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A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought #2)

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  17,559 ratings  ·  547 reviews
After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.

The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens' very doors
Mass Market Paperback, 775 pages
Published January 15th 2000 by Tor Science Fiction (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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In the 'The Sixth Sense', the character Malcolm tries to tell a story. Unfortunately, it's a bad story, which Cole immediately picks up on, and comments, "You have to add some twists and stuff."

I tend to think that the essence of a well-crafted story is the unexpected. A good story has unexpected tragedies, unexpected joys, and unexpected crowning moments of awesome. Yet, there are a surprisingly few good writers that are also good story tellers. In fact, when it comes right down to it, I think
Jan 24, 2015 Apatt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf-f
Vernor Vinge, a scientist who can tell a good yarn, another anomaly among genre writers, the other anomalous authors being China Miéville and David Brin, and they are all bald! Makes me want to shave my head, I bet Patrick Stewart can write amazing books if he wanted to, make it so Pat!

A few months ago I read A Fire Upon the Deep, Vinge's first "Zones of Thought" novel, it quickly barged its way into my all-time top 20 list. A Deepness in the Sky is not going to dislodge another book from that l
4.5 stars.

First--This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, and, despite the fact that it doesn't quite earn a 5 star rating from me (more on that later), I would highly recommend the book to anyone who's remotely interested in science fiction. It's a testament to the book that I managed to finish it while in the midst of an extraordinarily busy semester.

Vinge really hits the balance of "science" and "fiction" almost perfectly--and, even though the book weighs in at a hefty
Have you ever read someone else's review of a book and thought, "Yes! That is exactly how I felt!"

Well, Apatt has nailed this one for me. To the extent that I'm not sure what else to add.

Seriously. Go read his review first, and then come back to hear me witter on if you're still interested...





So what can I add to that?

My first experience with Vinge was Rainbow's End, which I did not get along with. I thought it was rubbish. I picked up A Fire Upon the Deep as a Hugo winner, with a
I honestly have no idea how to even rate this. Objectively, it's a very solid book. Vinge's prose is kind of dry and his habit of throwing a bunch of hints at you before really telling you what's going on is alternately effective and obnoxious.

I found the first few hundred pages terribly hard to read, though. It's not a pleasant story, and Vinge doesn't pull any punches. If you're like me and triggered by deception, manipulation, and oh, rape with bonus memory-erasure... buyer beware. Vinge also
Vernor Vinge has hit a home run twice in a row. A Deepness in the Sky had all the fantastic alienness mixed with human drama and far future sci-fi awesomeness that made A Fire Upon the Deep one of my favorite SF novels ever. I've become a lot pickier about my sci-fi, but A Deepness in the Sky has held up even better than the first book in the twelve years since it was written.

At its heart is a conflict between two starfaring cultures: the Qeng Ho, a culture of interstellar traders who take the l
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 18, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
I loved this and was up all night finishing it. That's rather rare with science fiction, at least hard science fiction. Few science fiction writers--hell, few writers--have Vinge's sense of pacing and ability to create suspense. That's because you care about his characters intensely, human as well as alien. Not something you find enough in Hard Science Fiction--and Vinge brings off some mind-blowing concepts without ever falling into infodump or other awkward constructions. I thought I had read ...more
Ben Babcock
I don't know about you, but I spend an inordinate amount of time meditating upon the far future of humanity. I don't just worry about the future of my generation, or the future of the generation after mine, or the future of a couple of generations down the line. I'm talking one-, ten-, fifty-thousand years into the future. Will humanity still exist—would we recognize it as humanity even if it does? How many times between now and then will civilizations rise and fall? Because if there's one const ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moderately advanced science fiction fans :-)
Recommended to Richard by:
This is an Michener-sized epic tale of conflict, cooperation and betrayal between two human civilizations racing to make first contact with an alien race.

To a very small extent, this is a prequel to Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep — it is set much earlier in the same universe, and features the character Pham Nuwen (who plays a somewhat unusual role in Fire).

While Fire involves the interactions between many races, Deepness takes place before humans had met any other technological civilizations. It
An interesting variation on a science fiction theme I am especially fond of, the first-contact story. In this case, the monstrous alien invaders are the humans, conspiring to foment nuclear war among a race of unsuspecting intelligent arachnoids. To make things more interesting (and give us some anthropomorphs to cheer for), the humans are also divided up into good guys and bad guys.

Of course, the above variation has already been explored in SF. Frederik Pohl's Jem springs to mind; indeed, Pohl
This is a fantastic story. Books like this are why people read science fiction. Sure, it's got aliens and spaceships and technology that you have to use your imagination to understand, but at the core of it is a series of characters who are undergoing struggles that are truly timeless. I love this stuff.

I probably never will get tired of a well-written story where people are struggling against a ruthless tyrant. This is represented well here by Tomas Nau, the Emergent Podmaster, in control of hi
Geoffrey Dow
I really ought to know better by now. It doesn't matter whether an award is given out by fans or by peers, critics or the general public, whether the criteria is ostensibly "best" this or "favourite" that.

Awards are a crap shoot, influenced by fashions, by lobbying and by plain old bad taste.

That's right, I said it. Sometimes an award is given out to a book (or a movie, or a play, or a poem — the list is as endless as variations in the arts) that simply doesn't deserve it. That doesn't even meri
mark monday
I was imagining a movie version while I was reading this one. half of the movie would be animated and would feature adorable spider-aliens. love those aliens. but I don't know what I'd do about the endless cycle of rape and mind control that happens to a particularly sympathetic character. I don't think I'd want that in my movie.
I understand the appeal of this book. I loved A Fire Upon The Deep. But I was very disappointed in this one. It all came down to the spiders.

One would think that an alien species evolving many, many light years from Earth would end up with a culture, history, and technological advancement utterly alien (pun intended) to what Earth spawned. Instead, we find the spiders living in a near carbon copy of 20th-century Earth.

I know much of what we read with the spiders is supposed to be coming at us th
This one is just as good - if not better - than the first. It's got almost nothing to do plot-wise with the first one, so the two stand alone really well. This one surrounds these two groups of humans - the Qeng Ho, an interstellar trader organization that's existed for centuries, and the Emergents, an oppressive civilization that's only just recently recovered from a Dark Age - as both groups discover a planet that orbits something called the On/Off Star; a star that becomes dormant, releases l ...more
I loved this epic. Two groups of humans are converging on the only planet that revolves around the On/Off star. The Queng Ho are a group of traders that have been loosely connected for thousands of years. The Emergents are from a planet fairly recently back (in relationship to the Queng Ho) after an apocolyptic event of some kind. While the Queng Ho have quite sophisticated technology, the Emergents have Focus.

The two groups converge on the On/Off system during an off period, when the sentient,
(Spoiler free review, at least as far as possible)

This is a prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, set in the days of the Qeng Ho from which Pham Nuwen rose. It's works perfectly fine as a standalone novel and in my opinion even outshines it's great predecessor.

The zones so important to the first book are merely hinted upon here, but this novel features the most fascinating and detailed description of an alien society I've read (even beating that in The Mote Series. You can't help but like the creepy
This is a prequel of sorts to another of Vinge's Hugo Award-winning novels, A Fire Upon the Deep, although it can be read independently. They're both good books, but I liked this one better.

It's fascinating far-future hard science fiction with some unusual elements: humans have spread out into the galaxy but their technology does not include faster-than-light travel or anti-gravity. Human lifetimes have been extended to a few hundred years, but the interstellar travelers featured in this story u
Another superb Vernor Vinge book. The first 150 pages or so are a little slow. It's mostly setup for the story lines that come into their own later on. The entire middle of the book builds and builds, and the last 150 pages go so fast you won't believe it's over. If you've read A Fire Upon the Deep, you will be chuckling to yourself toward the end as certain things are discovered on Arachnia.

The characters are excellent and realistic. Tomas Nau and Brugel are villeins you'll love to hate. Vinh
Jan 20, 2012 Sandi marked it as paused
Shelves: first-reads, sci-fi
5/15/10--It may sound stupid, but I'm glad I won this FirstReads book that is nowhere near new. I loved A Fire Upon The Deep. I think Tor put a lot of their most popular books on FirstReads to celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.
Second time through, and now I think it's my favorite sci-fi book.
4.5 stars.

This probably isn't a book that I'll reread over and over again, but it definitely held my attention. In fact, I may have to reread it just because I was so impatient to get to the next page and skip ahead. This is a prequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, and I'd say you should read A Fire Upon the Deep first, since that's part of what made this book such a page turner for me. A Fire Upon the Deep gives you some information about events in A Deepness in the Sky, but due to the sheer amount o
Alex Feinberg
Eight thousand years into the future, the humankind has went through "The Age of Failed Dreams". There is no "strong AI", no complex nano-machines or general assemblers, and no faster than light travel or communications. Yet humans travels between the stars, terraform planets, have encountered two (and are about to encounter the third!) intelligent species; medical advances, suspended animation, and relativistic time dilation aboard Bussard Ramjet ("ramscoop") equipped ships has drastically expa ...more
I loved this book, and Vernor Vinge has officially replaced Greg Bear as my current favorite science fiction writer. The history and operation of the Qeng Ho is very "romantic" and appealing, and I liked the presentation of human space as being full of far-flung colonies that rise and fall from civilization repeatedly over thousands of years... it's really a great sci-fi universe set up, and provides interesting background to A Fire Upon the Deep. It's really interesting how the presentation of ...more
Timothy K.
I was looking for an appropriate entrance into the domain of the great Vernor Vinge for some time. Being an avid fan of the space opera sub genre of science fiction, and of science fiction in general, and seeing as Vinge is known to excel in both, I acquiesced.

Should I begin with light reading, a snapshot instead of an album? Say some of his earlier work like Marooned in Real Time? No fuck it I'll take the door stop. I have to admit that after the three weeks it took me to turn all 780 pages(odd
A Deepness in the Sky tells the story of two space-faring societies as they simultaneously arrive at the planet of a third civilization orbiting an anomalous star: one that will blink on and off at set intervals, and one that each civilization believes to hold all kind of potential. There are conflicting agendas, hidden identities, and exciting-sounding science that I only superficially understood but that was fun and never really detracted from the narrative flow. There are a couple of set piec ...more
It's strange how I stumbled upon some sci-fi authors so early (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Card) because it seemed my friends and parents' friends were all reading them (a lot of my recommendations for reading as a kid came from adults rather than from other kids), and yet other authors (Cherryh, Bujold, Vinge) I never even heard of.

That's the reason I'm enjoying going through the Hugo winners methodically - it's like a more unbiased sample of everything there is out there. It's the reason that I
Aug 27, 2008 Nat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any scifi fan, really. Vinge does good work
It took me a little while to really get in to this one, but around maybe halfway or so, things picked up and I really enjoyed it.

A large part of the book goes back and forth between the Spiders' and the humans' storylines. I thought it was particularly interesting how for the most part, I found the Spiders' story to be even more human and identifiable than that of the humans. The Spiders had names like "Victory" and "Underhill" which, while slightly odd, were at least familiar as words. The huma
It's been thousands of years since humanity has spread to the stars. There is no galactic empire, the physics of star travel don't really allow for that, but there are hundreds of worlds, some of which have fallen into barbarism and recreated their civilization several times over. But rarely has there been something truly new... until now. Two of these distantly separated branches of humanity reunite at an astrological anomaly, chasing radio signals that are truly alien... one is the Qeng Ho, an ...more
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Vernor Steffen Vinge is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon The Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999) and Rainbows End (2006), his Hugo Award-winning novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004), as well as for his 1993 e ...more
More about Vernor Vinge...

Other Books in the Series

Zones of Thought (3 books)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)
  • The Children of the Sky  (Zones of Thought #3)
A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1) Rainbows End The Peace War (Across Realtime, #1) Marooned in Realtime (Across Realtime, #2) The Children of the Sky  (Zones of Thought #3)

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“Technical people don't make good slaves. Without their wholehearted cooperation, things fall apart.” 8 likes
“On this small world, there will be no more real darkness. But there will always be the Dark. Go out tonight, Lady Pedure. Look up. We are surrounded by the Dark and always will be. And just as our Dark ends with the passage of time in a New Sun, so the greater Dark ends at the shores of a million million stars. Think! If our sun's cycle was once less than a year, then even earlier our sun might have been middling bright all the time. I have students who are sure most of the stars are just like our sun, only much much younger, and many with worlds like ours. You want a deepness that endures, a deepness that Spiderkind can depend on? Pedure, there is a deepness in the sky, and it extends forever.” 6 likes
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