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Encyclopedia > A Deepness in the Sky

In 1999 Vernor Vinge published his science fiction novel, A Deepness in the Sky, a loose prequel (set 30,000 years earlier) to his novel A Fire Upon the Deep (1992). Nominated for the 1999 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the book won the 2000 Hugo Award for Best Novel and the 2000 Prometheus Award for best libertarian science fiction novel, making it one of the most honored science fiction novels in recent history. The first Tor mass-market paperback edition comprises 775 pages. Vernor Steffen Vinge (IPA: ) (born February 10, 1944) is a mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author who is best known for his Hugo award-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, as well as for his 1993 essay The Technological Singularity, in which... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe; title page of 1719 newspaper edition A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended fictional narrative in prose. ... Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is one of the most well-known prequels. ... A Fire Upon the Deep (1992) is a science fiction novel written by Vernor Vinge. ... Winners of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. ... Winners of the Hugo Award for best novel. ... The Prometheus Award is an award for libertarian science fiction novels given out annually by the Libertarian Futurist Society (which also publishes a quarterly journal, Prometheus). ... Libertarian science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on the politics and social order implied by libertarian philosophies with an emphasis on individualism and a limited state-- and in some cases, no state whatsoever: (see: Anarcho-capitalist literature) As a category, libertarian science fiction is unusual... Tor Books is an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC which publishes popular fiction, and is particularly noted for its science fiction and fantasy titles. ...

The book deals with the discovery of an intelligent alien species on a planet orbiting the bizarre, appropriately named On/Off star, which spends 215 of every 250 years almost completely dormant, releasing almost no energy. During this period, the planet freezes and its fauna goes into hibernation. The existence of extraterrestrial life remains hypothetical though human beings continue to search Extraterrestrial life is life that may exist and originate outside the planet Earth, the only place in the Universe known to support life. ... Hibernation is a state of regulated hypothermia, lasting several days or weeks, that allows animals to conserve energy during the winter. ...

The planet's inhabitants, named 'Spiders' by the humans, have reached a stage of technological development very similar to that of Earth's humans in the early 20th century. Two human expeditions set out to trade/exploit the situation: the Qeng Ho traders (pronounced [Cheng Ho], presumably named after Zheng He); and the Emergents, an autocratic culture that literally enslaves selected human minds. By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... The term Trader can refer to: In economics, a merchant, a retail business or one who attempts to generally buy wholesale and sell later at a profit In finance, someone who buys and sells financial instruments such as stocks, bonds and derivatives - see stock trader In marketing, Trader Classified Media... Zheng He wearing formal official dress Zheng He (Traditional Chinese: é„­å’Œ; Simplified Chinese: 郑和; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Cheng Ho; Birth name: 馬三寶 / 马三宝; pinyin: MÇŽ SānbÇŽo; Arabic name: Hajji Mahmud) (1371–1433), is the most well-known Chinese mariner and explorer and fleet Admiral, who made the voyages collectively referred to... Autocracy is a form of government where unlimited power is held by a single individual. ...

After suffering decimation due to a disease they call "mindrot", the Emergents have learned to engineer the disease and to use it to their advantage as a form of mind control. They use it as a weapon against the unwitting Qeng Ho expedition, infecting them during a meeting with a time-delayed variant of the disease. As both groups of humans approach the On/Off star, a surprise attack by the Emergents, timed to coincide with the mindrot symptoms, leaves both fleets crippled. They have perforce to work together and wait for the Spider civilization to achieve a greater technological maturity in order to help them refurbish their ships. Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ...

Emergent culture uses mindrot primarily in the form of a variant which technicians can manipulate in order to release neurotoxins to specific parts of the brain. An active MRI-type device triggers changes through dia- and paramagnetic biological molecules. By manipulating the brain in this way, Emergent managers induce a state they call Focus, in which Focused persons become completely obsessed with a single idea or speciality, essentially turning them into brilliant appliances. Many Qeng Ho become Focused against their will, and the Emergents retain the rest of the population under mass surveillance. The Qeng Ho trading culture gradually starts to dilute this totalitarian rĂ©gime, however, as the Emergents discover certain benefits of tolerated and restricted free trade; and the two human cultures merge to some extent over many years of forced co-operation. It has been suggested that Neurotoxicity be merged into this article or section. ... The mri are a fictional alien species in the Faded Sun Trilogy of C.J. Cherryh. ... Diamagnetism is a very weak form of magnetism that is only exhibited in the presence of an external magnetic field. ... Paramagnetism is the tendency of the atomic magnetic dipoles, due to quantum-mechanical spin, in a material that is otherwise non-magnetic to align with an external magnetic field. ... Management (from Old French ménagement the art of conducting, directing, from Latin manu agere to lead by the hand) characterises the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible). ... Hyperfocus describes an intense form of mental concentration or visualization that focuses consciousness on a narrow subject, or beyond objective reality and onto subjective mental planes, daydreams, concepts, fiction, the imagination, and other objects of the mind. ... An information appliance (IA) is any device that can process information, signals, graphics, animation, video and audio; and can exchange such information with another IA device. ... Mass surveillance is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population, or a substantial fraction thereof. ... The concept of Totalitarianism is a typology or ideal-type used by some political scientists to encapsulate the characteristics of a number of twentieth century regimes that mobilized entire populations in support of the state or an ideology. ... Free trade is an economic concept referring to the selling of products between countries without tariffs or other trade barriers. ...

The book discusses some of the problems of trying to maintain an interstellar trading culture without access to superluminal travel or to superluminal communication. Time-measurement details provide an interesting concept in the book: the Qeng Ho measure time primarily in terms of seconds, since the notion of days, months, and years has no usefulness between various star systems. The timekeeping system, based on the Unix epoch, uses terms such as kiloseconds and megaseconds. Faster-than-light (also superluminal or FTL) communications and travel are staples of the science fiction genre. ... Superluminal communication is the term used to describe the hypothetical process by which one might send information at faster-than-light (FTL) speeds. ... Unix time, or POSIX time, is a system for describing points in time. ... To help compare orders of magnitude of different times this page lists times between 103 seconds (a kilosecond) and 104 seconds (16. ... To help compare orders of magnitude of different times this page lists times between 106 seconds (a megasecond) and 107 seconds (11. ...

Only one concrete connection links A Deepness in the Sky with A Fire Upon the Deep: the character of Pham Nuwen, the "Programmer-at-Arms", who appears in both books. Hints occur about the "zones of thought" mentioned in the earlier book; the story takes place in the Slow Zone, though Vinge does not explain the connections, and the characters in the story remain unaware of the zones' existence. The sun's inexplicably strange behavior, the unusual planetary system (with only a solitary planet and several asteroid-sized diamonds), and the discovery of "cavorite mines" on the planet appear as possible leftovers from the passage of the system through the center of the galaxy. Vinge's characters speculate that the Spiders descend from an ancient star-faring civilization, and that the antigravity material and other strange artifacts have connections with that civilization. A Fire Upon the Deep (1992) is a science fiction novel written by Vernor Vinge. ... An artists concept of a protoplanetary disk. ... An asteroid is a predominantly rocky body that orbits around its star. ... For other uses, including the shape â—Š, see Diamond (disambiguation). ... Fictional chemical substances are compounds or minerals that exist only in works of fiction (usually fantasy or science fiction). ... NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light years in diameter and approximately 60 million light years distant. ... AntiGravity is a group of New York gymnasts/performance artists. ...

At the end of the book, Pham announces his plans to free all of the Focused in the entire Emergent civilization, and, if surviving that, to embark on a journey to the center of the galaxy to find the source of these strange artifacts (A Fire Upon the Deep reveals that he died during this journey, and that one of the god-like Powers re-assembled his body parts and memories to use as a puppet). The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy. ...

With this work Vinge introduces localizers to his set of science-fiction concepts. Localizers comprise tiny devices which can contain a simple processor, sensors, and short-range communications. Vinge explores how intelligent control can use mesh networking of these devices in ways quite different from those of traditional computer networks. (See also: smartdust.) A localizer is one component of a ILS or Instrument Landing System. ... Mesh networking is a way to route data, voice and instructions between nodes. ... Smartdust is a network of tiny wireless microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS), robots, or devices, installed with wireless communications, that can detect anything from light and temperature, to vibrations, etc. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (Olson) (670 words)
A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (Olson)
Deepness doesn't really connect to any previous story or novel, though one character from Deepness, Pham, is evidently the Pham who appears in A Fire Upon the Deep.
As hinted in A Fire Upon the Deep, one of the limitations of the Slow Zone is that AI is impossible.
A Deepness in the Sky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (740 words)
A Deepness in the Sky, a loose prequel (set 30,000 years earlier) to his novel A Fire Upon the Deep (1992).
Only one concrete connection links A Deepness in the Sky with A Fire Upon the Deep: the character of Pham Nuwen, the "Programmer-at-Arms", who appears in both books.
Hints occur about the "zones of thought" mentioned in the earlier book; the story takes place in the Slow Zone, though Vinge does not explain the connections, and the characters in the story remain unaware of the zones' existence.
  More results at FactBites »



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