Children of the Sky

Vernor Vinge has quickly become one of my favorite authors since I began reading his books less than a year ago.  In my own forays into writing, without knowing it I’d stumbled into several of his ideas with regards to post humanism.  His personal conceptualization of the universe is vastly original .  Although his layering of the galaxy has a hint of artificiality, that delineation is more than just a set piece and acts as an unexplained mystification to several story elements.  Is it possible that some higher power is enforcing these zones for its own purposes?  Only Vinge knows.

I’m not confident in my book reviews and I felt my heavy criticism of Blackout/All Clear was somewhat unwarranted.  Most people aren’t fond of overly critical writings, though I personally appreciate the avidness in this type of writing.  Finding faults and issues is how we improve, regardless of original quality.  For future reviews, I will start with the positives.

For a brief intro, The Children of the Sky is Vernor Vinge’s third book in the Zones of Thought Universe in both real and fictional sequencing.  The story details the continued adventures on Tines World as the surviving humans from Fire Upon the Deep remain stranded in the slow zone.  This book was written nearly twenty years after its predecessor.

The Children of the Sky carries where the first novel left off, exploring the unique nature of the Tines and dabbling a little in the field of social engineering.  Vernor Vinge also introduces interesting concepts such as the choir and furthers the idea of the soul being a changing thing.  Overall, the book was quite well written in line with his other work and worth a read of you enjoy his novels.  Was it on the same level as Deepness in the Sky or his series original Fire Upon the Deep?  I wouldn’t say so.

The book simply isn’t as interesting or inventive as the earlier novels.  Fire Upon the Deep introduced and played with about five different unexplored concepts at once.  The Deepness in the Sky did the same.   The Children of the Sky only offered a conclusion to Fire Upon the Deep for the all things I really didn’t care about in the first novel.  With time so expedient at the start of Children of the Sky, and throughout Deepness in the Sky, I thought the political elements of the book would be dealt with in the first third with the Blight conflict taking forefront in the climax.  No, it’s all about the tines and humans in several relatively pointless power plays for purely personal benefit.

I suppose part of the problem for me is that I don’t understand why certain people in the novel have certain views.  Why do people all think Ravna is lying to them?  For what possible reason would she sabotage their technological advancement and mislead them about Straumly? Why does a certain character remain in power at the end of the book when the larger population knows that they committed deliberate multiple murders with a ship’s laser on innocent bystanders?

There are a few plot lines that pop up and disappear unresolved, like the choir, shifting zones, and greenstalk.  Vernor Vinge has never been known to drag things out before, but this novel isn’t the same full course of events present in the other two of his series.  I hope that if Vinge writes another novel in the Zones of Thought universe (in another ten years), we get something as engrossing as the first two.

Next up is Windup Girl or War and Peace, either of which should wring a little more positivity out of me.  I hope you enjoyed.


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