Practically an instant classic and winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel for 1993, A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge is now available in a new quality paperback almost a decade after its release. The science fiction here is first-rate, as Vinge delivers an acceptable reason why we haven’t traveled to the stars yet: we live in an area of the galaxy known as the “Slow Zone,” while in the surrounding area known as the “Beyond,” faster-than-light travel is a common way of life. And then outside the Beyond is the “Transcend,” where godlike “Powers” exist. Humanity sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong, awakening one of these powers known as the Blight, which runs rampant like an uncontrollable virus, turning entire civilizations into controllable automatons.
Hope lies in two children who crash land in a spaceship on a medieval-style civilization consisting of dog-like creatures known as “Tines.” An evil Tine known as Steel kills many of the survivors of the crash, destroying most of the coldsleep boxes, kidnapping one of the children named Jefri Olsndot. A rival faction of Tines, led by one named Woodcarver, rescues Jefri’s older sister, Johanna. And so continues the war between these two factions on this strange planet. Meanwhile help is also on the way from an unexpected entity.
Originally written on December 1, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.
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