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A Deepness in the Sky: Vernor Vinge (S.F. MASTERWORKS)

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After hundreds of pages it felt like an overused gimmick, and didn’t really reveal anything of importance about perceptions that we don’t already know.

Second by second, the Qeng Ho counted from the instant that a human had first set foot on Old Earth's moon. The book sets itself up for a fantastic climax (seriously--plan to read the last 150 pages or so in one sitting; you have been warned), and, while the climax isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination, it seemed a bit rushed.A prequel which, although only has a loose connection to A Fire Upon the Deep, focusing all the action to the Slow Zone, where worlds remain in ignorance of the rest of the galaxy, plunges deep into Pham Nuwem’s and the Qeng Ho’s past, bringing to light their origins, the rise and fall of planetary civilisations, as well as the discovery of Spiderkind, and revealing through a large cast of characters and multiple points of view a Human Space full of optimistic dreams and flawed ideals, crafting masterfully an unmatched epic with real, human repercussions. It's a form of literal intellectual slavery, a substitute for the lack of high-performance computing that's the legacy of living in the "Slow Zone" of the galaxy, where no artificial intelligence is possible. The "Focus" is one of the most chilling forms of slavery I've seen in fiction--one where with your mind enslaved, your body follows. Entuziasmul posibilității stabilirii unui contact cu o specie necunoscută le înflăcărează imaginația comercianților și pe cea a emergenților (de-a lungul a opt mii de ani de călătorii prin spațiu, oamenii au întâlnit doar alte două civilizații inteligente, una demult apusă, iar cealaltă stagnând în etapa pre-tehnologică), fiecare lansând o flotă către îndepărtatul sistem solar.

Not something you find enough in Hard Science Fiction--and Vinge brings off some mind-blowing concepts without ever falling into infodump or other awkward constructions. If you must dispense with something, dispense with meter and perfect Ciceronian structure and eloquence and tell a story even a caveman could appreciate.In the eight thousand years of space travel, Humankind has steadily spread outward of the Earth’s solar system, exploring the unknown wonders of the galaxy, colonizing one planetary system after the other, and establishing the supremacy of its civilisations across the Human Space; yet now, with the Trilanders to have picked up emissions from the OnOff star: a bizarre, mysterious system with only a single planet that turns itself off for 215 years out of every 250, and has drawn over the millennia the interest of astrophysicists, two human expeditions, the Qeng Ho and the Emergents, are on the verge of first contact with an alien race, arriving to discover the treasures of their world and to learn its secrets – but Ezr Vihn, an Apprentice Trader and the main heir of the Vihn. This massive accumulation of data implies that almost any useful program one could want already exists in the Qeng Ho fleet library, hence the need for computer archaeologists to dig up needed programs, work around their peculiarities and bugs, and assemble them into useful constructs. I did get lost in some scientific details but most of them do become self explanatory as you read on. Nevertheless, like other good science fiction authors, he still develops the society in an organic, natural manner.

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