Friday, June 17, 2011

A Fire Upon the Deep

Title: A Fire Upon the Deep
Author: Vernor Vinge
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 1992

Recommendation: A solid science fiction adventure on a scale.
Rating: 7.5/10

Summary: Beyond the Beyond, humanity discovers something very old and powerful. A perversion that will take over unless something can stop it. An item that was taken far into the Slow Zone onto a planet inhabited by wolf-like creatures and kept safe by two human children.

Reactions: This book has been mentioned to me as a good example of a human-alien contact story. Vernor Vinge has indeed done an outstanding job creating a world where multiple species coexist. We get deep into the psychology of Tines and get quite familiar with the race of Riders.

The story is told from two angles. One part of it happens on the world of Tines where two human children end up being marooned in a medieval civilization. The other part follows Ravna, a human who works at the Relay and her relationship with Pham. Eventually the two stories become one, but Vinge takes his time to draw out of the characters, introduce the world, and build conflict.

I was enjoying the book a lot at the beginning. There is a lot of world building happening, but it's well combined with character interaction and developments in plot. However, somewhere around the middle of the book, I felt my pace slow down and felt that the book could probably be more concise. It picked up the pace again towards the ending and did a pretty nice job tying off various subplots of the story.

Overall, it was a pretty good read with world building being the strongest point in the book. It also has some very interesting ideas on evolution of civilizations. However the pacing left me wondering whether I would want to pick up another novel by Vinge.

1 comment:

  1. This is one that I hear about often, more so of late for some reason. Sorry to hear that it bogs down some but must still be a solid read given your rating. I know I'll get to it one day as Vinge is an author that keeps popping up on my radar.