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Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unguessable, godlike "Powers." When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilizations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.
Serious complications follow. One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit. On his destination world, the fascinating Tines are intelligent only in combination: named "individuals" are small packs of the doglike aliens. Primitive doesn't mean stupid, and opposed Tine leaders wheedle the young castaways for information about guns and radios. Low-tech war looms, with elaborately nested betrayals and schemes to seize Out of Band if it ever arrives. The tension becomes extreme... while half the Beyond debates the issues on galactic Usenet.
Vinge's climax is suitably mindboggling. This epic combines the flash and dazzle of old-style space opera with modern, polished thoughtfulness. Pham Nuwen also appears in the nifty prequel set 30,000 years earlier, A Deepness in the Sky. Both recommended. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
This book was well written, with interesting plot lines and characters.
The 'individuals' in this species and how they relate to the other aliens and humans is fascinating and ties the story together in a unique way.
I think I have read all of Vernor Vinge's novels and I count A Fire Upon the Deep as one of his best.
Love love love. I reread it every couple of years. So many complex interlaced storylines and ideas! Rich characters. Evocative descriptions. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Spring Dew
I simply love Vernor's prose. I've been a fan since the mid-90's. I'm an engineer/scientist and his attention to detail is awesome.Published 4 days ago by Michael P Maynard
Vernor has some cool ideas. I found his world to be interesting and vast in scope. However, I wasn't a fan of his characters. They seem flat, with very simple motivations. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Max
Good read. A bit too much description of scenes. Lots of treachery.Published 14 days ago by Gary F. Heisler
This was nothing like I've ever read! It's a true masterpiece, a little longer than what I would like, but in no way this is a problem.
On to the next one!
Just. Just read it. Nothing I can write here will possibly do it any justice. Just read this damn book.Published 20 days ago by Kindle Customer
If you like the Culture series (Ian Banks), you'll probably like this one. The universe is nicely fleshed out, which gives the novel a lot of depth.Published 21 days ago by Kathryn Crawford
A classic. I read it when it first came out and just reread it. It has stood up extremely well.Published 29 days ago by Sean Keeley