A fire upon the deep
Book notes for "A fire upon the deep" by Vernor Vinge"
One way to rate the ingenuity of a traditional space opera is by the skill and originality with which it gets around the limit of the speed of light. One scale on which we can rate a New Space Opera is how deftly it dodges the roadblock of Singularity.
The hours came to minutes, the minutes to seconds. And now each second was as long as all the time before.
Take a group of ordinary people and train them to string out, not in packs but as individual members. If each member stayed just a few yards from its nearest neighbors, they could maintain something like the mentality of a trio. The group as a whole was scarcely brighter – you can’t have much in the way of deep thoughts when it takes seconds for an idea to percolate across your mind. Yet the line had an excellent grasp of what was happening along itself. And if any members were attacked, the entire line would know about it with the speed of sound.
but in the end the Packs would be the great beneficiaries. Woodcarver clearly understood the disabilities of her pack race. Tinish records went back at least ten thousand years. For all their recorded history they had been trapped in cultures not much less advanced than now. A race of sharp intelligence yet they had a single overwhelming disadvantage: they could not cooperate at close range without losing that intelligence. Their civilizations were made of isolated minds, forced introverts who could never progress beyond certain limits. The eagerness of Pilgrim and Scrupilo and the others for human contact was evidence of this. In the long run, we can move the Tines out of this cul-de-sac.