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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.
I read a lot of science fiction, and I've still had a very hard time following this book. There really needs to be more explanation of WHAT the characters are, instead of vague... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Desert Willow
Very original ideas. Fascinating exploration of the idea of a group mind organism, and a universe of isolated civilizations without high bandwidth communications. Read morePublished 1 day ago by PLR
A sentenxe is required here so I'm writing one. This rating system is quife sily.just let me do the starsPublished 5 days ago by Tod Beardsley
It was a bit hard to comprehend at first given the science-y aspect of it. It took me a while to grasp the concept of the Beyond, Transcend, Slow Zone, etc. Read morePublished 7 days ago by alejandra palacios
Quite an unusual world. I was skeptical initially, but the story picked up quickly and then I couldn't stop. Read morePublished 10 days ago by IBuyStuff
Vinge's book was unlike anything else I'd read before.
Very unique. Rare in Scifi these days where so many cheap paperbacks are formulaic knock-offs. Read more
Lately I've been having trouble getting in to most of the current offerings of speculative fiction. Vinge has made me remember why I started reading the genre so many years ago. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brian Gresham