A Fire Upon The Deep Mass Market Paperback – Feb. 15 1993
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Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unguessable, godlike "Powers." When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilizations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.
Serious complications follow. One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit. On his destination world, the fascinating Tines are intelligent only in combination: named "individuals" are small packs of the doglike aliens. Primitive doesn't mean stupid, and opposed Tine leaders wheedle the young castaways for information about guns and radios. Low-tech war looms, with elaborately nested betrayals and schemes to seize Out of Band if it ever arrives. The tension becomes extreme... while half the Beyond debates the issues on galactic Usenet.
Vinge's climax is suitably mindboggling. This epic combines the flash and dazzle of old-style space opera with modern, polished thoughtfulness. Pham Nuwen also appears in the nifty prequel set 30,000 years earlier, A Deepness in the Sky. Both recommended. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
“Fleeing a menace of galactic proportions, a spaceship crashes on an unfamiliar world, leaving the survivors--a pair of children--to the not-so-tender mercies of a medieval, lupine race. Responding to the crippled ship's distress signal, a rescue mission races against time to retrieve the children and recover the weapon they need to prevent the universe from being changed forever. Against a background depicting a space-time continuum stratified into 'zones of thought,' the author has created a rarity--a unique blend of hard science, high drama, and superb storytelling.” ―Library Journal
“A tale that burns with the brazen energy of the best space operas of the golden age. Vinge has created a galaxy for the readers of the '90s to believe in...immense, ancient, athrum with data webs, dotted with wonders.” ―John Clute, Interzone
“Vernor Vinge's best novel yet.” ―Greg Bear, author of Moving Mars
“Vast, riveting, far-future saga...The overall concept astonishes; the aliens are developed with memorable skill and insight, the plot twists and turns with unputdownable tension. A masterpiece of universe building.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The first grand SF I've read in ages...Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today.” ―David Brin, author of Earth
“Fiercely original...Compelling ideas in the book include problems and advantages of group mind, galactic communications turbidity, and the prospect of civilizations aspiring to godhood.” ―Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog
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- Publisher : Tor Science Fiction; Revised ed. edition (Feb. 15 1993)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 624 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812515285
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812515282
- Item weight : 298 g
- Dimensions : 10.85 x 3.29 x 17.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #115,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from Canada
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The world(s) and characters in the book are very detailed, without overwhelming you.
I felt like there was more stories to be told in the Galaxy without feeling completely overwhelmed by everything.
The twists and plot points were well set-up without being too obvious in advance.
Definitely will buy more of his books!
Perhaps not for a casual reader; but if you like weirdness in SCI-FI this makes Ender's game look like a kids book.
Top reviews from other countries
But I'm glad I persisted as the world described has a huge amount of variety and is truly immersive in a way I've not really come across before. You really do feel like you start to understand this huge universe of different cultures, people and aliens that are all existing, trading and fighting their way through the millienia even as more powerful intelligences carry on in planes of existence beyond our level of intelligence. And then you're whipped down to specific worlds where you follow individual characters as they live their more mundane lives and fight their own microscopic battles amongst their own people. And then it all somehow all comes together as the story reaches its climax and conclusion. It's truly an impressive work.
I've now started the prequel which describes some events earlier in the history of this universe.
Aside from the basic errors made by the publisher this book is great, galaxy spanning space opera at its very best and unlike most of the novels released these days it tells a complete self contained story without being split into 6 or more parts.
I love Peter F Hamilton books and I struggle to find anything as good but I enjoyed this as much as those.
I struggled to get my head around the main race (the Tines) and once I understood the concept, I reread some chapters again, so that they made more sense.
Great characters, great story. I'm going to find another book by Vernor Vinge
My biggest issue with this book is that I was immediately inspired to read the 2nd book in the series - which I'm afraid is nowhere near as good.