A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

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A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

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Vinge shifts between points of view and that in itself ups the tension--I was never impatient to get past a section, but at the same time I'd be left worried about what was "happening" to others while our attention was elsewhere. One of the central protagonists is a 'Programmer-At-Arms', and there is quite a bit in the novel about programming, systems design and 'software archeology' (a discipline I expect to come into being sooner or later) that probably will bore the non-nerd. I'm sorry to say goodbye to Pham Nuwen and the other characters of A Deepness in the Sky, but I'm already excited at the thought I'll soon be back with my old friends among the Tines. And for Pham, the Emergent slavery known as Focus is a nigh-irresistible lure, a promise that could fulfil Pham's dreams of a true Qeng Ho empire.

It was an interesting decision to set the “prequel” so far back in chronology that none of the distinguishing features of the Zones of Thought are known. The first are Qeng Ho, wandering traders, who try to keep the human civilization (light years apart) the whole. I´ve already said it in the review of the first part, I don´t get why Vinge didn´t expand the groundbreaking concept of The Zones of Thought with physics influencing reality and the maximum capacity of intelligence to a larger series, especially after the success of this novel. The chapters presented from the Spider point of view make them seem so human, despite the references to "eating hands" and "baby welts" and "paternal fur. The spiders are by far the most sympathetic, but every character is interesting and there is a lot of them.

This three-way contest, with Qeng Ho and Emergents fighting a bitter war with each other full of treachery and dashed hopes, while the fate of the Spiders hangs in the balance, makes for a compelling story all the way through to the end.

I'd be much happier if it lingered, and failing that am happy to reread the passage several times in a row just to get the necessary enjoyment from the scene. the starting instant was actually about fifteen million seconds later, the 0-second of one of Humankind's first computer operating systems. In between these two major characters are all sorts of minor allies and enemies and people of uncertain loyalty. Any way, from the half way point onward this book is very involving and you may need a deFocus treatment afterward. Indeed, as we learn from flashbacks and Pham's heavy ruminations, he has done things of which he is not proud.Because it´s new land, close to anything with a not human lead protagonist species has the potential to explore ideas of how higher evolved intelligence might work out in an ant colony, with normally solitary insects who would intuitively kill each other on sight, and the other mentioned species. I do not think it is possible to anthropomorphize aliens and their society any more than Vinge does here. While the Quen Ho/Emergence folks are tied up in a L1 orbit above the planet, lurking, Vinge takes us to the spiders and tells there story. Two space faring races of humans discover a unique physical anomaly: a star that mysteriously turns on and off at regular intervals.

Ezr's position as the unique liaison officer between Qeng Ho and Emergents leads him to despair, and he accepts Pham Nuwen's offer to join a plot against the Emergents as a way to personal redemption as well as to take revenge against the Emergents. Even the strong female VILLAIN turns out to just be a strong female heroine whose mind has been subjugated by Focus. Even though it was handled a bit clumsily prose-wise the irritating view on the spider species and the later explanation thereof was a nice twist. This massive accumulation of data implies that almost any useful program one could want already exists in the Qeng Ho fleet library, hence the need for computer archaeologists to dig up needed programs, work around their peculiarities and bugs, and assemble them into useful constructs. Because if there's one constant across the depths of space and time, it's that nothing lasts forever.Pham announces his plans to free all of the Focused in the entire Emergent civilization, and, if he survives that, to go to the Galactic Center to find the source of the OnOff star and the strange technology remnants that have clearly traveled with it. As Apatt aluded to though, there's something about the book that doesn't ring 'right' to start with.



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