7. (7) – A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge

I’ve seen it suggested that you shouldn’t start a novel with a question.  What about two questions?  Because Vinge does just that in A Fire Upon the Deep and his prologue is incredible.  “How to explain?  How to describe?  Even the omniscient viewpoint quails.”  The Prologue describes the waking of an old, incomprehensible evil, an evil so massive that even those who knew they’d awakened couldn’t comprehend its true magnitude.  “None of them guessed the truth.  None of them guessed the honor that had fallen upon them, that they had changed the future of a thousand million star systems.”

Immediately, the reader is aware of the sheer scope of this novel.  Vinge gradually reveals his “zones of thought”, where the laws of physics and what is possible differ depending on where you are in the system.  We learn of galaxy-traversing Civilization out in the Beyond, where faster-than-light travel is possible…but the Beyond is a strength for the Evil, one that puts the galaxy in peril. 

Vinge’s incredible novel isn’t limited to the galactic civilization.  We also get a story taking place on a small, isolated world where a civilization of dog-like creatures live (Tines).  The Tines communicate mind to mind, with multiple Tines forming one personality.  It’s a wonderfully imagined species, creating a fun aspect of the story.  Vinge wrote two of my favorite 9 science fiction and fantasy novels…both nearly perfect in every way. 

Felan’s Rescue is now available on Audiobook!

Felan’s Rescue is now available in Ebook form (and Kindle Unlimited), Hardback, and Paperback!

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