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The Children of the Sky

(Zones of Thought #3)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  5,809 ratings  ·  517 reviews

After nearly twenty years, Vernor Vinge has produced an enthralling sequel to his memorable bestselling novel A Fire Upon the Deep.

Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have

ebook, 676 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Tor Books (first published October 2011)
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Doug Considering that the publication dates for the three books in the series are 1992, 1998, & 2011, it could be a while before we'll know.…moreConsidering that the publication dates for the three books in the series are 1992, 1998, & 2011, it could be a while before we'll know.(less)
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Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If your favorite part of Vernor Vinge's Hugo-winning "A Fire Upon the Deep" was the relations between two human children and the dog-like hive minds called Tines on the medieval planet on which they became stranded, then you will love "The Children of the Sky".

If you liked AFUtD for the peeks into the connected, multi-civilization melange of super tech species and near godlike transcended Powers, and the desperate flight of the rescue ship "Out of Band II" from the voracious Blight that was shut
Mike Ash
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a scene in A Beautiful Mind where Nash is visited by a friend and former colleague after coming home from the mental hospital. Nash shows his friend his latest work, which is just childish scribbling, from a man who had previously done work worthy of a Nobel Prize. The friend gives him patronizing encouragement but it's clear that he's horrified at what has happened.

That's how I felt upon getting into The Children of the Sky. Vinge has produced two of the best books I've ever had the pri
Angie Boyter
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have seen some fairly critical reviews of The Children of the Sky, but it seems that in general they do not criticize the book for what it is but rather because it is not what they wanted it to be. Vinge fans have been waiting for this book eagerly, because the other two books in the series were so good.
My impression, though, is that there seem to be (at least) 3 kinds of readers involved, and we were anticipating 3 different books. First, there are the people interested in the al
First off, I was a huge fan of Vinge's other books, A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. They were awesome examples of hard science fiction, rife with interesting and innovative ideas and characters. Sadly Children of the Sky does not come close to its predessesors.

To me it felt like the story suffered from Secondbookitis. It seems pretty clear that there is going to be a sequel, but this book just didn't know what to do in the interim. It was interesting to see how the humans were bo
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a bit of a roller coaster for me, in that I expected huge undertakings and huge payoffs, but what I got never delivered more than an upheaval of Tines society and the progression toward a technological revolution in the Slow Zone, but after I got over this rather large disappointment, I was pleased to run with all the packs in a fascinating, complex, and plot-driven wonder of a really good character novel.

I should have reread A Fire Upon The Deep first, but it wasn't absolutely necessar
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you're following up one of the best science fiction books of the late 20th Century (A Fire Upon the Deep), expectations will be high. And unfortunately, they're dashed here. There are parts of this book that are fantastic, but there are a few sections that are glacially paced. A bigger problem is the characters: One of the heroic leads from the first book comes across as a myopic idiot at times in this one, and having just re-read AFUTD prior to starting this, that was hard to swallow.

Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was one of the numerous people who was looking forward to this book yet like so many others I found that, while it's enjoyable, it falls far short of the mark of its predecessors. A sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, it's far more thematically similar to A Deepness in the Sky.

There are two big drawbacks to this book. One is the glacial pace (I easily skimmed at least a hundred pages in the middle of the novel with no loss). Antagonists who are so obviously evil that they should've been dispatche
Peter Tillman
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I started reading "Children"with moderate expectations: I knew it wasn't another A Fire Upon The Deep, but I've liked all his other novels -- I'm pretty sure I've read them all.

I liked the book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's mid-quality Vinge, and definitely not the place to start if you're new to him. A definite must-read for Vinge fans, like me. For those lukewarm re Vinge -- I'm not sure. For me, 3.5 stars, rounded up. I liked it a bit more on rereading.

There are writing-craft issue
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-audiobook
Not quite as good as the first two, but still really enjoyable. The first two just have this great scope to them - they take place on more than just a single planet and with multiple groups of characters - while this one is smaller, confined to a single planet and a fairly straightforward story. Like I said, though, still really good. I really enjoyed this series and Vernor Vinge's writing. Looking forward to reading more by him.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it's the sequel I've been waiting for - for almost 20 years. TWENTY-YEARS! Why, oh why, would a man who takes 20 years to write a sequel, clearly write something that does not wrap up the story? Yep, this is a trilogy, at the very least, and he puts these things out so slow, he's all but blackmailing the world to come up with some life extension technique that will allow him to continue writing for many more decades. Either that or we never find out how it ends.

That's why I'm a bit pissed,
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tines, anyone who loves space opera
I can't say I waited twenty years for this like Vinge's long-time fans, since I only read A Fire Upon the Deep last year, but damn it was good to read another Vinge space opera. His Zones of Thought books now rival David Brin's Uplift series for my favorite SF. Vinge writes awesome, galaxy-spanning tales that manage to preserve some level of believability given a populated galaxy with super-advanced FTL technology, and he's particularly good with aliens, as he has proven with A Deepness in the S ...more
Scott Hawley
I see several similarities between this book and Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead, his sequel to Ender's Game.

Both are sequels to exciting, mega-hit sci-fi novels involving space travel, action-packed battles, changes of locale, and more.

Both sequels are confined to one particular planet, confined to the politics and relations between humans and one particular alien race.

Both sequels, while somewhat well-written, are slow and mundane compared to the first novels they follow.
Melissa McShane
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, science-fiction
It took me a while to warm up to this book. I hate it when well-meaning characters are betrayed by people who want power, but who claim to be acting "for the greater good." That made the first third of the book unpleasant to me even though I realized what was happening with the humans on Tines World grew naturally out of their situation (the now-adult children, remembering their lives in the highly advanced Straumli Realm, resent being trapped in a medieval world). But then that pattern keeps re ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A study in the dangers of high expectations.

I so, so wanted to love this book. Vernor Vinge is a great author, and the other books in the Zones of Thought series serve as shining examples of the very best that science fiction has to offer. But while Children of the Sky is by no means a bad book, it is thoroughly average. The characters lacked life, the dialog was awkward, the plot twists alternated between being incredibly obvious and incredibly contrived, and on the whole it lacked the sense of
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2011, audiobooks
Two credits. I had been anxiously awaiting the release of The Children of the Sky and totally planned on getting the audiobook because the ebook was too expensive. Then, it turned out that the audiobook was two credits on Audible. I hesitated for about one day. Then, I saw that it was narrated by my favorite narrator, Oliver Wyman and I caved. Wyman is absolutely wonderful and giving each character a unique voice and I have yet to hear a male narrator who does a better job at voicing women and c ...more
A Fire Upon the Deep is an important novel that SF fans really should read. I think, like Niven's Ringworld, it's a flawed book with really good ideas. Like Ringworld, it also has a much better sequel.

The original book had two completely different plots centered around different, very interesting ideas. It was obvious that the one plot was moving toward the other, but only because they were appearing in the same book. There was no actual causal relationship between the two, so the book was extre
Rift Vegan
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the 1st book for the aliens and I skipped the 2nd book because I hated Pham: there is no reason for me to read an entire book about him. I read this book because it continues the story of the Tines... I enjoyed it even tho V.V. insists on continuing to kill my favorite characters. And I enjoyed it even tho the bigger picture story (about the Blight) has not been advanced here at all (except they may be 10 of the 30 light years closer.)

(view spoiler)
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a disappointing sequel to the excellent A Fire Upon the Deep. Set entirely on Tines world, the surviving characters from A Fire Upon the Deep have some adventures against power-hungry villains. Annoyingly, it doesn't tell a complete story - the big showdown with The Blight is trailed repeatedly, but won't happen until some later book. If an author repeatedly says "ooh there's a big interesting bad guy coming", said bad guy really should make an appearance. The wolf-pack Tines remain an inte ...more
Tim Hicks
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Darn. Another big book that doesn't tell you IT ISN'T GOING TO WRAP THINGS UP until the next book. OK, it does a decent job of coming to the novel equivalent of a large semi-colon. I wish there was a way to find out whether a book's a standalone without risking big spoilers.

There's a lot of five-star in this book, but also quite a bit of three-star.

Surprisingly few reviewers have noted how interesting the exploration of the Tines concept is. I smiled every time I read "One of X came closer"
This was a very frustrating read/listen after I enjoyed the first two Zones of Thought books. This one (published 12 years after the second in the series and 19 years after the first, perhaps explaining the differences in style) had, I thought, some major problems with pacing, narrative structure and style. The author seemed to be aiming for a more character-driven story focused more on politicking and relationships compared to the first two books, but unfortunately this just led to too large a ...more
Mary Davis
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Readers
Shelves: books-read-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The best thing about this novel are the Tine, a fascinating alien species, telepathic and with an individual existing as groups of individuals with a sense of immortality. Vinge explores the possibilities of such group minds quite well. Humans provide a foil which helps us understand the nature of the Tine. He does an adequate job, but throughout my read I kept wishing CJ Cherryh had written the work. She is The Master of alien/human interactions.

My main problem with the book was the plot or st
Daniel Goldsmith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tudor Ciocarlie
I've got mixed feelings about this book. I respect and admire what Vernor Vinge is doing with the aliens, but I have no love for this novel. It is long and some parts are, for me, really boring. Its prequel, A Fire Upon Deep, is much better but still has some of the same problems. Despite this, I will read the sequel of The Children of the Sky without hesitation (hoping the wait will not be as long), because the story in this middle book has great potential.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2-star
The editor should be shot! I enjoyed the first book in this series but this one contributed very little to the story line - lots of stuff we did not need to get the points I think the author was trying to get across in way too many words. I like the concept of the series so I will continue to read the series, unless the next book is like this one - then, like the wheel of time series, I will drop it - something I rarely do!
Paul Brown
I usually don't give books less that 3 stars, because if it's that bad, then I simply stop reading them.

This book gets 2 stars because I was (only vaguely) curious enough to find out how it ends, and boy was that a waste of time.

A non-ending; no loose ends tied up, an important character dies offscreen and it turns out that was the climax? So many questions left unanswered (in fact, not addressed), and I just don't care what happens to anyone.
Florin Constantinescu
Wow, if Fire Upon the Deep was pretty cool, and Deepness in the Sky was bearable, The Children of the Sky is one of the worst and most useless books I've ever read.
The action is so confusing and to no actual purpose at all. Who cares about the darned tines and their internal political struggles? Yuck. The writing style sucks big time.

Avoid. Stick with FUTD which didn't need any sequel.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that left me hanging! I still want to know what's happened to Pham Nuwen! This went back to the Tines world, which was interesting, but I still like the second volume better :)
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read a bunch of Vinge's other stuff, all of which I've really enjoyed...particularly the 'Peace War' books, which were just great. Large scale, big idea hard sci fi just floats my boat, and Vinge does that so well.

This one, though, just didn't catch. It almost did, particularly given the way Vinge brings to life his aliens. One of the best marks of a good sci fi author is realistic alien cultures and mindstates, and the pack-minds of the Tines were just wonderfully realized.

That said, I had
May 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Space Opera Fans : The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge 1 30 Jan 01, 2015 08:03PM  

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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 hi ...more

Other books in the series

Zones of Thought (3 books)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)
  • A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2)

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