Scientific progress has taken human beings to remote planes in far galaxies and enabled them to build comfortable homes there. But when that science proved a deadly enemy and had to be abandoned, the pioneers were isolated in alien surroundings. There was no way home. Earth, which had once been home, had ceased to exist. And when the men of the planet Demeter died out in space, the destiny of the human race was left to a group of women.
Clare Monkton worked to establish a feminist world. She used the resources of science to assure the continuance of the race … but the resulting children were to be brought up according to her ideas.
There was bound to be a challenge. When there were once more young men growing up on the planet, it was inevitable that they should oppose the authority of the women. And when one of those young men proved to come from such a dangerous ancestry, Clare knew she had a battle on her hands…
Defying the edict of the Medical Council., Dr. Robert Cranston, helped by Dr. Campbell, carries out an unauthorised medical experiment with a ‘deep freeze’ system of suspended animation. The volunteer is Claire Baxter, an attractive film stunt-girl. But when Claire undergoes deep freeze unconsciousness, the two doctors discover that they cannot restore the girl. She is barely alive. Despite every endeavour to revive the girl, nothing happens, and Cranston and Campbell find themselves charged with murder…
It’s the year 2080, and Earth’s seemingly insurmountable overpopulation problem has been alleviated temporarily by placing millions of people in voluntary deep freeze. But in election year, the pressure is on to find a solution which will enable them to resume their lives.
For Jim Briskin, Presidential candidate, it seems an insoluble problem – until a flaw in the new instantaneous travel system opens up the possibility of finding whole new worlds to colonise.
They called him the Survivor – a 20th Century man ‘reborn’ in 2113.
After a devastating atomic holocaust, mankind had now turned to the machine to solve his problems. Which led to the androids – descended from the robot, they were hardly distinguishable from real humans. By the year 2113 they ran society – leaving man to a life of leisure.
It was into this world that John Markham emerged after spending 146 years of suspended animation in an underground deep-freeze unit. But his new lease of life was likely to be a short one. A man with his outdated ideas could be very dangerous – a fact the androids realized only too well.
Vinge’s masterpieces together at last, in one epic volume
The Hugo Award winning A FIRE UPON THE DEEP and its epic companion novel A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY, set in the same universe but 20,000 years earlier, were benchmarks for SF in the last decade of the 20th century.
In FIRE ‘Vinge presents a galaxy divided into Zones – regions where different physical constraints allow very different technological and mental possibilities. Earth remains in the “Slowness” zone, where nothing can travel faster than light and minds are fairly limited. The action of the book is in the “Beyond”, where translight travel and other marvels exist, and humans are one of many intelligent species. One human colony has been experimenting to find a path to the “Transcend”, where intelligence and power are so great as to seem godlike. Instead they release the Blight, an evil power, from a billion-year captivity.’ Publisher’s Weekly
In DEEPNESS, ‘the story has the same sense of epic vastness despite happening mostly in one isolated solar system. Here there’s a world of intelligent spider creatures who traditionally hibernate through the “Deepest Darkness” of their strange variable sun’s long “off” periods, when even the atmosphere freezes. Now, science offers them an alternative. Meanwhile, attracted by spider radio transmissions, two human starfleets come exploring – merchants hoping for customers and tyrants who want slaves. Their inevitable clash leaves both fleets crippled, with the power in the wrong hands, which leads to a long wait in space until the spiders develop exploitable technology. Over the years Vinge builds palpable tension through multiple storylines and characters.’ Dave Langford