A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought)

Category: Science Fiction
Author: Vernor Vinge
4.5
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by btown   2021-06-17
One that I don't often see recommended, but my absolute favorite sci-fi book, is A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge [0], which won the Hugo in 2000.

It's a hard-sci-fi story about how various societies, human and alien, attempt to assert control & hegemony over centuries of time (in many ways thinking of this as a distributed systems and code documentation problem!), and how critical and impactful the role of language translation is in helping people to understand foreign ways of thinking. At the novel's core is a question very akin to that of philosophical antipositivism [1]: is it possible (or optimal for your society) to appreciate and emphasize with people wholly different from oneself, without interpreting their thoughts and cultures in language and description that's familiar to oneself, even if this is more art than science? There's a meta-narrative to this as well about how the reader should interpret the book with that question in mind, though to say anything more would delve into spoilers. And lest you think it's just philosophical deepness, it's also an action-packed page-turner with memorable characters despite its huge temporal scope.

While technically it's a prequel, it works entirely standalone, and is arguably best read first without knowing character details from its publication-time predecessor. Content warnings for mind control and assault (though they're handled thoughtfully IMO). Highly, highly recommend.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Deepness-Sky-Zones-Thought/dp/0812536...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipositivism

by monk_the_dog   2019-06-30
Thanks for giving me an excuse to recommend "A Deepness in the Sky", by far my favorite science fiction book with a planet of sentient spiders. It's the second in a series, but the first two book can be read out of order. https://www.amazon.com/Deepness-Sky-Zones-Thought/dp/0812536... (The first book is good too; The third one was OK, but not as great as the first two.)
by totalperspectiv   2018-12-15
The book A Deepness in the Sky (https://www.amazon.com/Deepness-Sky-Zones-Thought/dp/0812536...) goes really deep (no pun intended) on this idea! I highly recommend it as some really solid sci-fi. It was full of big new ideas I had never conceived of before and often found myself sitting down just to think.