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The Children of the Sky (Zones of Thought) (edition 2011)

by Vernor Vinge

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5542118,027 (3.44)21
Member:ChrisRiesbeck
Title:The Children of the Sky (Zones of Thought)
Authors:Vernor Vinge
Info:Tor Books (2011), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I first heard of Vernor Vinge when I saw him at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando in 2011. This is the second of his books I’ve found at the library and read. The first was Rainbow’s End.
The Children of the Sky is the third book in his ‘Zones of Thought Series.’ As I did not (yet) read the first two, this was my first exposure to this world. Fortunately, enough backstory is provided to develop the characters and explain how humans arrived on this planet.
What I liked most:
- This is a character driven story of political power and manipulation. The advanced tech from the wrecked human starship, much of which does not work, does not dominate the story and neither does the limited psychic ability of the native sentient species.
- The story has an overall positive mood, and you can see the beginnings of an industrial age if not a philosophical enlightenment emerging. These provide promise that the future will be a better one. The ending is a setup for a sequel, not quite a cliffhanger, but with enough unresolved issues to provide plenty of material for another story to explore how well this promise is achieved.
- The fictional world of the “Tines” is very imaginative. However...
What I liked least:
- Back to the Tines. I felt I was being asked to suspend too much disbelief to imagine that a species without hands (or the equivalent), and which has difficulty even approaching one another physically, could develop what amounts to an early industrial age technology.
- I like that this is a ‘character based’ story, but the characters did not evoke much empathy for me. We see some of their inner turmoil, especially with Ravana, but not enough to make me care much about what happens to her.
- The principle villain in this is simply evil. There is no explanation for why or what he is trying to achieve other than personal power. Still, there is enough here for the reader to loath him by the end of the book, but his ultimate and well-deserved demise happens almost between scenes.
- A good deal could have been left out, which may have improved the pace without sacrificing the plot. I suppose much of this can be attributed to editing. Authors sacrifice a lot when they choose to go through a traditional publisher and they should expect to receive value in return. In this case, a little rewriting, tightening the prose, and even catching a few grammar and punctuation errors would have done a lot to improve the book.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
3.5 *
A little disappointing; thinking about it after I finished, I wondered, had the book had an aggressive edit (maybe cut by 100-150 pp.?), whether it would have been a better read. (I'm thinking yes.) Several stretches, particularly in the first third of the book, dragged badly, and the YA-ish tone of the story (kids and puppies in space -- which of course it really isn't, exactly, obviously) tried my patience fairly often.

But, to a certain degree, it got better.

Sometimes Vinge's conceit of telling a story with weird or alien elements in an exaggeratedly familiar "translation" work (think also the Usenet-like interstellar "discussion group" transcriptions in A Fire Upon the Deep or the Spider passages of Deepness in the Sky); here, with the long sections concerning Tinish politics, the "Medieval packs of intelligent dogs" bit wore more than a little thin. He tips his hand (the way he did when he gave a couple of "unfiltered" descriptions of the Spiders in Deepness) the few times we glimpse a more objective description of what the Tines really look and sound like (big strange weasel-like creatures with buzzing membranes on their heads), but it's easy to lose the "actual" image of the alien aliens behind the extended overly-familiar overlay.

Also, it was clear reaching the end that more volumes are to come in this story, given the major plot elements left unresolved. Had I known this, I probably would have waited to read this. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
This is the sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, which was a great book. That was a page-turner with multiple stories all converging thrillingly to a satisfying climax. This one moves slower... much slower. The first book had action onboard a ship heading to the Tines World, a deadly blight in hot pursuit, and children stranded in two separate places on Tines World along with a race of telepathic, intelligent canines. Yes, it sounds silly- but Vinge must have been fascinated with his creation of the Tinish creatures, and this book is all set on that world, continuing the story of the Humans and Tines and their planet's development of higher technology.
And really, the fleshing out of a civilization of Tines is fascinating. The creatures form packs of 4 to 8 canines, joined by telepathy into one coherent "person". But down in the tropical region they are more numerous and apparently uncivilized, clumped together in a "choir" that terrifies the pack northerners and that destroys anything that ventures into its midst. And there is the problem of what happens to single dogs or remnants of former packs who lose a member to death. It's all drawn up with fascinating imagination.
But the book takes a long time to develop- it doesn't move quickly until the last 200 pages, which are great. I'm not sure if this is the middle book of a trilogy or an end in itself- he published this one 19 years after Fire Upon the Deep. The ending begs for more, so I hope he's working on the next one. ( )
  DanTarlin | Mar 23, 2015 |
Seemed about on par with the previous two books in this series (A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky). None of them blew me away, but all were solid and enjoyable reads. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
I didn't realize until I was most of the way through this book that it is the third in a series. Oops. There were definitely some places where I felt like I was missing some context, but I actually didn't have much trouble diving into the story.

There are a lot of interesting elements to this story. I was fascinated by the idea of the Tines and their hive-minds, and the implications of their telepathic communication. The characters were convincing and likable, and the writing was good.

I'm not quite sure what I thought of the story, and that's probably because this was a middle episode in a much longer story. It was certainly intriguing and suspenseful, and I cared about the characters and what happened to them.

I listened to the audiobook, and Oliver Wyman is one of my favorite narrators. I probably wouldn't have enjoyed this in any other medium. ( )
  Gwendydd | Oct 27, 2013 |
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Vinge, VernorAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that destroyed whole worlds and nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that saved them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them-and among the humans-who seek power . . . and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgeling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed. On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement and human drama that have become hallmarks of his mature work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in his already stellar career. (BIP)
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"Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them--and among the humans--who seek power...and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed. On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of A Fire Upon the Deep. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge's already stellar career. "--… (more)

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