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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 long, but I found myself growing sad as I realized I was getting near the end. The races Vinge created were fascinating, as were the individual characters. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Leigh Estes
The book was very entertaining from start to finish. The imagination and hard work put forth into the creation of the Tines is so mind-blowing in itself that it alone almost earns... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Hugh Janus
Its amazing how some of the most mind-bending sci-fi books were not written recently (this one over 20 years ago!). Read morePublished 20 days ago by Marc Howard
I have read almost all of Vernor Vinge's works, and this is his best.Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
A Fire Upon the Deep creates a wonderfully rich universe with fresh ideas about alien species and organization of cultures. But ultimately it feels like there's something missing. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Danny Moerenhout
Test test test test test test test test test of time to go back in my head is pounding the samePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a classic and almost beyond criticism. I love the way Vinge slowly build tension, his incredibly creative concept of zones of thought (and technological capability),... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pippin Black