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

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The book sets itself up for a fantastic climax (seriously--plan to read the last 150 pages or so in one sitting; you have been warned), and, while the climax isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination, it seemed a bit rushed.

That stated, this starts off with a Qeng Ho captain tracking down Pham in a lonely colony on the edge of colonized space and starting on a long mission to the OnOff star, somewhere humanity has never gone. As much as I liked A Fire Upon the Deep, its hard-science-fiction tropes never quite cohere, and the story and characterization suffer as a result. I can't help but wonder if the book would have been better without it, or with adding yet another viewpoint (in addition to the two groups of humans and the Spiders) throughout the book. While on the surface their appearance is so different from that of humans, from a psychological standpoint they are so similar!The characters are really quite fantastic, and, though they are a lot of them, Vinge makes them all stand out; it's nearly impossible to confuse even the minor characters--even after you haven't heard from them in 300 pages. Printre alte aspecte interesante, mi-a rămas în minte ideea construirii unei culturi care să depășească individualitatea planetelor, un imperiu spațial care să păstreze tot ce e mai bun din fiecare civilizație. A second novel in which Vinge, coming with a much more compelling writing than before, showing a greater ease – and experience – in his plot- and character-development, and making his narration even more realistic and powerful, creates a long yet absorbing story of conflicting cultures, technological advancements, unexpected and brutal plot twists, and mind-stretching ideas. This is the sort of novel that I'd want to teach from - that demands to be reread, that's perceptive, that's timeless, that's subtle, that looks both forward and back, and which above all has a story which brings "the twists and stuff".

I guess I would have loved the book if Vinge would have handled it like his first novel, namely in concentrating on a few characters and a tight narration structure.Though he chews up the scenery as a smiling one-dimensional comic book villain, his sociopathic philosophy is thoroughly rationalized that he never seems the least bit unreal. Any way, from the half way point onward this book is very involving and you may need a deFocus treatment afterward. I don't know about you, but I spend an inordinate amount of time meditating upon the far future of humanity.

With new knowledge of the effects and victims of Focus, Pham is forced to admit the cost is too high, and the two reach an agreement and continue their plotting. The Qeng Ho and other spacers in this series use kiloseconds (roughly 17 minutes), megaseconds (roughly 11. 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.

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. The "Focus" is one of the most chilling forms of slavery I've seen in fiction--one where with your mind enslaved, your body follows.

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