Andreea Daia's Reviews > A Fire Upon The Deep

A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge
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's review
Jun 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: hugo-award, read-2012, science-fiction, space-opera, planetary-romance, war-military
Read from May 29 to June 03, 2012

Review Subtitle: "Location... location... location..."

Welcome to the real estate of the galaxy, a.k.a, the Zones of Thought, where everything from technology to the cognitive process itself is a function of the distance from the galactic center. That is, the further away from the center, the more advanced the potential civilizations and the forms of life. So advanced in fact, that the Transcend, the outermost region, is the home of the gods or Powers (entities whose intelligence is omnipotent), while the Slowness, the innermost region, is a galactic ghetto and home of... the Old Earth (modest technology, human-equivalent of intelligence). Mr. Vinge truly creates a fascination and original landscape of our galaxy.

Still, A Fire Upon the Deep is not a story about the Old Earth (by now, an almost forgotten planet), but the story of Tines, a backwater world located even further up in the Slowness and hence stuck for millennia at a Medievalistic level of technological development. It is also the story of Relay, of Straumli Realm, of Sjandra Kei, of Harmonious Repose (humorously nicknamed "Rest in Peace"), all worlds of of the Beyond, the middle zone of the galaxy, and all of them (view spoiler) by the Power called Blight that is accidentally brought to life in the first chapter of the novel. And in the same time, it is a profoundly human story of a handful of characters, whose life is threatened by the newborn Power and who try to find a way to annihilate it.

The amount of information that streams in front of us is incredible, and since he used to be a professor of Mathematics, that information is quite often strewn with abstract details. Most often the facts help advance the plot, but at times, I felt that the novel would have done better with 50 pages less. Also, and this is the reason, I down-rated the book, I found some of the characters' motivations a bit weak, Ravna's particularly.

To end, I didn't believe that the solution to expunge the Blight was morally questionable, as it's been suggested. In fact, I believe that a free civilization, even crippled, is superior to a civilization who lost its freedom and selfhood.
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Quotes Andreea Liked

Vernor Vinge
“I never guessed I could cry so hard my face hurt.”
Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep

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