Timeline meets Dune meets Starship Troopers meets Forever War meets Neuromancer. This is Goodreads.com first recommendation for me, and appropriately, it chooses the long-known but finally-read Fire Upon the Deep, the so-called Bible of IT/CS, that extrapolates Technological Singularity to its next logical step (multiple singularities, happening everywhere), combines it with a pseudo-medieval Timeline-esque swords/sorcery (?) mashup, and then adds in some allegory about Great Power politics during WW2 (think Germany, Russia, Britain, although all mixed up between various entities). Finally, for the romance set, one dashing male hero from the dark ages of primitive space flight, and the result is more entertainment per dollar than much else out there.
Vinge is not absolutely, unbelievably stunning; Gibson in his best work, and few other authors, have slightly higher output-per-page, but seen as a whole, with its freely-self-remixing qualities and psychology 101 speculation mixing it up with space-war, the result is to some degree getting three books' in one, and the high education and intellect of the author is quite clear. A unique perspective (IT/CS) leads to an information-centric work, in that information itself is the theme and underlying ideology, resulting in some surprising twists and a number of additional readings / subtexts. Definite five star and definite Hugo Award-deservee.
22 Sep 2013
re-iterate 5/5, a tightly-written, elegantly compact mixing of space opera and medieval swords/sorcery on 'tines world,' a world of gestalt psychology in the form of packs of quasi-coherent dogs. sound exciting? well, there may not be ethereal 'galadriel' types, but the fun, compact world apparently begged sequels to be created... 5/5