After nearly twenty years, Vernor Vinge has produced an enthralling sequel to his memorable best-selling novel A Fire Upon the Deep.
Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them.
While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them - and among the humans - who seek power… and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed.
On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge’s already stellar career.
©2011 Vernor Vinge (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
"Vinge is undeniably one of the greatest hard science fiction writers to put pen to paper, and he can easily be compared to such greats as Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, or Stanislaw Lem." (Wired)
"[T]he near-perfect balance of science fiction's twin traditions of wild speculation and high-intensity storytelling.... Vinge's explosive imagination and deft storytelling make epics zip past like hummingbirds - you'll steal daytime moments to read more, and lie awake at night contemplating what you've read." (BoingBoing.net)
I read epic sci-fi and historic fiction, good non-fiction science, classic philosophy, and once in a great while political discourse.
I've seen a few uncharatable reviews of this book mixed in to the many that suggest Vinge had a ghost writer. Truly, you can not please everyone. I saw no evidence of this.
This is a character story, a view of social dynamics, the community of belief , and how things always work out if you alter the definition of success. It is small in scope and personal.
If you're looking for a grand love story, an easy hero, or the triumph of dazzling technology this is not the book. If you want to follow the story that Vinge is telling and clearly has not finished then you can't miss this installment. I can't say that the book stands on its own because I came to it with the great saga the gave birth to it in my mind.
I've been looking forward to this book for 20 years, and despite the high expectations, I was not in the least disappointed. Tines World, and the Tines themselves, are fleshed out in magnificent detail, with new insights on the distributed cognition that made their depiction in A Fire Upon the Deep so appealing. The deeply problematic legacy of the human refugees is also explored. Its interaction with brutal Tinish politics leads to plots within plots. Oliver Wyman does a wonderful job at making each of the many character voices distinct.
I enjoyed this expansion of the classic 'A Fire Upon The Deep', but was a little disappointed in the choice of narrator. Don't get me wrong - Oliver Wyman is one of my favorites. Indeed, his performance's of the first two Safehold installments were brilliant, but I don't think he had the same energy as Peter Larkin had in 'Deep'.
That being said, the story was quite good, but not stunning. To be fair, all the mind blowing concepts were fleshed out in the first book, so you can't expect to be captivated in the same way.
also, I had a harder time visualizing the "Pack mind" in this offering than the first - not sure why.
All in all, not as good as 'A Fire Upon The Deep', but except for 'Aliens' and 'The Godfather Part 2', what sequel is ever as Good as the original. Anyway, it's well worth the effort.
Great story. Great return to Tines world. I enjoyed the book quite a bit.
I really wish the narrator had listened to the narration of A Fire Upon the Deep and used the same pronunciation for the place and people names. The narration is really slow, but used the Audible app to speed it up by 1.5x and it was fine.
I loved this, for all the reasons I've loved the rest of the series. Vinge does what speculative fiction should do, which is to make you think. He anticipates much of what is happening today, but doesn't lecture on the theories or math or brain organization behind what he's saying. The Tines ability to form essentially one brain from several creatures is a very interesting twist, and makes you think a lot about how human brains are put together. Don't we often feel like we are a collection of sometimes warring pieces?
The characters are fun, and not overly complex. In other words, good entertainment. Some of my favorite other speculative authors are amazing, but it takes a lot of concentration (and taking notes) to keep the entire plot straight. Vinge is a good listen while, say, doing dishes or some boring task, without requiring my entire attention.
This was my first audiobook and I absolutely loved it. I've tried another couple since, but this one is by far the best.
Flenser and Ritl... Flenser's up to something but it's hard to tell exactly what. Ritl is just a magical singleton.
His characterisation of the character's voices, especially the female characters and the Tines, brings an extra level to the drama that you may miss when reading the words on the page. Especially in the case of Tycoon, who (ominously) uses a little kidnapped girl's voice during the story.
The chapter with Belle putting Timor to bed, then falling foul of kidnappers, left me feeling sad for both characters. Pilgrim's always good for a laugh too :D
Recommended, especially if you've already read the book and can spend the time enjoying Wyman's performance.
This is a slightly more slowly paced follow-up to the earlier Zones of Thought books focusing as it does on the characters that were stranded on the world of the Tines at the end of the previous book. The plot is somewhat meandering more filled with the twist and turns political intrigue and character conflicts that action. It covers some years and jumps forward in time in uneven intervals sometimes leaving you wondering how things resolved themselves between chapters.
Filled with some interesting characters and lovely ideas throughout such as the The Tines themselves; dog like aliens who are intelligent only when thinking collectively as a pack. The aliens are well thought out and their characters are woven with skill throughout the narrative. The civilisation is in the process of being bootstrapped from the dark ages to the industrial revolution and this lends a slight steampunk flavour to the imagery at times.
I wasn't overly taken with the narration of this book, it was a little slow for my tastes and the characterisation of Ravna meant she sounded a bit like a depressed teenager at times which I found could be grating.
Overall I would recommend this book despite its faults, but only if you haven't already read the earlier Zones of Thoughts go check those out first. The ending of this novel does suggest further sequels will be forth coming so it would be great time to catch up.
I enjoyed this book, though it had more of a fantasy feel than I would have preferred. Additionally, there are so many unresolved conflicts that I feel little was answered in this book. I look forward to a sequel.
Satisfied Audible listener since 2002. I mostly listen to Sci-fi and anything by Stephen King.
As much as I enjoyed this book (and I did a lot) it left me a little dissatisfied as almost any book that is the middle of a trilogy does - I assume it is the middle anyway. I would recommend it and hope I dont have to wait long for the sequel where everything will be sorted out. The Tines are a wonderfully original alien race, I love the idea of them.
Also, Audible can we please have more V. Vinge to listen to,such as a sequel to a Darkness in the Sky. Thanks.
I have really fond memory of reading all of Vinge's previous books - they are full of mind-blowing concepts and interesting characters. A Fire Upon the Deep remains one of my favorite scifi books. I've been waiting for this one since the summer, and bought it as soon as it came out. What a disappointment! The characters are not believable and the events drag on. After part 1 of 4 I have decided to stop listening - I can't stand the thought of spending another 20 hours on it. Perhaps the editor could have "encouraged" the author to trim the story down to half the size.
The narrator did a great job - without his talent I might have stopped the book even earlier.
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