A Fire Upon the Deep

A Fire Upon the Deep

Paperback Zones of Thought

By (author) Vernor Vinge

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  • Publisher: St Martin's Press
  • Format: Paperback | 613 pages
  • Dimensions: 104mm x 172mm x 38mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0812515285
  • ISBN 13: 9780812515282
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 8,828

Product description

"A Fire Upon the Deep" is the big, breakout book that fulfills the promise of Vinge's career to date: a gripping tale of galactic war told on a cosmic scale.Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space, from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these "regions of thought," but when the warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon, they unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.Fleeing the threat, a family of scientists, including two children, are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle. A rescue mission, not entirely composed of humans, must rescue the children-and a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization."A Fire Upon The Deep" is the winner of the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

Vast, riveting, far-future saga...The overall concept astonishes; the aliens are developed with memorable skill and insight, the plot twists and turns with unputdownable tension. A masterpiece of universe building.

Editorial reviews

Vast, riveting far-future saga involving evil gods, interstellar war, and manipulative aliens, from the author of The Peace War and the splendid Marooned in Realtime. An unknown being or force has partitioned the universe into "zones of thought": at the bottom is the Slow Zone, where intelligence is modest and the speed of light a limiting factor; in the Beyond, where multi-light-speed ultradrive travel is possible, thousands of smart races flourish; and the Transcend is inhabited by godlike Powers, to which state many races of the Beyond aspire. A human colony of the High Beyond, the Straumli Realm, experiments with an ancient database, thereby unwittingly unleashing an unstoppable, enslaving predator, the Blight. The civilizations of the High Beyond realize their peril when even transcendent Powers prove no match for the Blight. One ship alone survives the Straumli disaster; fleeing into the Low Beyond, the ship crash-lands on a planet inhabited by Tines, multi-bodied, pack-minded aliens with a warlike medieval culture. Two human children, Johanna and Jefri, survive - only to become pawns in a Tine power struggle. Up in the Middle Beyond, meanwhile, the realization grows that the escaped Straumli ship may contain something that will help defeat the Blight. So a multi-species rescue mission is launched, led by human researcher Ravni and by Pham, a construct once part of a Power now eaten by the Blight; close behind the rescuers come the forces of the Blight. 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. A masterpiece of universe-building. (Kirkus Reviews)