A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

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A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

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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. We follow some spiders through large parts of their life, and their stories sometimes left me in tears. After hundreds of pages it felt like an overused gimmick, and didn’t really reveal anything of importance about perceptions that we don’t already know. To say anything more would venture into spoiler territory, but I will leave it at: the setting makes for some extraordinarily complicated relationships and motives, and leaves the reader with a very foreboding atmosphere. It's a form of literal intellectual slavery, a substitute for the lack of high-performance computing that's the legacy of living in the "Slow Zone" of the galaxy, where no artificial intelligence is possible.

In any case, although there are plenty of unanswered questions Vinge has left after two books in his Zones of Thought series, the reviews of the third book Children of the Sky are fairly negative, so I’ll try something more promising instead. Totuși, schimbarea încolțește în mijlocul civilizației când în scenă intră Sherkaner Underhill, un tânăr și genial inventator păianjen are vrea sa răstoarne constrângerile, tradițiile și mentalitatea întregii specii. It is quite disturbing to see how they are treated like disposable wetware, while at the same time being relied on as sophisticated technicians in every conceivable aspect of Emergent life.

In contrast, A Deepness in the Sky unifies some of the same tropes—as well as new ones—to create a compelling story and pathos for the plights of the characters. I find myself yearning for the chapters about the 'Spiders' so that I can follow the adventures of Sherkaner Underhill, about which much could be said, but the less said the better, lest I spoil some of the story. Tomas Nau is in many ways a moustache-twirling villain, complete with the sadistic right-hand minion (Ritser Brughel) and the indispensable trusted lieutenant (Anne Reynolt). It was an interesting decision to set the “prequel” so far back in chronology that none of the distinguishing features of the Zones of Thought are known. The first are Qeng Ho, wandering traders, who try to keep the human civilization (light years apart) the whole.

Hrunkner Unnerby, συνεργώντας με το πιο φαντασιόπληκτο άτομο που υπάρχει και παρατηρώντας τις πιο τρελές ιδέες του να υλοποιούνται, θα δει τον κόσμο του από μια διαφορετική σκοπιά· ο Tomas Nau, παίζοντας τις θανάσιμες πολιτικές των Emergents του και στοιχηματίζοντας πολλά για να νικήσει, θα κάνει ό,τι περνά από το χέρι του για την απόλυτη επιτυχία του· ο Pham Trinli, επανεντάσσοντας στο Qeng Ho μετά από πολύ καιρό και δουλεύοντας σκληρά για να διατηρήσει την κρυφή του περσόνα, θα ξεκινήσει να στήνει τα δικά του σχέδια· η Qiwi, ζώντας τη μισή παιδική ηλικία της μόνη μεταξύ των αστεριών και μεγαλώνοντας μαθαίνοντας για την επιβίωση στο διάστημα, θα πέσει θύμα των πολιτικών παιχνιδιών· και η Μικρή Victory, γεννημένη μαζί τα αδέρφια της εκτός φάσης και περνώντας τα χρόνια της κρυμμένη από τον υπόλοιπο κόσμο, θα ξεκινήσει σε μια περιπέτεια που θα σημαδέψει την ζωή της για πάντα. During these events, a concurrent history of the Spider civilization unfolds – mainly through the picaresque, and then increasingly political and technocratic, experiences of a small group of liberal-minded and progressive Spiders. The ideological struggle between the remnants of the Qeng Ho and Emergent fleets is a ripe ground for observations on human society and attitudes toward power. While the Quen Ho/Emergence folks are tied up in a L1 orbit above the planet, lurking, Vinge takes us to the spiders and tells there story. I did get lost in some scientific details but most of them do become self explanatory as you read on.

While on the surface their appearance is so different from that of humans, from a psychological standpoint they are so similar! ciuda avantajului tehnologic, odată ajunși la capătul expediției, Qeng Ho hotărăsc să încheie o alianță cu flota emergentă, fără a bănui cât de diferite erau cele două culturi. If we don't find fancy physics or technology to cast off the shackles of the light-speed barrier, we're looking at a very distorted, relativistic existence indeed. The lightest of wear at limited points on unclipped jacket; faint crease on hardcover's spine beneath.

This "Counter Lurk" was devised by Spider uber-genius Sherkaner Underhill, but it seemed cinematic and implausible to me. I am very impressed by how Vinge manages to mix cute alien spiders and evil mind-controlling humans in a seemingly realistic and down to earth way. Defying this custom results in oophase or "out-of-phase" children, who are ostracized and subject to pejorative stereotypes. But it seems that major space operas often have to weigh in at 500-700 pages to be taken seriously by fans and award committees, judging by major works by Dan Simmons, Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. 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.

This book is long--and I don't exactly want to advocate adding another 200 pages to it, and yet the ending just seemed overly rushed. And for Pham, the Emergent slavery known as Focus is a nigh-irresistible lure, a promise that could fulfil Pham's dreams of a true Qeng Ho empire. Neither side trusts the other and soon enough, treachery happens shortly after both sides begin to investigate the spider planet (which is currently in a 'dark' or 'off' period).



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