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Tatja Grimm's World Paperback – January 24, 2006

3.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“An excellent and intricate story that provides further evidence that Vinge has become one of the major voices in modern SF.” ―Science Fiction Chronicle on A Deepness in the Sky

“This is top-drawer hard SF--fast-paced, packed with action, intellectually challenging and, above all, capable of invoking SF's grail: a genuine sense of wonder.” ―Publishers Weekly "Top 10 of 1999" on A Deepness in the Sky

“This new epic shares the breadth of imagination and vivid storytelling which made the earlier book so justly popular.” ―The Denver Post on A Deepness in the Sky

“Sporting enough action for a dozen Star Wars sequels, A Deepness in the Sky is filled with unsettling images of mind control and slavery.” ―The Dallas Morning News

“An ingenious and engaging tale of epic proportions, the kind of feast that fans of true science fiction have been hungry for for a long time.” ―SFSite on A Deepness in the Sky

“A masterful novel. Breathtaking, one of the premier science fiction novels of the past few years. Vinge is truly an original writer.” ―NOVA Express on A Deepness in the Sky

“Wow! A Deepness in the Sky is his best book yet and is a damn good example of what first-rate SF can be. Besides a good story with good characters, Vinge has enough throwaway ideas in the background for any three books.” ―Aboriginal SF

“Vast, riveting far-future saga involving evil gods, interstellar war, and manipulative aliens. No summary can do justice to the depth and conviction of Vinge's ideas. The overall concept astonishes; the aliens are developed with memorable skill and insight; the plot twists and turns with unputdownable tension.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on A Fire Upon the Deep

“With uninterrupted pacing, suspense without contrivance, and deftly drawn aliens who can be pleasantly comical without becoming cute, Vinge offers heart-pounding, mind-expanding science fiction at its best.” ―Publishers Weekly (Starred review) on A Fire Upon the Deep

“A wide-screen science fiction epic of the type few writers attempt any more, probably because nobody until Vinge has ever done it well. Has Hugo Winner written all over it.” ―Washington Post Book World on A Fire Upon the Deep

About the Author

Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including one for each of his last three novels, A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), and Rainbow's End (2006). Known for his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction, he became an iconic figure among cybernetic scientists with the publication in 1981 of his novella "True Names," which is considered a seminal, visionary work of Internet fiction. His many books also include Marooned in Realtime and The Peace War.

Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and raised in Central Michigan, Vinge is the son of geographers. Fascinated by science and particularly computers from an early age, he has a Ph.D. in computer science, and taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for thirty years. He has gained a great deal of attention both here and abroad for his theory of the coming machine intelligence Singularity. Sought widely as a speaker to both business and scientific groups, he lives in San Diego, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (January 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765308851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765308856
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This will never be regarded as one of Vinge's hard core stories, such as "Fire Upon the Deep", it is rather a diversionary exercise from Vernor, that explores in classic SF style a delightfully created ocean world, populated with numerous divergent and isolated cultures, but loosely tied together by nomadic traders. One group stumbles upon and shelters a young woman, an apparently feral child, but who reveals through a series of well-written episodes, a precocious capacity to learn. Soon she far surpasses those who protected her, indeed she come to reverse the roles, and yet her true motives are often hidden, even from those who have come to love, and sometimes fear her most. In a sequence of six well-paced episodes, her influence in this early industrial metal-scarce world grows, until the climatic crisis, set in an extreme altitude mountain-top observatory, finally unravels the entire plot. A likeable, and moving tale, less techo-oriented than his other works, but one that reveals another aspect to Vinge, well worth tracking down if you are a fan.
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Format: Paperback
Vernor Vinge is one of my favorite authors, but Tatja Grimm's World is not typical Vinge. What I most enjoy in his other novels is the outpouring of novel science ideas played out on realistic tableaus. Vinge manages to populate his sci-fi stories with great characters that we can relate to--even those almost completely alien--and places them into solid societal (often completely alien) foundations. "A Fire Upon the Deep" and "A Deepness in the Sky" are his primary recent efforts, extremely futuristic and alien, but with human connections rarely found elsewhere.

Tatja Grimm's World lacks the science ideas so unique to those novels: it is fantasy, not science fiction. This book combines two novellas Vinge wrote in the 60s, with a prequel written in the 80s; they fit seamlessly together into a very readable, interesting novel. The book centers on the titled character, a possible alien stranded on a world with almost no metals, and an island-based society. Is Tatja an android, or a future being stranded in the past? Maybe she's simply an evolutionary jump in the existing people, or perhaps she's another life-form altogether. The mystery about her past is combined with an ambiguity about her intentions. Is she evil or good, or is she beyond either in terms the islanders (and possibly we) can understand? The mystery and tension that builds up about Tatja is the key to the novel. Other than her, the stories are fairly pedestrian. Vinge doesn't do much with the lack of metals on the world, but does serve up a couple neat ideas (in the newer prequel) about the island-based societies.

Vinge makes the novel work based almost completely on Tatja Grimm's characterization. Even so, the novel feels incomplete. Vinge leaves a teaser that another story was (is?
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big Vernor Vinge fan, and bought this book on the strength of the first section (which was reprinted in a compendium. This book may appear to be new, but is actually also a reprint, too). This is a good way to read "early" Vernor Vinge, and the story/characters/locations make for compelling reading in the first parts of the book. But the last section just doesn't hold together, as it involves the murky motives of [spoiler warning] off-worlders who are never fully developed as characters, and their motives are based on really silly sci-fi. So while it didn't live up to my expectations, it did make for decent plane-reading on a transcon trip.

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The book is a rough work, not very easy to follow. Definitely worth reading for people who already love Vernor Vinge, but I wouldn't buy it otherwise.
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As most reviews mention, this is early Vinge that doesn't have the far future tech you may expect from his later novels.

I disagree, however, with those reviews that claim this is a "fantasy" novel, or even with those that don't see it as hard sci fi. It has a fantasy feel, perhaps, in that the setting is a pre-technological (actually prototechnological) culture, where the fighting occurs with blades and gunpowder, rather than lasers and cyberwarfare. But it is true science fiction, in the sense that it takes a single premise -- how would human society and technology develop on a metal-poor planet? -- and weaves an interesting story within those constraints. It even qualifies as "hard" sci fi, in the sense that everything that happens is constrained by known and plausible physics, although it certainly doesn't have the high tech or space opera backdrop that that label usually suggests. I don't mean to be overly hung up on such labels, but it's important to know what sort of book you're ordering, and this one is harder than most to categorize.

The novel itself is entertaining throughout, but fairly uneven. The latter two thirds of the book were written and published separately in the late 60s, and are a straightforward action story of the heroine's quest to surpass the limitations of her metal-poor world. The first third was written nearly twenty years later, to provide some depth and character development for this title character, as she scales the scientific and political ladder of her homeworld. This first section greatly improves the book, and shows how much Vinge developed as an author between the 60s and the 80s. It is more character-driven than action-driven, and is a lot of fun.
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