5 thoughts on “The Witling

  1. So, it turns out that Vernor Vinge once wrote pulp sci-fi! I saw this book with his name on it in a used bookstore and picked it up for $1. I can only imagine that this was how he was learning his craft. The central idea is mildly interesting: a planet where the population (and indigenous creatures) are able to teleport (with varying strength) and only those without this skill (“witlings”) resort to things like “science” and “technology.” The expected confusion ensues when more advanced but non-

  2. I started out giving this book 3 stars, as a perfectly serviceable sci-fi adventure; although certainly not up to the standards of Vernor Vinge’s later work (I absolutely love Fire Upon the Deep).

    It’s a First Contact story, and the premise is a little familiar, but not bad: anthropologists from Earth arrive at a seemingly non-advanced alien planet and gradually figure out that the native people have highly-developed mental abilities (teleportation). Those who lack these abilities are generally

  3. There wasn’t really a lot TO this book–it was entertaining enough, but it really suffers in comparison with his later books like A Deepness in the Sky and a Fire Upon the Deep, which I think are some of the most interesting alien books I’ve read.

    I think someone mentioned this one on a mailing list I belong to, and it sounded kind of interesting: basically there’s this planet where everyone has psychic powers, so they can teleport themselves and kill people at a distance and so on. People witho

  4. The idea of teleportation has always appealed to me, so a world where this is an inherent natural ability is interesting. Vinge thinks it through to a rich degree, describing novel uses for the ability, and limitations that stop it being all powerful, while still making sense within the narrative. In addition, there’s a good plot, as the two human explorers try to contact home, and find a way off a planet whose abundance of heavy metals will, in due course, kill them.

    There’s some interesting wo

  5. This book has a nice clear story with an unusual heroine, and a well-conceived and original scenario unlike any other I can think of. It makes use of teleportation and telekinesis; but the teleportation is not quite the same as Alfred Bester’s jaunting, and the difference has interesting effects on the resulting society.

    It’s the story of two relatively normal humans marooned on an abnormal planet, so I’m reminded vaguely of Mission of Gravity and The Left Hand of Darkness.

    As with Mission of Grav

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