Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky is a tour de force sequel of sorts to the instant classic sci-fi novel A Fire Upon the Deep. I mooched Deepness awhile ago and finally read it over the Chrismuhkwah break last year.
What Vinge excels at is inventing, descrbing and fleshing out completely alien world with cultures, mores and societal rules completely different from what we have seen before. In this case he creates two cultures: one is an interstellar mercantile based society where profit, sales and customers are their central organizing principles; the other culture is filled with arachnid-like creatures living on a very special planet which goes into a cyclical 200-year long ice age every 200 years.
A Fire Upon The Deep and A Deepness in the Sky are part of the Zones of Thought series of which there are only two books so far, although Vinge was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2007 for Rainbows End (which he later won). There are reports that his next book will be a sequel to A Fire Upon The Deep.
A Deepness in the Sky is incredibly engrossing. The reader is immersed in both cultures and although one group is attempting to exploit the other it was hard for the reader to sit by powerlessly and watch the events unfold.
I won't say more about what happens in the plot but suffice it to say that you will not be disappointed. A Deepness in the Sky is an incredibly satisfying read.
OVERALL GRADE: A.