A Fire Upon The Deep
Copyright 1992 by
I first read this in April 2001.
The archaeologists from the Straumli Realm uncover a powerful but
malignant intelligence. Shortly they are all but completely destroyed
as they intelligence breaks free and begins to cop-opt and consume,
first the Straumli Realm itself, and then vast reaches of the universe.
On an unknown planet, their parents killed, captured by strange aliens,
separated and alone, Johanna and Jefri try to survive.
Ravna Bergsndot was a librarian but now she and resurrected Pham Nuwen
search desperately for the single defense against the ravening
malignance. Two mighty star fleets pursue their vessel into the
slowness of the Deep.
Sounds pretty impressive and indeed it is. It's set against a backdrop
of thousands of civilizations spread across the galaxies. It seems
quite reasonable to accept entire solar systems being obliterated in the
background while our little heroes are struggling with less grand
events in a medieval alien nightmare.
Well I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of the Zones of
Thought, where the sophisticated automation and technologies of the
upper zones fail progressively if brought into the lower zones: the
picture of once massive intelligences stumbling around with IQs of
around 90 on some planet down at the bottom. It's classic space opera,
but with real people in there. On the other hand, it can get a bit
frustrating realizing that his metaphor for the entire Universe is the
Internet - this was topical, and very new back in '92 but feels a little
dated now. Still what a rollicking read, and a lot shorter (and size
isn't everything) than Peter F. Hamilton's massive space operas.
Loaded on the 16th May 2001.