rachelmanija: (Staring at laptop)
( Jan. 24th, 2010 02:06 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] darius won my offer of an original story or poem in the [livejournal.com profile] care_faith_hope auction, and challenged me to write a sestina or story about the Tines, the pack-mind wolf-creatures from Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought), who share one mind in packs of four to six (they can be bigger, but they lose a lot of intelligence), and can switch out members but alter their personalities and names accordingly.

Behold! A sestina! Damn, that is a tough form. No, I don't know what possessed me to make it even harder by adding on an additional rule.

Better to be one-in-many, to be ever-shifting pack )
After bouncing off this for years, I got trapped outside someone's house for an hour with nothing in my purse with it. So I read it. I was able to read it in an hour because I ended up skimming heavily. That's why this is not a real review.

A long, long time in the future, in a galaxy far, far away, some humans mess with a library of sorts and create an AI (I think) which kills most of them for reasons that maybe were explained in some part that I skimmed. The ones who escape land on a planet inhabited by the Tines, doglike creatures whose packs of four to eight share a single consciousness. More or less. It's complicated.

The Tines kill all but two of the humans, a kid brother and sister, who each end up with two of the Tine factions. Everything involving the Tines and their weird ways-- they can recreate their selves and alter their personalities by adding or subtracting new members-- is just fascinating, and I loved those parts.

Unfortunately, there is a whole other story, or perhaps several, which bored me to death, involving a librarian and some aliens and a guy named Pham who gets resurrected, and, if I was not hallucinating, messages on usenet. That was the part which I skipped due to unreadability.

Does Vinge ever return to the Tines? I'd happily read a book just about them.


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