A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge - Used Book
used Paperback in good condition minor creasing
The Qeng Ho arrive at the On/Off star shortly before the Emergent fleet, a few years before the sun turns on, at which point the Spider civilization will "wake up" and continue its climb into a technological civilization. A reception held by the Emergents doubles as a vector to infect the Qeng Ho with a timed "mindrot" virus. The Emergents time an ambush to take advantage of the onset of symptoms.
During these events, a concurrent history of the Spider civilization is developed mainly through the picaresque, and then increasingly political and technocratic, experiences of a small group of liberal-minded and progressive Spiders. Their struggles against ignorance, and soon-to-become irrelevant traditions, are coloured with oddly human-like descriptions and nomenclature, prefiguring some major plot revelations towards the end of the story.
Far above, after a close fight the Emergents subjugate the Qeng Ho, but the losses to the both sides force them to combine and adopt the so-called "Lurker strategy", in which they monitor and aid the Spiders' technological development, waiting until they build up the massive infrastructure and technological base that the visitors need in order to repair their vessels.
The mindrot virus originally manifested itself on the Emergents' home world as a devastating plague, but they subsequently mastered it and learned to use it both as a weapon and as a tool for mental domination. Emergent culture uses mindrot primarily in the form of a variant which technicians can manipulate in order to release neurotoxins to specific parts of the brain. An active MRI-type device triggers changes through dia- and paramagnetic biological molecules. By manipulating the brain in this way, Emergent managers induce obsession with a single idea or specialty, which they call Focus, essentially turning them into brilliant appliances. Many Qeng Ho become Focused against their will, and the Emergents retain the rest of the population under mass surveillance, with only a portion of the crew not in suspended animation. The Qeng Ho trading culture gradually starts to dilute this totalitarian regime, by demonstrating to the Emergents certain benefits of tolerated and restricted free trade; the two human cultures merge to some extent over the decades of forced co-operation.
Pham Nuwen, the founder of the Qeng Ho trading culture, is living aboard the fleet under the pseudonym Pham Trinli, posing as an inept and bumbling fleet elder. He subverts the Emergents' own oppressive security systems through a series of high-risk ruses. During his plotting he begins to admire the Emergents' Focus technology, and begins to evaluate its usage in his own plans for the future of the fleet.
The plan to wrest fleet control from the Emergents, however, requires the co-operation of a much younger Qeng Ho who - due to attrition - has become the Qeng Ho 'Fleet Manager'. His position as the unique liaison officer between Qeng Ho and Emergents leads him to despair, and he accepts Pham Nuwen's offer to join a plot against the Emergents as a way to personal redemption as well as revenge against the Emergents. However, his understanding of Pham's ambitions for Focus technology leads to a confrontation between them over the future use of Focus by the Qeng Ho.
Coming to an understanding, the two seize upon the historic node when the Emergents attempt to provoke a nuclear war on the Spider home-world, in order to seize power. By subverting the Emergents' management systems and by luck and human resilience, they defeat the ruling class of the Emergents.
The combined Emergent/Qeng Ho fleet now negotiates with the Spider civilization as a trading partner. Pham announces his plans to free all of the Focused in the entire Emergent civilization, and, if he survives that, to go to the center of the galaxy to find the source of the On/Off star and the strange technology remnants that have clearly traveled with it. The story of that quest is briefly told as part of the back story in A Fire Upon the Deep. The latter novel also shows that Pham had been mistaken in identifying the center of the galaxy as the likely source of the artifacts, as the outer portions of the galaxy were the ones with greater technological sophistication.
About the Author Verno Vinge
Vernor Steffen Vinge is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), Rainbows End (2006), Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004), as well as for his 1993 essay "The Coming Technological Singularity", in which he argues that exponential growth in technology will reach a point beyond which we cannot even speculate about the consequences.
Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
– Vinge, 1993
Vernor Vinge published his first short story, "Bookworm, Run!", in the March 1966 issue of Analog Science Fiction, then edited by John W. Campbell. The story explores the theme of artificially augmented intelligence by connecting the brain directly to computerised data sources. He became a moderately prolific contributor to SF magazines in the 1960s and early 1970s, adapting one of his stories into a short novel, Grimm's World (1969), and publishing a second novel, The Witling (1975).
Vernor Vinge came to prominence in 1981 with his novella True Names, which is one of the earliest stories to present a fully fleshed-out concept of cyberspace, which would later be central to cyberpunk stories by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and others. His next two novels, The Peace War (1984) and Marooned in Realtime (1986), explore the spread of a future libertarian society, and deal with the impact of a technology which can create impenetrable force fields called 'Bobbles'. These books built Vernor Vinge's reputation as an author who would explore ideas to their logical conclusions in particularly inventive ways. Both books were nominated for the Hugo Award, but lost to novels by William Gibson and Orson Scott Card.
These two novels and True Names also emphasized Vernor Vinge's interest in the technological singularity. True Names takes place in a world on the cusp of the singularity. The Peace War shows a world in which the singularity has been postponed by the Bobbles and a global plague, while Marooned in Realtime follows a small group of people who have managed to miss the singularity which otherwise encompassed Earth. Vernor Vinge won the Hugo Award with his 1992 novel, A Fire Upon the Deep. In it, he envisions a galaxy that is divided up into 'zones of thought', in which the further one moves from the center of the galaxy, the higher the level of technology one can achieve. Nearest the center is 'The Unthinking Depths', where even human level intelligence is impossible. Earth is in 'The Slow Zone', in which faster-than-light (FTL) travel cannot be achieved. Most of the book, however, takes place in a zone called 'The Beyond', where the computations necessary for FTL travel are possible, but transcendence beyond the Singularity to superhuman intelligence is not. In the last zone, 'The Transcend', there are apparently no limitations at all. The Beyond, therefore, permits a classic space opera, using technology that would push past the singularity. Fire includes a large number of additional ideas making for an unusually complex and rich universe and story.
A Deepness in the Sky (1999) was a prequel to Fire, following competing groups of humans in The Slow Zone as they struggle over who has the rights to exploit a technologically emerging alien culture. In addition, Deepness explores the themes of technological freedom vs. technology as a tool of enslavement and control. This novel transcends the polarities of a liberal vs. conservative-type struggle. Deepness also won a Hugo Award in 2000. Vernor Vinge's novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High and The Cookie Monster also won Hugo Awards in 2002 and 2004, respectively.
Vernor Vinge's 2006 novel, Rainbows End is set in a similar universe to Fast Times at Fairmont High and is a Hugo Award winner for Best Novel. He intends his next novel to be a sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, set approximately 10 years after the events of that book. Vernor Vinge retired in 2000 from teaching at San Diego State University, in order to write full-time. Most years, since its inception in 1999, Vinge has been on the Free Software Foundation's selection committee for their Award for the Advancement of Free Software. Vernor Vinge was Writer Guest of Honor at ConJosé, the 60th World Science Fiction Convention in 2002.
A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge - Used Book
In stock-ready to post today.