Welcome to my blog. If you're addicted to books, like I am, then you've come to the right place. I mostly write about books and my experiences reading them. These are very personal book reviews. (If you can even call them book reviews...) I’m a true believer that none of us lives in a vacuum. When you read a book, watch a movie, listen to a song, etc., you absorb that art form into your life experience, and it changes you. But you also change it, because no two people see anything the same way. The way I interpret a novel may be totally different from the way you will. It’s still the same novel, but the meaning for each of us is unique. Once you express that meaning, it changes the art. So these posts are about how these books fit into my life. I’d love to hear how they fit into yours. Please make comment and share your experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not Beginning Sci-Fi: Review of Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

I had high expectations for this book.  It won the Hugo award for best novel, which is a big deal in the Sci-fi world.  In retrospect, I can understand this distinction, but it did take me a while to appreciate why it may have won this honor.  Most sci-fi books take a good 30-50 pages to establish the futuristic universe and time frame setting.  This book took more like 150 pages to get there.  The beginning was agonizing for me.   If you’ve never read sci-fi before—don’t start with this book, it is more complex than most sci-fi and the casual reader will get fed-up with it.  With that warning out of the way, once I got invested in this book, I did enjoy it. 

The universe Vinge creates in Fire Upon the Deep has multiple layers of civilization and intelligence that depend on where you are located in the universe—a very interesting concept.  The story begins as a human ship escapes from a terrible power to crash land on a planet inhabited by wolf-like creatures that must live in packs to transcend beyond the intelligence level of an animal.  The larger the pack, the more intelligent the being—but a pack of 4 or 5 of these creatures is still considered one individual.  In that sense, they can also be nearly immortal as they can add new members as previous ones die.  A rescue mission ensues across the galaxy to help the stranded humans who may hold the keys to stopping the blight/power that is consuming the known universe. 

I have really simplified the story here, but you get the idea.  This is fringe—totally out there, which makes it both frustrating and enjoyable.  With books like this, I find I have to let go of my need to understand everything in order to enjoy the story—there are some things in this made up world that will never make sense, never be explained and I’ll never understand them—once I made peace with that, I enjoyed the characters and the details of the story much more.  

No comments:

Post a Comment