and refreezes into the atmosphere every time the sun goes on and off
a group of interstellar trading folks called the Qeng Ho (pronounced Cheng Ho and named after the explorer Zheng He) and the Emergents, an authoritarian civilization that literally enslaves selected human minds and has only recently re-emerged from a "dark age" - they both arrive at the on-off star and get into a battle and both sides are messed up really bad, but the Emergents are better off and take over with a stale mate because both sides cant afford anymore fighting - they cant go anywhere so they just wait for the star to re-light and the spiders to wake up and create a civilization that they can exploit to build new ships to return to the stars
the book is great, there is even some sorta nano-tech or whatever that has to be mined out of the rocks on the planet, no one knows what it is it just floats (anti-gravity) when enough of a refined form is put together
the end is great and really didnt need a follow up, except for it would be nice to revisit the characters in the up coming book "Children of the Sky" which is sosposta take place 10 years latter
Satisfied Audible listener since 2002. I mostly listen to Sci-fi and anything by Stephen King.
This book is long but sooooo worth it. The narrator kept me entertained and the author left me wanting more. Two big thumbs up.
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