Short Book Review: A Fire Upon the Deep

I’m pleased to say that io9’s list of recommended sci-fi novels didn’t steer me wrong. Some Amazon reviewers characterized Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep as terrific for hard sci-fi fans but light on characterization (pick a novel for that, they say), but I think it was a pretty good balance. The story is based on a simple premise, that the galaxy is broken into “Zones of Thought,” with faster-than-light travel, artificial intelligence, and godlike transcendence only possible as you get farther out. This premise gives rise to a fascinating series of interwoven plots culminating in a climactic race to save the universe at all costs. Vinge has an excellent grasp of scale and “human” (or “person”) nature, peppering the story with galactic news group postings to further flesh out how everything and everyone fits together in this setting. The book is slow to get moving, but once underway, it offers a fun, smart, and satisfying adventure.

First I must make a correction, it’s A Fire UPON the Deep.

But seriously, if you like that read the sequel, A Deepness In the Sky. And his latest novel, Rainbow’s End is pretty good too.

Quite funny that you post this, as I am in the middle of reading this as well…

That’s shameful. I have no idea how I screwed that up. I promise I say it correctly out loud, at least.

Are Deepness and Rainbow’s Endin the same “universe,” out of curiosity?