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The Children of the Sky

by Vernor Vinge

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Zones of Thought (3)

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8163020,650 (3.47)21
"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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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
This IS an interesting story, well-organized and largely well-told. As a sequel to "A Fire Upon the Deep," this book is jarring because the stakes are much lower, the single stage much smaller, and most of the characters so petty. Sure, Dickens' novels can be accused of the same crimes but that's an inaccurate analogy. Many readers seem to dislike 'TCotS' because of what it isn't relative to 'Fire', but there are actually flaws that are hard to deny.

It's a bit of a slog. Vinge tells many, many small stories here that aren't all equally interesting (or necessary). Further, all the antagonistic characters seem to be of the same cruel, vindictive, manipulative ilk; that might have been merely irritating had I read this in 2012 when it came out, but now, in 2021, there is too much of Trump's legacy in the wind for this to be entertainment. Worse, 'TCotS' is clearly a Middle Book, setting up but not resolving greater threads; after 10 years, how long must readers await a conclusion?

In Vinge's favor, the development of the alien Tines and their societies is outstanding. While I would dearly love a map of Tines' World, the extraterrestrial geography and geology are satisfying, and the human refugees' accommodation to the world is darned good reading. I think 'TCotS' is a good read and good second-of-three, but without the third to make it pay, I'm left just a bit winded and frustrated. ( )
  MLShaw | Jul 5, 2021 |
Problem with this third book in the Zones if Thought series, is that I simply can't suspend my disbelief enough find the rise of the Deniers credible, especially with all the logs and data that were on the "Oobii" showing the true nature of the Blight.
With that always at the back my mind, the other plot points just weren't plausible enough to make this a seamless reading as the previous books. ( )
  harroldsheep | May 21, 2021 |
Pretend this series is a duology and that this book doesn't exist. Seriously. You have been warned. ( )
  tedyang | Oct 28, 2020 |
This was a bit of a roller coaster for me, in that I expected huge undertakings and huge payoffs, but what I got never delivered more than an upheaval of Tines society and the progression toward a technological revolution in the Slow Zone, but after I got over this rather large disappointment, I was pleased to run with all the packs in a fascinating, complex, and plot-driven wonder of a really good character novel.

I should have reread A Fire Upon The Deep first, but it wasn't absolutely necessary. I loved that classic novel. It was the one that spurred the Singularity that we all know and love. This is its sequel, but The Children of the Sky has little to do with the Singularity, except as a far-off threat.

Setting my personal expectations and desires aside, I sat down to read this long novel intent to enjoy it on its own merits no matter what the cost. It is a Vernor Vinge novel, after all. I have always GUSHED over his novels in the past, and it really speaks very well for him that 3 out of his 6 novels won the Hugo award.

Quality is Quality is Quality.

And this novel is Quality. The characters took a while to fall into, and the starting plot was somewhat okayish, but the depth and the execution of all the characters grew overwhelmingly poignant with time. It required patience, but never once did Vinge let me down. The whole novel is a painstaking tapestry that is imminently steady and complex with character relationships and development. Ravna grew on me, as did Amdi and Joanna. Even Tycoon grew on me, and he surprised me by not being any sort of classical villain. I was surprised by the developments, to be sure, and that goes double for the Choir. What a strange and fascinating creature.

For those who either haven't read the first novel or have completely forgotten about it, the Tines are an alien race clawing its way from a medieval worldview to an advanced society. They are packs of dogs with telepathy, combining together in groups between 4-8 dogs to have equivalent human intelligence. That's the premise, but what Vinge has really given us is an extremely dense and really fantastic exploration of alien subtlety ranging from romance to warfare. Human technology only makes things chaotic and hopeful and destructive, and how the two races get along is the true heart of the novel.

I think of C J Cherryh with so much fondness when it comes to this kind of alien exploration, but honestly, Vinge holds more than his own when it comes to the same thing. This novel isn't as flashy as the Foreigner series, but it is definitely as deep and magical and thought provoking, if not more so.

It wasn't what I expected, but it certainly was more than I bargained for, and I can't help but feeling flush with satisfaction after reading it. It's true science fiction, exploring ideas, even if they are mostly "soft" ideas. I can't help but sit in awe with what he pulled off, even if the novel isn't completely mind-blowing.

It isn't. It's not going to rank at the top of any list, but I am supremely glad I got to experience it. No reservations. No regrets.



( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
On the plus side: it was interesting to see what happens when a High Beyond / near-Transcendent civilization wakes up to find itself embedded in the Slow Zone. It was good to see what had become of Ravna Bergsndot, Johanna, Jefri, Amdiranifani, and all the Tines, not to mention all the now-thawed children.

On the minus side: Quite plainly this was a setup for another sequel. By its very nature, this novel was missing the intrigue of the Beyond, which was what I really loved about its progenitor, [b:A Fire Upon the Deep|77711|A Fire Upon the Deep|Vernor Vinge|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316727696s/77711.jpg|1253374]. ( )
  pjohanneson | May 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vinge, VernorAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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. "--

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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 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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