A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge

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.