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Old 09-04-2019, 07:51 PM
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Vernor Vinge - ‘A Fire Upon The Deep’ is now my favorite hard SF


Both this book and ‘A Deepness In The Sky’ (also in the same universe) won the Hugo award. If you understand the difference between inertial mass and active gravitational mass, I highly recommended this book.
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Old 09-04-2019, 07:54 PM
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I've enjoyed most of VV's works. I love his "Zones of Thought" universe. I just wish he'd write faster. It's been 8 years since "Children of the Sky" came out. Grrrrrrr! Gotta see if humanity ever gets out of the "slow zone".

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Old 09-04-2019, 08:11 PM
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I’m only 2/3 way through Deepness. I think the on-off star is moving into the low beyond. The spiders thought they detected a difference between inertia and gravitational mass. I can’t wait to see how the human’s automation works out.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
I've enjoyed most of VV's works. I love his "Zones of Thought" universe. I just wish he'd write faster. It's been 8 years since "Children of the Sky" came out. Grrrrrrr! Gotta see if humanity ever gets out of the "slow zone".
Don't get me started on The Cookie Monster. It appears that Vinge wrote what essentially was the opening chapters to a novel and then decided to abandon plans for a novel and sell the opening as a short story. So you start reading, the characters are introduced, some mysteries are discovered, the plot moves along, the characters discover a big secret, and ...

The End.

The story stops at what would appear to be the end of the first act.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:31 PM
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Love this series.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:25 PM
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:15 AM
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I liked 'Fire' quite a lot, though the middle act was a bit endless and could have used a better editor (esp Harmonious Repose and thereabouts). Deepness IMO was a far better book, and the two-man / several-spider rebellion against the Emergency was fantastic to watch play out.
All that said, Vinge seems to have run his course with Deepness. Rainbow's End, and the sequel to Fire were kind of awful for me, and he doesn't seem to be writing any longer which is a blessing and a shame.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:44 AM
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Rainbows End. Like Pet Sematary, the bad spelling is relevant in the book.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:01 AM
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Fair enough, I saw the apostrophe error after I posted. RE still sucked.
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:30 AM
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Peace War/Marooned in Realtime are also excellent, IMO ("Marooned" is my favourite, though the antagonist's motive, when we find it out, leaves something to be desired)

I will admit to skim-reading a lot of Pham Nguyen in "Fire" to get to the Johanna/Tines bits more quickly though. The Tines are one of the best-realised alien races I've ever read.
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Old 09-05-2019, 05:48 AM
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I really liked the concepts in A Fire upon the Deep, but I was so disappointed in The Children of the Sky that I gave up on Vinge. Thanks for letting me know I should look at his other books.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:12 PM
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Peace War/Marooned in Realtime are also excellent, IMO ("Marooned" is my favourite, though the antagonist's motive, when we find it out, leaves something to be desired)
Peace War was quite good, but again a long, muddled middle act. Marooned was excellent IMO, an actual time traveling (sorta) murder mystery, and quite fun. Set in the same universe as Peace War, and the first appearance that I'm aware of of "the singularity".

Last edited by squeegee; 09-05-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:28 PM
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I’m more of a “soft” SF person, of the Bradbury/Matheson/Beaumont/Sturgeon school, and can’t handle the hardboys’/hardgirls’ mathematics. But Vernor’s is my favorite ginger ale!
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:55 PM
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I love Fire Upon the Deep and Deepness in the Sky, they're both really good and inventive. The idea of technology so advanced that probing into it is like trying to use Lovecraftian magic is great, and there were a lot of neat pieces and places to the universe. The various ambiguities in the world are also interesting, like was Pham Newen completely made up by Old One and are the Zones a natural phenomenon or created. Children of the Sky was pretty meh to me - it didn't really have any neat new stuff or explore the Zones Universe. He's got some other good stuff, like Marooned in Realtime and Peace War, but I'm not aware of much recent writing. It's kind of weird because he retired as a professor supposedly to write more, but seems to be writing less as a full-time writer than he did as a hobbiest.

His politics sometimes make stories a little silly though - The Ungoverned reads almost as a parody of Anarcho-Capitalist ideas, where a fledgling government fails to invade an anarcho-capitalist area because a crazy farmer has personal nuclear weapons and another group of people invent cruise missiles. The idea that conquering leaders will stop just because they're personally threatened flies in the face of history - notably both Hitler and Stalin believed that they were constantly at great personal risk of death). And 'that crazy old geezer who puts up no-trespassing signs and booby traps might also have a nuke that he'll fire off if you piss him off' is not nearly as reassuring as he seems to think it is.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:40 PM
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When trying to come up with the title for a YouTube Channel it really annoyed me that someone had already taken Twirlip of the Mists and they aren't even using it for anything.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:07 PM
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I'd like to also shout out "True Names" as an excellent Vinge short story. 1981 and ridiculously outmoded by the actual internet, it's still an amazing story and well worth reading.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:09 PM
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When trying to come up with the title for a YouTube Channel it really annoyed me that someone had already taken Twirlip of the Mists and they aren't even using it for anything.
Did someone take HexapodiaIsTheKeyInsight, though?
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:53 PM
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When he abandoned the zones to write stories of industrializing dogs, that's when he kinda fell from my must-reads. I truly detest novels which are set in a fascinating Universe, but then limit themselves to minor characters in insignificant backwaters.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:19 PM
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I just finished Deepness. A small sadistic part of me enjoyed what happened to Ritser Brughel. Awesome book. Has anyone read Joan D Vinge -Vernor’s ex-wife? I think she wrote a book in the zone-of-thought universe.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by EastUmpqua View Post
I just finished Deepness. A small sadistic part of me enjoyed what happened to Ritser Brughel. Awesome book. Has anyone read Joan D Vinge -Vernor’s ex-wife? I think she wrote a book in the zone-of-thought universe.
It's been suggested that her "Outcasts of the Heaven Belt" takes place in the Slow Zone, I think.

P.S. Tomas Nau got off light...

Last edited by Andy L; 09-09-2019 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:50 PM
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The Prologue to Fire is extraordinary. Lots of SF plots (eg SG Atlantis, Star Trek Organians) talk about ‘transcending’. Vernor describes what it’s actually like to transcend.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:37 PM
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The Prologue to Fire is extraordinary. Lots of SF plots (eg SG Atlantis, Star Trek Organians) talk about ‘transcending’. Vernor describes what it’s actually like to transcend.
Have you read Vinge's short works which also describe the experience of transcendence - I'm particularly thinking of "True Names."

(a non-Vinge example of this theme that I think was done well was Marc Stiegler's "The Gentle Seduction")
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:38 PM
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:41 PM
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In addition to touching on transhumanism and hints of a Singularity, Vinge's True Names had one of (if not the first) detailed VR/Cyberspace setting, and predicted the vital role and some of the issues raised by anonymity on the internet. Keep in mind that it was published in 1981, three years before Neuromancer.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:08 PM
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I read Marooned in Realtime a few decades ago when it was serialized in Analog, and liked it a lot. I re-read it just last year after getting it on Kindle, and also finally got around to reading the prequel The Peace War.

I liked both of these a lot, so maybe I'll check out A Fire Upon The Deep.

P.S. I read a short story by Vernor Vinge when I was a young teenager that I also liked a lot: Long Shot. It's one of my all-time favorite short stories.

Last edited by robby; 09-09-2019 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:39 AM
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I read Marooned in Realtime a few decades ago when it was serialized in Analog, and liked it a lot. I re-read it just last year after getting it on Kindle, and also finally got around to reading the prequel The Peace War.

I liked both of these a lot, so maybe I'll check out A Fire Upon The Deep.
There's also a novella set between Peace War and Marooned - it's called "The Ungoverned"
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