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A Fire Upon the Deep | [Vernor Vinge]

A Fire Upon the Deep

A Fire Upon the Deep is the big, breakout book that fulfills the promise of Vinge's career to date: a gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale. Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function.
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Publisher's Summary

A Fire Upon the Deep is the big, breakout book that fulfills the promise of Vinge's career to date: a gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale. Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function.

Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought", but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.

Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.

©1992 Vernor Vinge; (P)2010 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1993

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (581 )
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4.1 (409 )
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Performance
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  •  
    rob Erickson 01-24-15 Member Since 2013
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    "A Fun Jaunt"

    great story with rich characters. the ending is weaker than expected and Pham much less of an engaging character than in Deepness in the Sky.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Williams Arkansas USA 12-28-14
    C. Williams Arkansas USA 12-28-14 Member Since 2012

    Reader

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    "Good Story Torn apart by bad narration"

    The story and premise are really good, but god that narration. The cartoonish voices have been frequently mentioned but what really got me was how congested the narrator sounded. It's like he had a really bad cold or flu and they decided to record anyway. I couldn't finish i'll have to get a hard copy of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dejan Eight Mile Plains, Australia 12-07-14
    Dejan Eight Mile Plains, Australia 12-07-14

    Interested in futurism and hard science fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I couldn't finish it..."

    A fascinating story at the beginning of the book took a wrong turn and never recovered. The narrator didn't help either with oddly shrill, comic voice which didn't belong to any of the characters in the book. I've asked for a refund.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farrell 10-16-14
    Farrell 10-16-14
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    "Hard to get into"

    The story is a bit hard to get a handle on for the first quarter of the book. After that it gets a bit smoother. The end is OK but is a bit too convenient.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KD La Jolla, Ca United States 08-18-14
    KD La Jolla, Ca United States 08-18-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Favorite Sci-Fi book of all time"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 05-07-14
    Paul 05-07-14
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    "Solid Big Space novel with super narration."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Annapolis, MD, United States 03-24-13
    Matthew Annapolis, MD, United States 03-24-13 Member Since 2009

    madmatter23

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    "Full of scintillating ideas."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 12-03-12
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 12-03-12

    Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.

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    "Great Story - Lousy End"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 12-02-12
    Paul 12-02-12 Member Since 2014

    Philosophy, Science, Econ, Sci Fi, Medicine for now...

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    "Hollywood writers could never come up with this"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Fire Upon the Deep to be better than the print version?

    Don't know


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What does Peter Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Great vocal range and giving consistent voices to the different characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but for lack of time....


    Any additional comments?

    My new favorite Sci Fi story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-27-12
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-27-12 Member Since 2013

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Whoever Compared This to "Hyperion" is WRONG!"

    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.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
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