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

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  24,503 Ratings  ·  779 Reviews
Alternative Cover Edition can be found here.

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, bo
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Mass Market Paperback, 775 pages
Published January 15th 2000 by Tor Science Fiction (first published March 1999)
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Steven This isn't a sequel and is barely a prequel. It is very much a separate story. There is exactly one character in common, Pham, and his actions and…moreThis isn't a sequel and is barely a prequel. It is very much a separate story. There is exactly one character in common, Pham, and his actions and relationships in this book have no bearing on the first book. The third book is a direct sequel to the first.(less)

Community Reviews

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Matt
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Apatt
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
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Stuart
A Deepness in the Sky: Might have been interesting at half the length
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
A Fire Upon the Deep was a big success for Vernor Vinge, winning the 1993 Hugo Award. Seven years later, he followed up with A Deepness in the Sky, set 20,000 years earlier in the same universe, and this captured the 2000 Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award. I came to both books with high expectations and was eager for a big-canvas space opera filled with mind-boggling technologies, exot
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Connie
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: with-reviews
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
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David
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love science fiction stories that incorporate novel concepts, and this one introduces several intriguing concepts. First, there is the variable sun that goes through a long on-off cycle. Second, there are the alien creatures living on a planet in the sun's system that have evolved to live through this cycle. They are called "spiders" because they are short and have multiple limbs. Then there are the Qeng Ho, a loosely organized human civilization whose culture is based on interstellar trading ...more
Efka
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, war, space-opera
Apie pirmąją šios trilogijos knygą, "Liepsnojančios gelmės: Pirma knyga", rašiau, kad nebloga, kad faina, kad nerd friendly. Tai šita, antroji, visiškai perspjovė pirmąją. Pagal idėją, viziją, vystymą, sociumo kūrimą ir netgi intelektinį siužeto suplanavimą ši knyga niekuo nenusileidžia net pačiam Dune, o aš tokiais palyginimais paprastai stengiuosi nesimėtyti.

Tiesiog puiki knyga, tikras perliukas kiekvienam saifajaus mėgėjui.
Maria
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cu mii de ani înainte ca omenirea să descopere existența Zonelor Gânditoare, Qeng Ho, o organizație interplanetară a comercianților, a recepționat o serie de semnale ce ar indica prezența unei specii inteligente în apropierea straniei Stelei Fluctuante. Entuziasmul posibilității stabilirii unui contact cu o specie necunoscută le înflăcărează imaginația comercianților și pe cea a emergenților (de-a lungul a opt mii de ani de călătorii prin spațiu, oamenii au întâlnit doar alte două civilizații in ...more
mark monday
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: futuristik
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.
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
kat
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
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Megan Baxter
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had, it must be admitted, a hard time getting into this one. I'd pick it up and read a bit, but not make much real headway. Partly it's because other books that people had on hold at the library came in, or I needed to blast something through to be ready for my book club. These external factors, however, weren't all of it. Once I finally did get into the book, I really enjoyed it.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can re
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Clouds
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...


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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
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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
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Palmyrah
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked 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
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Mark
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Geoffrey Dow
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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Andrew Leon
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Wow, it's been a whole year since I reviewed A Fire Upon the Deep. If you remember back to that book, I said I was only going to read this one if it was better, and it was better, better enough that I wanted to know what happened even though I had some major issues with the book going in. And this one was slow, too, but not quite as slow as Fire. But let's just cut to it...

The first major issue with this book is that it's barely related to the first book in this "trilogy." Vaguely. Like, there's
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Richard
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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Jennifer
Dec 01, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vivone Os
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-h
Neizmjerno sam uživala čitajući ovu knjigu. Prava je poslastica, od prve pa sve do zadnje stranice. Kakva dobra ideja! Koja kompleksna zanimljiva savršeno ispričana priča! Odlični likovi! Totalno sam navijala za pozitivce, bila tužna zbog njih, radovala se njihovim pobjedama. I paukoliki likovi koji bi mi se u biti nekako gadili (zato što su paukoliki, jel!) osmišljeni su s toliko ljudskosti da ih čovjek jednostavno ne može ne zavoljeti. :) Ma joj, pet zvjezdica nije dovoljno za nju, zaslužila j ...more
Justin
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, audio
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
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David B
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
There is much to like about this book, the story of delegations from two seperate human cultures, one based on trade and the other on slavery, whose conflict leaves them marooned near the planet of the Spiders. In order to justify their trip and make their return home possible, they must wait for the alien culture below to attain a certain level of technology. There are interesting speculations about the nature of interstellar and planetary societies and imaginative extrapolations on technology. ...more
PSXtreme
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
The concept behind the book was great, the characters were all developed well but the execution of the story itself flowed like mud through a sieve. The jumping back and forth, in the beginning, between the two races was fine. The merging of the two stories helped give you a sense of being and perspective that these were two separate cultures coming together. Nevertheless, Vinge has a bad habit of wanting to develop his character's history too much and continually dives into story-in-itself flas ...more
Peter
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
C.W.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
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
Gary Lynch
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
The planet Arachna orbits a strange star, called OnOff because it goes though phases of light and dark lasting centuries. During the light part of the cycle life flourishes. The biosphere is dominated by a race of 3' high, sentient spiders, who have attained a level of civilization close to early 20th century Earth. The world is split into nations who don't get along and culture has backslid many times due to annihilating wars.

Then the star goes dark, everything freezes (including the atmospher
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LindaJ^
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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,
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Jamie Collins
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
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Ingmar
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
(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
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  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3)
  • The Wanderer
  • Cyteen (Cyteen, #1-3)
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Iron Sunrise (Eschaton, #2)
  • The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1)
  • Forever Peace (The Forever War, #2)
  • Learning the World: A Scientific Romance
  • Spin (Spin, #1)
  • Seeker (Alex Benedict, #3)
  • Diaspora
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
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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)
“Technical people don't make good slaves. Without their wholehearted cooperation, things fall apart.” 11 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.” 10 likes
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