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A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought) by…
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A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought) (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Vernor Vinge (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,8581011,427 (4.12)3 / 182
Member:KanyonKris
Title:A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought)
Authors:Vernor Vinge (Author)
Info:Tor Science Fiction (1993), 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (Author) (1992)

  1. 60
    Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (voodoochilli)
  2. 30
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Excellent hard sci-fi which contains concepts which will challenge your mind.
  3. 30
    A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (timspalding)
    timspalding: Both are fantastic books.
  4. 20
    House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds (junkblocker)
  5. 21
    Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton (orange_epsilon)
    orange_epsilon: If you like reading about space travel and alien cultures, then this is the book for you.
  6. 00
    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (electronicmemory)
  7. 00
    Lifelode by Jo Walton (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: What if the zones of thought were within walking distance of each other? Gods live in the East, time passes at a rapid rate in the West, and a stranger from each direction comes to the manor of Applekirk in the Marches between them.
  8. 00
    Accelerando by Charles Stross (ahstrick)
  9. 33
    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven (tcgardner)
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English (95)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
This book won Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1993 and is a nice example of the ‘new space opera’.
Space opera sub-genre of SF is quite old, it can be traced back to stories in the 1930s and 1940s by [a:Edmond Hamilton|61942|Edmond Hamilton|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1338135286p2/61942.jpg], [a:E. E. "Doc" Smith|17921713|E. E. "Doc" Smith|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png], [a:Isaac Asimov|16667|Isaac Asimov|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1341965730p2/16667.jpg] among others. Usually it is quite soft on science, the adventures take a central stage and its main value in entertaining, not provoking thought. As the genre matured, so did its themes.
The novel is starts with a bang: a group of human researchers accidentally awake billion-year old super-intelligence (read god), but in the final moment are able to hide an essential part of it, preventing its full ‘flowering’. To reconcile the notion of a supreme being and mere humans a universe is set so that there are “zones of thought” (which is the name of the series), a pseudo-science according to which our part of the galaxy in the Slow zone, where speed of light is the limit, outside of the galactic disc (up and down) are zones where FTL travel is possible and were super-intelligences can reside (speed of light limits their capacities in our zone).
The ship with the part crash-lands on a medieval world, with the sentient race with exterior similarity to dogs/wolves and with a unique set of hive-mind. The expedition, consisting of a motley crew of species, is sent to retrieve the artifact. The angry god is behind them, destroying whole solar systems and civilizations on it way.
The story is very well written, filled with action and suspense is great. Aliens are quite original, not just a bunk of humans with purple skin and no hair but a well thought out intelligences.
( )
  Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
Overall, I felt a little confused and lost with the plotline and I did not connect to the characters. That is really too bad, as I thought I would really enjoy the book and exploring Mr. Vinges' others works. Nevertheless, it was not a wasted read-- still learnt a lot. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 17, 2018 |
Lots of times, "book of ideas" means boring and insular. While Vinge's novel is more a book of ideas than a plot-driven book, it engages deeply by exploring various modes of thoughts and societal constructs as they might exist somewhere in the universe. The races depicted here are thoroughly described and decidedly alien while still being empathetic. There's a layer of cosmological/theological thought that serves to propel the plot a bit here but is worth considering as its own deep impact is thought-provoking. Though the plot plods a bit in a sort of old-fashioned way, the characters keep you engaged. ( )
  alexezell | Nov 14, 2018 |
Hands down, one of the best books I've ever read. Wonderful central concept, great characterisation, superbly realised aliens, vivid, crackling storytelling, and generally a thrilling and ultimately emotional roller-coaster ride. I can see how this won the Hugo Award. I only wish Vinge was more prolific. ( )
  RuPringle | Nov 12, 2018 |
A Fire Upon the Deep paints a picture of a galaxy full of many different civilizations, each of which are interacting and evolving. The interesting thing here is that these civilizations are stratified based on how far they are from the center of the galaxy, and for some reason technology works better the further you get from the center. The story tells of a "transcendent" power coming in from beyond the edge of the galaxy and enslaving large swaths of it (including many human worlds). While we never see this first-hand, we are involved in the quest, centered around a few humans, to travel to the inner galaxy to find some artifact that would stop this power. At the same time, we learn the story of an medieval alien civilization where a human ship containing this artifact has crashed, leaving only a couple of children. The children are manipulated by the aliens who desire their technology. These two plotlines start out wholly unrelated, but as the questing humans approach and start communicating with the lost children, they become more enmeshed. The best part of this book is definitely the worldbuilding, as Vinge puts forth a universe that's both fascinating and mysterious. And while I was first disappointed to spend so much time around medieval aliens, it turned out that they were strange enough that they quickly became very interesting. The ending was a little weird, as while the protagonists got their way, the end result was like fixing a catastrophe with another catastrophe. On the whole though, I very much enjoyed this one. ( )
  Phrim | Jul 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Mr. Vinge writes what might be called thoughtful space opera. His setting is nothing less than the galaxy we call the Milky Way. I don't mean that he simply lets loose a few spaceships and has them chase one another among the stars to act out another old-fashioned shoot-'em-up plot. The human and nonhuman characters of "A Fire Upon the Deep" live in a complex galactic society that Mr. Vinge has worked out in admirable if economical detail, and the scope of his story is such that it requires just a background.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vinge, VernorAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frenkel, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, ElissaCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tervaharju, HannuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, BorisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my father, Clarence L. Vinge, with love.
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How to explain? How to describe? Even the omniscient viewpoint quails.
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Haiku summary
Galaxy's at risk.
And you thought SkyNet was bad.
Kill all the AIs.
(Carnophile)
Evil shows its face.
God-in-man is here to help.
Let's hope this thing works.
(milotooberry)
Race to the bottom.
Crashed ship holds key to rescue.
Will we make it there?
(milotooberry)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812515285, Mass Market Paperback)

In this Hugo-winning 1991 SF novel, Vernor Vinge gives us a wild new cosmology, a galaxy-spanning "Net of a Million Lies," some finely imagined aliens, and much nail-biting suspense.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:37 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Scientists release an ancient Transcendent artifact that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence, however, when one ship escapes the destruction, the struggle begins.

(summary from another edition)

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