A Deepness in the Sky

Here’s my review of A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. I’m not leaving reviews on Goodreads anymore, but it felt like this deserved a mention somewhere publicly.

Five stars. Highly recommended. Would read again.

I picked up A Deepness in the Sky on a rainy day Oak Island friends beach trip after looking through my long-neglected “To Read” list. I had just finished Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan as well as some John Scalzi and was looking for more “serious” sci-fi. That makes me sound like a snob, but read Altered Carbon and you’ll know what I mean. I still enjoy having the Kindle and the ability to click to buy and start reading.

I wouldn’t say I immediately got wrapped up in the story, because the Emergent were very off-putting. It was a slow start to get my bearings on the world. Vinge did an amazing job building out his villains. He made them into real people for me. Real people that I could see triumphing even though I know they’re the villains. Maybe it was this part of the story that made me a little squeamish? “I really hope these guys don’t win, because they’re awful.”

However, once I did get into the characters, the world, and the conflict, I couldn’t put it down. I think this approach avoided a ton of up-front exposition and eventually made me more invested in this world I was learning about.

This universe was full of treasures for me. I feel like this is a Saturday Night Live Stefon sketch, but this book has EVERYTHING:

  • Long time scales
  • Space travel
  • Alien contact
  • Technology
  • Kittens
  • Sex dungeons
  • A bar with zero gravity where the tables face each other literally head to head

I feel like I’ve been stingy with my five star reviews lately, settling on 3 to 4 for most things. I whole heartedly pulled out the five star stamp for this one. (Ok, it’s not a stamp, it’s a field in a YAML frontmatter now, but you know what I mean.) I felt like the characters had depth, the story had intricacy and subtlety, and the world and the conflict in it were compelling.

I see why this book won all sorts of awards, and now I might add some more Vernor Vinge on my “To Read” list. My only regret is this sat on my virtual shelf since 2017. I’m glad I had it there and even happier I finally picked it up!