I'm looking for the title of a book I read a long time ago in which programming code or snippets of code have amassed on board spaceships. This process took a long long time.

The story uses these ancient code snippets to let the main character escape by 'hacking' the ship.

  • Do you know roughly how long ago a long time ago is? I.e. when did you read this? Was it new at that time? Do you remember why the code was amassing on spaceships? Why was the character trying to escape etc. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 24 '19 at 8:13
  • This is indeed almost certainly A deepness in the sky - part of one of the greatest of all sci-fi series! – Fattie Apr 24 '19 at 14:09
  • probably the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/140617/… – Otis Apr 25 '19 at 5:56

While there's not a lot to go on in the question, one possible match is Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky. In this two fleets of spaceships arrive at the same planet, inhabited by a Spiderlike race of sentient beings.

After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.

After the Emergents take control of the Qeng Ho fleet, Pham Nuwen organises a small resistance to fight back. Pham Nuwen is really old, having been kept alive though cold-sleep and relativistic travel and knows back-door entries to the Qeng Ho fleet's technology using older legacy code functions and physical capabilities of some of the fleet's technology, that were never revealed to the general users when the technology was bought, that Pham Nuwen only knows about because he arranged the purchase.

  • Actually, I guess it could be part one, A fire upon the deep. – Fattie Apr 24 '19 at 14:10
  • @Fattie No, "A Deepness in the Sky" is the prequel to "A Fire Upon the Deep". The latter does feature any hint about ancient coding. The former has Pham Nuwen doing "half-arsed programming" at some point in time, whereupon he reflects that the time 0 must have have been the time of the Moon Landings. But then actually finds out that it is slightly afterwards, namely 1970-01-01 00:00 UTC, i.e. the Unix epoch. – David Tonhofer Apr 24 '19 at 20:49
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    Hi @DavidTonhofer - for th sake of anyone who picks them up, the first book, book 1, the first book written , the first book to read in the series, is "A Fire Upon the Deep". i think you're right that the programming part the OP refers to is in Deepness. Cheers. – Fattie Apr 24 '19 at 21:44
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    I read Deepness before I even knew there was something for it to be a prequel to, and I liked it perfectly well. To this day I prefer it over Fire, especially when comparing the two Pham Nuwens. – hmakholm left over Monica Apr 24 '19 at 23:20

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