Jamie Collins's Reviews > A Deepness in the Sky

A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
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Oct 24, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, scifi-aliens
Read in January, 2010

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 use suspended animation to stretch those years across millennia. Isolated by vast distances, human civilizations rise and fall cyclically while only a very few intelligent alien races have been discovered. This book tells the story of one such discovery as two clashing cultures rush to investigate and exploit the denizens of a remote and very unusual solar system.

I admire Vinge's universe very much, and I really enjoyed this story. It has a slightly smaller scope than A Fire Upon the Deep which allows for more emotional investment in the fate of the characters. But I do find Vinge's writing a little frustrating. The narrative often feels obscure, as if entire sentences have been accidentally omitted. I think sometimes it's appropriate, to invoke a feeling of alienness, but most of the time I would prefer more clarity. Still, a very enjoyable book and I'll read more of Vinge's work.
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Reading Progress

01/09/2010 page 1
0.16% "Giving Vinge another try. I liked his novel A Fire Upon the Deep, but I wasn't blown away by it."
01/11/2010 page 200
32.89% "Fascinating universe - but Vinge's writing still leaves me a little cold. Can't put my finger on why."
01/12/2010 page 326
53.62% "This is very good - but I think I know what bothers me about Vinge: his scope is so huge that he has no time for details. I crave details."
01/15/2010 page 774
100% "Very good. I liked this better than A Fire Upon the Deep."

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