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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2000

"This prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep demonstrates Vinge's capacity for meticulously detailed culture-building and grand-scale sf drama." ( Library Journal)
"Major revelations, ironies, and payoffs.... A powerful story in the grandest SF tradition." (Amazon.com review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amen-Ra
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 01-26-11

A science fiction classic

This book won the Hugo award for good reason. It has everything you want from a scifi epic. The characters were very believable and very interesting. The villains were over the top, and worth while for the most part. The concepts featured in the book about the state of human civilization were extremely interesting, and the conclusion to the book was worth while. I read a fire upon the deep. It was a good book but the ending was unsatisfying. Although this book was set on a far smaller stage than a fire upon the deep, it came much closer to home when it spoke of the state of the human condition. I here that Verner Vinge is writing another book set in this Universe. The sequeal to a fire upon the deep. I will be very interested in reading it, but I am even more interested in reading about Pham Nuwen, and a sequal to A deepness in the sky.

The only gripe that I had about this book was that it was a bit long, and seemed to drag on at times. Other than that the book was excellent. The only scifi book that I would rate above it was Hyperion.

One more thing. The Narrator Peter Larkin is among the best I have ever listened to. His acting is impeccable and his voices bring life to the story. I highly recommend this book.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • George
  • hopkinsville, KY, USA
  • 03-24-13

origional story line, good naration

What made the experience of listening to A Deepness in the Sky the most enjoyable?

the universe it creates is complete, and somewhat origional for a sci fi book. I listen to a lot of books, and prefer classic sci fi, and this fit that vein. characters were well fleshed out, believable, and you could actually care about them and remember them from day to day. I cannot say that about some books i listen to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Deepness in the Sky?

The alien side of the story.

What about Peter Larkin’s performance did you like?

He is a good reader, never taking away from the book. I think he could use more inflection in different characters, but that is a minor observation.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

good guys win?

Any additional comments?

The book starts out in full narration. After the first hour, I still did not have a clue where this was going, and contemplated not listening further. I gave it another hour, and things started coming together. making sense. I would encourage the listener to hang in there, as he book is worth it.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • spring, TX, USA
  • 03-21-10

Long but good

While there exists better voice acting, the story is strong enough to pull one through most of the strange vocal affectations and pronunciations, some of which is normal to a single narrator effort. For myself, character development and plot support are required for engagement. Vinge has this, and while there is a lot of backstory, it is needed for character motivations. I enjoyed the whole ziphead thing and much more. But if you are not into hard scifi, then go to those writing the fast action versions that use more common phraseology and shorter sentence structures. Myself - I appreciate Vinge winding narrative, logical plot development and creativity.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Slow start, but hang in there for a great read!

I think this is my favorite Vernor Vinge book to date (though I should listen to Rainbow's End again). The beginning was slow, but the second half of the book made it all worthwhile. A great cast of likable characters, two parallel worlds that eventually come together, lots of cool SF gadgets and surprises, interesting back stories, and more. I hope there is another book that takes place between this one and a "Fire Upon the Deep".

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not for me

I found this book poorly written and poorly told. The characters were underdeveloped and unconvincing. Honestly, I couldn't finish it. This book won the Hugo award and has received many positive reviews. I generally love science-fiction. In fact, I'm an avid fan. I don't know. I guess that sometimes the book and the reader just don't fit, but I wanted to include my response just in case there are others out there like me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Oy. What to say...

What did you like best about A Deepness in the Sky? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the Spider story line, but found the space opera to be a much lacking. In the end it somewhat redeems itself, but just barely.

What about Peter Larkin’s performance did you like?

Peter Larkin was the great redeamer of this book. Had I not enjoyed his ongoing performance, I might have given up on this book. Easily he has been added to one of my favorite performers and I hope to hear him again.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Not a chance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Moments of brilliance, but a long slog otherwise

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Much, much better than 'A Fire Upon the Deep'

I enjoyed the first book, ''A Fire Upon the Deep'. It was okay. But this is a masterpiece. I did not want it to end. I don't want to give anything away, but if you read the first book and thought, like me, that you really didn't care for more of the same, don't worry, this isn't. Pham is the man!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tales from the Slow Zone

A Deepness in the Sky is the 2nd installment in Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought series.While the tale is a standalone story, it occurs thousands of years prior to his first installment with all the action taking place in the Slow Zone. The Qeng Ho partners with the Emergent to travel to an anomalous star known as OnOff, with the expectation of wondrous technology due to its unexplained behavior of shutting itself down periodically. Instead, the Emergents engineer a surprise attack on the Qeng Ho with disastrous results necessitating an uneasy alliance, led by the Emergent, while waiting for the aliens, a spider like race, to evolve technology sufficient to repair their spaceships. All the while, Pham Nuwen from Book 1 of the Qeng Ho plots surreptitiously to retake control as his background and history is relayed in a series of flashbacks.

Although mired in the Slow Zone, Vinge makes extensive use of numerous sci-fi elements to create an engaging and compelling story. Due to relativistic space travel, cold storage is heavily employed to extend time spans. The Emergents possess a mind-rot virus that has been engineered to create a "focused" human that behaves in an autistic manner like a human computer. The spider race is observed to develop from early to late 20th technology while having developed a cicada like form to survive the long periods of a dead sun. There is also employment of nanotech micro-drones. Mixed among all the technology, Vinge sprinkles discussions of economic and political theories to address issues arising from speed of light limitations. Finally, suggestions of anti-gravity materials hints at superior alien races beyond the slow zone and dooms Pham as he guesses wrong on where it all lies.

The narration is excellent with superb character distinction and good gender renditions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A new author but now a favorite.

I appreciate the authors ability to approach space and time travel in a manner we can relate to. They story line is solid. Fewer holes than many of today's authors.

If you like Star Wars - don't bother with this. This is much much technically thorough and has much more of a story line. It's not filled with light-minded platitudes and self congratulatory endings.

All in all a refreshing story and twist. Nice set of sub plots that'll be clearer the second time through.

Well done Vernor Vinge.

Well read Peter Larkin.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • W. B. Quigley
  • 01-06-18

very compelling but a bit too out there in places.

will listen to another by this author and narrator. found it hard to put down.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for dajrektor
  • dajrektor
  • 10-03-16

Unnecessary long

Although with a interesting premise, the story is unnecessary long making this book a hardship to endure. The writer discusses bonsais and parks more than he should. I found that you can skip certain parts without loosing any of the story line. Narrator gave excellent performance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful