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

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The OnOff star lights for about 50 years and during that time it is a normal G star (like Earth's), but then switches 'off' for 200 years or so like clockwork. 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.

Supuși ciclicității Stelei Fluctuante, viața lor se împarte între sutele de ani de hibernare în Întuneric și cele trei decenii de lumină, departe de a suspecta intrigile ce se țes deasupra lor. 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. What distinguishes the Emergents is that they have taken a ‘mindrot’ virus that plunged them into a Dark Age, and controlled it so that they can direct the mental activities of people and make them Focused, concentrating on just a single task with obsessive attention. Only one concrete connection links A Deepness in the Sky with A Fire Upon the Deep: the character of Pham Nuwen, the "Programmer-at-Arms", who appears in both books.M-au încântat personajele ilustrate atât de complex, întâlnirea finală dintre cele două specii, acumularea treptată a detaliilor poveștii și amplificarea tensiunii în ultimele sute de pagini. Unlike so many science fiction books, Vinge presents space travel as something difficult, expensive, and always teetering on the precipice of disaster. A brilliant scientist, Sherkaner Underhill, spurs a scientific renaissance that culminates in the Spiders staying awake through the Dark. It involves the most memorable and vibrant of the human characters, Pham Nuwen and his time among the trading fleet, the Qeng Ho.

The scale of A Deepness in the Sky‘s story is restricted to human-occupied space, before it was discovered that higher Zones of Thought exist. As much as I liked A Fire Upon the Deep, its hard-science-fiction tropes never quite cohere, and the story and characterization suffer as a result.The title is coined by one of the story's main characters in a debate, in a reference to the hibernating habits of his species and to the vastness of space. After that there was still slow parts, but it made the story seem realistic and not forced, and the story built up towards the end climax beautifully.

It's a really good, interesting book - Vinge does a fabulous job (again) with his alien characters and creates a culture that will live long in the memory. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Zones of Thoughts novel, but this second one was too much of several things for me to care: too many characters, too much talking, too many (and too long) flashbacks. When the spidey senses are tingling, better watch out for 8 legged surprises spinning towards your colonialists.Vinge didn't drop the ball once, and he even made the Spiders relatable and interesting characters, so that the shift between human and Spider POV never annoyed me the way some books do when a more interesting character's story is left hanging to shift to a less interesting one. Then there are the Qeng Ho, a loosely organized human civilization whose culture is based on interstellar trading. 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.

While the earnestly deadly culture war is playing out above, down on the planet we are introduced to the arachnid-like 'Spiders', which have to rank amongst the greatest alien species in all of science fiction. If you must do without something, do without beautiful prose and artsy metaphors and just tell a rip-roaring good yarn which people will sit around campfires and recount for as long as humans live under the stars. I've had a great affection for creepy-crawlies since childhood - to the extent of once keeping a black widow spider as a pet - but even distancing myself from my own bias as best as I can, I personally think that the 'Spiders' are more lovable than Spielberg’s pet-like goofy E. Family, having left his royal life to become a member of the Qeng Ho and show his parents that their boy made good, has been attending along with Trixia Bonsol the banquet of the Emergents. It's this sort of realistic, hard science fiction that promises us no easy answers and makes me wonder if humans are really meant to live in space.Becky Chambers is big at playing with the social and cultural elements of this and Vinge is kind of a predecessor and maybe even inspiration, Octavia E Butler too. Because that's the difference between Pham Nuwen and Tomas Nau, despite Tomas' own comparisons to the Pham Nuwen of Qeng Ho legend: Pham knows when to give up his dreams and embrace something new.

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