Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Fire Upon the Deep

I finally got around to reading Vernor Vinge's book this past month. I have had it on the shelf for a few years, but I had stalled fairly early in the book the last time I tried reading it. Luckily I gave it another shot, because it is a very good book that deserves it's reputation. The universe Vinge creates is very interesting. The galaxy is divided into zones, where certain technologies are possible. From what I can tell the closer you move to the galactic core and greater mass density the less you are able to achieve. There are 3 defined zones in the book: the Unthinking Depths where FTL travel is impossible, the Slow Zone, and the Beyond. As you move out through the zones much greater technology is possible, with civilizations reaching the beyond transcending typically into another state of being, something like a super AI. I think some of this is Vinge working his ideas of the technological singularity which is a subject he is interested in. He also toys with the idea of pack sentience for a dog-like species that inhabits a planet in the story. Overall it leads to a very different universe than what is usually portrayed in sf, and probably is part of what initially got me stalled the 1st time through just trying to make sense of it all.

I don't have time to really get into the plot right now, but it basically involves a group of human researchers unearthing something very evil out in the Beyond, and the subsequent battle to stop that evil.

I'd recommend the book to any sf fans as would the World Science Fiction Society, which awarded the book a Hugo.

No comments:

Post a Comment