In a comment on my last book review, Dave suggested that I might like Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep. I finally got around to logging in to the Staffordshire Library system, and put in an inter-library loan request for it. About a week later, I receive a letter from the library system – the book was waiting for me at my local library. 40 pence later (a trivial fee really), I had Fire in my hands. Two days later, somewhat slow for my normal reading appetite, I had finished it. Dave was right, I do like it 🙂
Fire introduces the reader to our own galaxy, with Pham Nuwen of the Qeng Ho showing up in the most unlikely of manners, many thousands of years after Deepness. A tale is deftly woven of a galaxy split into three zones, the release of an ancient Blight, the destruction and subversion of numerous races (including transcended Powers), and a race against time to reach a medieval society to save the day. The opening pages of the book lay out the general premise – ‘humanity’ sticks its nose into an ancient archive and unleashes an Evil, and also unleashes the weapon to defeat the Evil. The first chapter introduces the primary ‘alien’ race in such detail that you almost think they’re human, and the story is off to a racing start.
There are no major twists like the ones that feature in Deepness, but the story is well paced, and the fleshing out of the major and minor characters is impressive. Well worth picking up and reading – ISBN 1-85798-127-8.