I just finished reading A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. Since I’ve been cultivating a gestalt knowledge of the science fiction canon for nearly two decades, I was able to notice nods and reflections of past works. The book owes an obvious and huge debt to James Blish’s Cities in Flight, but there are also Tolkien references, Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity nods and more.
The most surprising aspect of the book was its not-so-nuanced championing of free market capitalism. I’m used to science fiction that puts forth some sort of commentary on contemporary life or a specific philosophical or political position, but I’m also used to these aspects being just one or two of the story’s many supports. In A Deepness in the Sky the triumph of the free market is the story.
The mutliple POV story-telling conceit keeps the pace lively, and the well placed plot twists maintain engagement, but I think the story could have benefited greatly from significant editorial culling. It is a good choice for lovers of hard science fiction and thick volumes.