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

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  15,160 ratings  ·  492 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 door...more
Mass Market Paperback, 775 pages
Published January 15th 2000 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1999)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
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...more
Connie
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...more
Apatt
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...more
kat
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...more
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
David
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...more
Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Richard
Aug 12, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moderately advanced science fiction fans :-)
Recommended to Richard by: Borderlands-Books.com
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...more
Palmyrah
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...more
Mark
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...more
Ingmar
(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...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
Ryan
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...more
Sandi
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.
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.
Alex Feinberg
Eight thousand years into the future, the humankind is in "The Age of Failed Dreams". There is no "strong AI", no complex nano-machines or general assemblers, and no faster than light travel or communication. 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 expanded lifespa...more
Josh
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...more
Katie
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
Nathaniel
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...more
Nat
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...more
Peter
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
Nicolas
Au tréfonds du ciel raconte les expéditions rivales, puis conjointes, de deux civilisations spatiales vers une étrange étoile, dont le soleil s’allume et se réteind tout les deux cents ans exactement. Bien sûr, il y aura la guerre, la désolation et la mort, mais il y aura aussi la découverte d’une civilisation extra-terrestre dont les individus se rapprochent pas mal des araignées.
Mais tout ça, on le découvre très rapidement et ce n’est pas là le sel de l’histoire. Le sel de ce roman, c’est la...more
Jamie
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...more
Michael Battaglia
Some people have bad days. Others have bad years. These people learn what it's like to have bad decades. And to make matters worse, it turns out the spiders are smarter than they are. Hence is life in Vinge's universe. What fun!

Set years and years before "A Fire Upon the Deep" (and with nary a nod toward that novel's "Zones of Thought"), this one features two sets of human civilizations in slower than light ships venturing across the galaxy toward a planet that has a non-human intelligent civili...more
David Lindelof
Far better than Fire Upon the Deep, but I still feel that something is missing from Vinge's books that would propel them to legendary status. And I think it might have to do with the off-handed, almost light, way that he deals with the fact that entire civilizations are born, evolve and die in his books, sometimes in the same sentence. But his characters seems to deal with this fact as one would deal with bad weather.

Awe, I think, is the missing ingredient in Vinge's books. Awe at spacefaring tr...more
Daniel
This is an excellent SciFi novel. Unlike a lot of SciFi literature, this one does a great job at mostly working within the constraints of physics as we understand it right now (spaceships travel at max 30% the speed of light, there is no AI, ...). The book touches on many interesting thoughts, e.g. the way human civilisations work if civilisations are on isolated planets and trade between them often takes hundreds of years. The author explores different characters in turn telling their story and...more
Moidelhoff
Although this is a prequel to "A Fire Upon The Deep", the Zones of thought thread is not explored, so this can be read as a stand alone novel.
The physical size of the book was a bit daunting at first,
I should have had a little more faith in Mr Vinge,
all the characters have plenty of time to be fleshed out and become emotionally engaged with the reader.700 pages flew by.i actually could have done with a longer ending.

The only slightly negative thing I can say is the aliens were'nt alien enough.
A...more
Kevin Underhill
I thought this was not quite as good as the first in this series, A Fire Upon the Deep, but only by maybe a quarter-star, so that would make this one like 4.75 stars. But then I gave it an extra quarter-star because one of the main characters is an alien spider named Underhill, so it ended up being five stars anyway.

It's seriously a great book.
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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 essay...more
More about Vernor Vinge...
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.” 5 likes
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