Setting A Fire Upon The Deep

If you’re after a review of the Vernor Vinge modern classic A Fire Upon The Deep, you are in the wrong place. Yet I’m about to talk about that book a lot.

For those of you not familiar with the 1993 co-winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, here’s an Amazon link. It’s solidly worth a read.


I read this book in 2011 when I was still working on the initial draft of Tesseract. Not only is this an interesting intergalactic adventure, it features several fascinating alien species, the sort that make Star Wars look simplistic.

The most amazing of these aliens are the Tines, an intelligent dog-like species. The difference is that these dogs forge telepathic links with their packs. Each group of four to eight animals makes one person. Life on their world is like Game of Thrones starring packs of dogs instead of Peter Dinklage or Lena Headey. I loved it.

When the time came for me to write the closing lines of Tesseract, I looked at my copy of A Fire Upon The Deep. For a minute, I felt no ownership of the physical book in my right hand. Nor did I feel like the book about friendship and mirrors on my laptop was mine either. A thought struck me in that minute, giving me reason to pause and consider all the hurdles of writing, editing, publishing, and promotion.

In that moment, I felt Tesseract was capable of winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Then my sense of ownership came back. Since then, I have been inspired to make my book reach that goal. This means no independent release, no self-published ebook, no small press submission. My scifi tale has to reach for the stars.

We don’t always have concrete ambitions when it comes to creative dreams. From that moment onward, I’ve wanted that for my tale of mirrors and linguists.

That’s my dream and I intend to keep reaching for it.


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