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, history and little bits of what blows through my ears
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.
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.
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.
The story wasn't worth 28 hours of listening, and the narration didn’t make it better. I really did enjoy hearing more about the Tines, the fascinating alien hive mind race introduced in A Fire Upon the Deep. However, in the end I was frustrated by the lack of progression and closure. I was not aware that this was an open-ended book (none of the blurbs had hinted at this) and was annoyed to find this out only late in the book.
Although the narrator did a good job with different voices, making even the female voices sound convincing, the narration lacked emotional variation. His voice was gloomy/ominous a lot of the time even if the scene did not call for it, which made me feel down even if something happy had just occurred.
Combined with a plot that was mostly backstory and considering the book could be 25% shorter, this didn’t make for an interesting experience. Of course, there were a few exciting moments, but all-in-all I was not impressed. Still, if you’re a fan of the previous two books in the Zones of Thought series, it’s kind of required listening.
I very much enjoyed this series, but this book was slightly marred by some odd audio skips. In two places I was able to tell that more than one word had been dropped. In one, the character speaking changed. It was not my device, two attempts at relating the section speed in the exact same manner, the time line indicating that it had been digitized with those errors present (no skipped seconds).
This story's sub-themes are perhaps the most interesting elements of the book. They are not so much openly discussed as they are illuminated through story. Questions of good and evil, belief systems, self-determination, market forces, bioengineering, loyalty, friendship ,and romance are all swirling about behind-the-scenes. I found it very thought-provoking despite no overt discussion of the topics. This tells me it is the work of a master storyteller. Another satisfying read from this talented author.
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.
"As brilliant as every other Vernor Vinge novel"
This is the third book in a series entitled Queng Ho; the first two having been written in the 1990s. It is a novel that can be enjoyed stand-alone; pretty much the situation for me as I had read the other two way back when they were published. The storyline is planet-bound, situated in one of the author’s galactic “zones” where only very basic technology will function. It recounts the interactions of a native intelligent species and a group of refugee humans that crash-landed there a decade earlier (that crash-landing being part of the plot from the earlier books).
What Vernor Vinge has created here is a masterpiece. His development of the planet’s indigenous species is utterly superb. The ecology of the planet itself is richly described. The various relationships between humans and natives are complex. The underlying story is intriguing and full of twisting plots. On top of this is a first-class narration from someone who fully understands what he is reading. I can report no flaws whatsoever and I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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