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Tatja Grimm's World by Vernor Vinge
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Tatja Grimm's World (1987)

by Vernor Vinge

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tatja Grimm (1, 2, 3)

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
An interesting idea, unfortunately its potential is not fully realized by this book.
A young woman comes out of the barbarian wastes. At first she is assumed to be mentally deficient - but it soon becomes clear that she is several orders of magnitude more intelligent than anyone around her - and ruthless enough to use that intelligence to her own ends.
The material here was originally published as several separate stories featuring the character of Tatja Grimm. Unfortunately, they don't really come together as a novel. Although they work as separate stories, as a novel they're missing essential pieces of background information and other narrative elements to achieve coherency. The story brings up interesting concepts and questions, but barely explores them, leaving a reader with the impression of a tale which wants to rise above the level of a simple sci-fantasy adventure, but doesn't, quite. It's too bad, because there are many tantalizing elements here. I especially love the concept of the traveling publishing company that purveys science fiction and fantasy stories on an alien world. I really do like Vinge's writing in general - but 'A Fire Upon the Deep' this is not. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Vinge often plays with the theme of an intelligence that transcends the human, and this book is no exception. Tatja Grimm is born into a primitive culture in the interior and leaves it as a little girl to find someone worth talking to. This isn't so much a novel as three closely connected stories about her that were written and published independently collected together: "The Barbarian Princess," "The Imposter Queen" (first published as "Grimm's Story") and "The Feral Child" (originally "Grimm's World") I thought the first story was the strongest of the three. That delighted me with its meta aspects. Tatja is taken in by a barge that travels the coast and archipelagos selling "Fantasies" magazine, filled with "contrivance fiction" aka "cf." She's then trained to act the part of "Hrala" one of the leading characters in a popular series by Chem Trinos--think Conan. And a "Ivam Alecques" sounds like a nod to Isaac Asmiov and a "Enar Gerau" possibly Arthur C. Clarke. That first story was fun, clever, and yet surprising.

The other two stories I didn't find as impressive, even if they were both entertaining. In fact, I thought the concluding story the weakest and most predictable of the three--with the ending something of an anti-climax. But I agree with the reviewer who claimed this novel is worth reading for the world-building alone, of the picture of a metal poor world whose people are nevertheless making the climb to a technology that reaches for the stars. Vinge has definitely written better novels, but this was a pleasure to read--never a slog. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jul 28, 2013 |
More a collection of short/medium length stories than an actual novel. The premise about the role of intelligence seems somewhat flawed. ( )
  Guide2 | Dec 9, 2012 |
I picked up this book for the premise - a girl from a barbarian planet is super smart, realizes that her people came from the stars, and contacts them.

Unfortunately, the plot doesn't work. It has Tatja Grimm able to learn incredibly complex theories and work out how it fits together. For example, early on in the book, Tatja is exposed to telescope. With a few minutes of observation, she is able to understand the theory of light.

The culture of world doesn't fit with the early settlement - There should be at least a few creation myths where people originate from the sky. The ending was also a big let down - the early part of the story played out heroine as a super smart person who walks over people (the less intelligent) in her quest to get to the stars. I would have liked to see Tatja learn her humanity from within, instead of having all her scheming make her into a planet saving hero. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Aug 30, 2009 |
(Amy) Sometimes, when the selection on the shelf set aside for books to be read soon grows thin, I embark on a tour of our bookcases, selecting one volume from each shelving unit to bulk up the piles again. If you haven't seen our library, this may sound trivial, but to provide a bit of perspective, we have 14 six-foot-tall bookcases of varying widths (3-4 feet wide, for the most part) to hold our fiction, and another three for nonfiction. It certainly makes quite a difference in the size of the to-read pile, to be sure, and is a good method to ensure I at least look at the entire library periodically, to help avoid getting in a rut.

The last time I did that, I ended up with a few books to re-read, which I usually do, but also quite a few books we'd owned for some time that I'd never read, such as this one. I haven't the faintest idea why I hadn't read it, as Vinge writes incredible books (well, actually, I wasn't a huge fan of Rainbows End, but it was pretty good by non-Vinge standards). And sure enough, this was an excellent read, though I thought the story that provided the first 70 or so pages was far stronger than the subsequent chapters, and indeed I think was initially published as a standalone tale. Even the latter chapters are well worth reading, though.

Recommended, as much for the worldbuilding as anything: It's a fantastic imagining of a resource-poor world's progress toward the stars, even aside from the prodigy that sprang from its darkest interior...

( http://weblog.siliconcerebrate.com/zenos-library/2008/10/tatja_grimms_world_vern... )
  libraryofus | Dec 2, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vernor Vingeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kidd, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Ada Grace Vinge
(1917–1986)
With love and admiration
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Fair Haven at South Cape was a squalid little town.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is a revised and expanded version of Grimm's World.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765308851, Paperback)

Multiple Hugo Award winner Vernor Vinge's first full-length novel

As a mud-spattered youngster, Tatja quickly realized she was different from the stone-age primitives with whom she grew up. Her insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge could not be quenched among them; she had to explore and learn more about the strange world she lived on.

She finds the bastion of all culture, arts, entertainment and history for the entire planet, the seven-hundred-year-old science fiction magazine Fantasie, which is produced entirely aboard a gargantuan floating vessel the size of a small city. But despite the printing presses, sail-powered vessels, and mind-expanding technology, Tatja is still dissatisfied. Rising through the ranks, she finds that the people on the enormous barge are just as unintelligent as the primitives she grew up with. But others have come to the planet who not only challenge her intelligence, but offer her a tantalizing opportunity to uncover answers to mysteries that have long plagued her.

But with opportunity comes risk. And if she acts unwisely, she could bring doom to the only world she knows.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:18 -0400)

Leaving her aborigine tribe to find intelligent beings, Tatja Grimm travels to Ocean, a medieval mecca of intelligence and technological innovation, but a disillusioned Tatja soon realizes that to find truly superior intelligence she must turn to the stars.… (more)

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