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A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)
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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > A FIRE UPON THE DEEP: Finished Reading (*SPOILERS*)

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message 1: by Candiss (last edited Nov 01, 2014 02:41PM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Here's a general topic for people who have finished reading A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

WARNING: SPOILERS LIKELY!


message 2: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
Not much discussion yet... so, I think I got the big ideas but there was a lot that went by me.
Were humans targeted by the Blight first because their worlds were closest?
Why was the Old One benign when it appeared most of the Powers were indifferent?


message 3: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2240 comments Mod
I need to re-read the book before I can answer... been a while! :)

I just remember that I loved the way that the group mind was imagined with the puppy aliens. I've never read anything else like it, so unique!


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Kathi If I remember correctly The Blight isnt specifically targeting humans. It was "released" and started doing its thing from there.


Philip Athans (philathans) | 67 comments A bit slow to start and still only through chapter nine, but some thoughts so far...

Not a fan of the map--kinda weird trying to map the whole galaxy, but mostly it's the barely-legible script which is inappropriate for the genre.

Not sure what he was going for with character names, but I couldn't wrap my tongue around most of them. Names continue to stop me, tossing me out of the narrative to try to pronounce Olsndot, etc. Now I just scan over most characters' names, which makes the reding faster but much less engaging.

The pack/hive mind aliens are really interesting but start off feeling really goofy. They seem to be taken more seriously as the book goes on, but it was a pretty weak start for them.

Here's an example of something I really hate, which I'd categorize as: "Science fiction author apologizes for writing science fiction.":

Cheap fiction talks about "looks of deadly menace." (in chapter eight)

He wanted to use that image but it made him feel "icky" apparently. I would encourage Vernor Vinge to touch base with his inner pulpsmith and give himself permission to write entertaining fiction in whatever way he choses without feeling bad about himself.

And another complaint: The email thread gimmick... If it only came across as gimmicky that would be bad enough, but adding to that how dated it feels -- this is how we talk about computers in the early 90s so surely in the age of AI and galactic-level networks we'll still be sending this kind of message to each other... cringe...

Sounds like a lot of whining, but that stuff aside this book isn't at all bad, and I am getting into it, however slowly...


message 6: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
As weird and overall unhelpful as the map was, I did refer to it, but a better explanation of the Zones was in Wikipedia where they explain the "setting" of the novel. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fire_U...)

I read the names as Nordic derivatives--Olsndot as Olsondaught(er), just filling in the missing vowels. Names can throw me off, too, but these didn't.

The email messages did feel dated but they were, in some cases, the only glimpse we get into other civilizations and species. I tended to skim them.

I'm just starting The Children of the Sky, the sequel to this book.


message 7: by Chris, Moderator (new)

Chris (heroncfr) | 545 comments Mod
I read this last year. I remember that it took quite a while to grow on me, but I liked it in the end. The pack minds were unique, what a creative concept. The whole Zones of Thought took a while to figure out; I agree, the map was almost impossible to read. I also read Children of the Sky, thought it was a good follow up to the story.


message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) I just noticed there is now a link to what members thought about the book - our separate reviews. Very cool!

I finished this a couple of weeks ago and forgot to stop in and chat. Now I see our chat is very THIN this month. It's a difficult book to dissect, I guess, as there is SO MUCH GOING ON, which would be my main complaint. Too many intersecting stories and points of view. I struggled to connect "intimately" with a single character and when I did, they got killed. Erk.

But, I did really like the book. I found the concepts fascinating. I rarely look at maps, but I found the descriptions of the zones of thought within the book adequate for my mind's eye. I also didn't spend a lot of time wondering about the where, I was more interested in the who.

I loved the Tines. Their pack mind mentality might have started out as a little goofy but once I got used to it, I found it rather ingenious. It almost made me wish I had a few other selves to travel along with. You'd never be lonely, right? I also enjoyed (rather perversely) the passages where the packs lost and/or had to integrate a new member. Very creepy-cool.

The Riders were also pretty interesting.

Pham's character concept was a little heart breaking. I wish I'd found him a more sympathetic human being, though.


message 9: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2240 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "I just noticed there is now a link to what members thought about the book - our separate reviews. Very cool!

I finished this a couple of weeks ago and forgot to stop in and chat. Now I see our ch..."


Pham shows up in the sequel, A Deepness in the Sky... check it out :)

I am still hoping to find time to re-read this before the month is out so I can put my two cents in to the discussion! It's just been so many years since I read it last that I don't remember it well enough to discuss.


message 10: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "The Riders were also pretty interesting."

I thought the skroderiders were fascinating. The betrayal of them and by them, which caused such a rift with Pham, was heart-breaking to me.


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