Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, two of them in the Zones of Thought series: A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. 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, Rainbows End and The Peace War.
It has been six years since Vinge's last book ( Marooned in Realtime ), but the wait proves worthwhile in this stimulating tale filled with ideas, action and likable, believable characters, both alien and human. Vinge presents a galaxy divided into Zones--regions where different physical constraints allow very different technological and mental possibilities. Earth remains in the ``Slowness'' zone, where nothing can travel faster than light and minds are fairly limited. The action of the book is in the ``Beyond,'' where translight travel and other marvels exist, and humans are one of many intelligent species. One human colony has been experimenting with ancient technology in order to find a path to the ``Transcend,'' where intelligence and power are so great as to seem godlike. Instead they release the Blight, an evil power, from a billion-year captivity. As the Blight begins to spread, a few humans flee with a secret that might destroy it, but they are stranded in a primitive low-tech world barely in the Beyond. While the Blight destroys whole races and star systems, a team of two humans and two aliens races to rescue the others, pursued by the Blight's agents and other enemies. 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. (Apr.)
"Fleeing a menace of galactic proportions, a spaceship crashes on an unfamiliar world, leaving the survivors--a pair of children--to the not-so-tender mercies of a medieval, lupine race. Responding to the crippled ship's distress signal, a rescue mission races against time to retrieve the children and recover the weapon they need to prevent the universe from being changed forever. Against a background depicting a space-time continuum stratified into 'zones of thought, ' the author has created a rarity--a unique blend of hard science, high drama, and superb storytelling." --Library Journal "A tale that burns with the brazen energy of the best space operas of the golden age. Vinge has created a galaxy for the readers of the '90s to believe in...immense, ancient, athrum with data webs, dotted with wonders." --John Clute, Interzone "Vernor Vinge's best novel yet." --Greg Bear, author of Moving Mars "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." --Kirkus Reviews "The first grand SF I've read in ages...Vinge is one of the best visionary writers of SF today." --David Brin, author of Earth "Fiercely original...Compelling ideas in the book include problems and advantages of group mind, galactic communications turbidity, and the prospect of civilizations aspiring to godhood." --Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog