Vinge’s Zones of Thought books are long-time favorites for me. It’s been over a decade since I’d read either of the published novels. Vinge’s third book in the universe is coming this year, so it was time for a re-read and re-check of my assumptions. So, these aren’t really reviews, as much as they’re my adjustments given a while since I’ve last approached them.
I started with A Deepness in the Sky. The book has aged well, and doesn’t feel at all dated (read as: Rainbows End sucked, and will suck more going forward). The book was, on the whole, still quite good. The interplay of the feudal and colonial themes was fun, and it’s always neat when the underdog wins. The story has some nonlinear aspects and Vinge was pretty crafty in weaving it all together.
There are aspects that seem a little contrived in this reading. The notion that the spiders could successfully and secretly subvert a technological superpower that was centuries (at least) ahead of it seems contrived. This seems a bit fishy, even given the help of post-singularity “minerals.” It makes for a good story, but it just seems too implausible.
In the end, I still found it deeply satisfying, which was a pleasant surprise. “… there is a deepness in the sky, and it extends forever” made me tear up. 8/10.