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Thread: Book Discussion: A FIRE UPON THE DEEP by Vernor Vinge

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    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
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    Book Discussion: A FIRE UPON THE DEEP by Vernor Vinge

    Book Discussion for June 1, 2017: A FIRE UPON THE DEEP by Vernor Vinge

    First up for our new quarterly book discussions is's May 2017 selection, the Hugo Award Winning A FIRE UPON THE DEEP by Vernor Vinge. A free download of the book is available at Tor. com** until May 15, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Time). It is also available for Kindle on Amazon, though I do recommend grabbing from Tor while it's free.

    Why a Science Fiction novel in the Contemporary Lit subforum?

    Lisa mentioned the book as Tor's current download, so it is easily accessible to most as a free download right now. “Alternative facts” and determining the reliability of information bombarding us currently via the internet (in particular) is already on all our minds. And artificial intelligence and what would happen were some “evil intelligence” to direct our quest for information/knowledge in service to its own purposes has been on my mind. (Pure serendipity, I guess you'd call it.) A FIRE UPON THE DEEP is one take on such a post-human era brought about by this technological singularity of humanity completely freed (by robotics and artificial intelligence) from mundane tasks—unprecedented in human history and with no foreseeable outcome based on our prior experience.

    Why this novel in particular?

    It meets the criteria: published post-WWII, strong characterization (specifically Ravna Bergsndot, a human librarian); contains contemporary cultural elements and implications; a well-written and conceptually dense book that makes us think.

    The Plot:

    In the far future, humans have found they are not alone in the universe. The universe is populated by many species—and they are the most “alien” aliens you’ll encounter; they aren’t the lizards in cheap suits variety—and information/knowledge is the source of great wealth. When humans of the Straumli realm discover and try to tap into a lost “archive”, they unleash a Power that is bent on the destruction of worlds.

    Attempting to flee the now-discovered threat, two ships take off: one containing a husband and wife team and their two children, as well as the other children from the colony now in a cryogenic state; the second ship contains adults from the colony and is destroyed by the Power. Upon landing on another world, the survivors are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture. A rescue mission, of both humans and non-humans, is launched to rescue survivors and obtain a secret that may save the rest of interstellar civilization.

    Interviews with Dr. Vernor Vinge:

    Additional thoughts on AI and the Singularity: Dr. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Nick Bostrom, James Barrat, Dr. Vernor Vinge.

    **It's available there in both Mobi (Kindle and others read this) and Epub (used for iBooks for OS X/macOS and iOS, and other apps/OSs too)

    The download is free.

    It has no DRM.

    Free ebook readers:

    Kindle apps for computers and smart phones and tablets

    iBooks for OS X and iOS (see app store)

    Icecream for Windows (reads Mobi and ePub)

    Calibre for Windows, OSC, Linux


    ***This thread will open on June 1, 2017.***
    Last edited by Ari Meermans; 05-14-2017 at 06:51 AM. Reason: Add link *le sigh*
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