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The tech-spec is perfect, but I’m even fonder of the social ramifications.

We learn almost immediately that a character who is ostensibly a good guy is actually a bad guy, a revelation that I found was a flattering form of dramatic irony—oh, you trust me, the reader, enough to let me in on this from the start? Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer’s patient.

This allows Vinge to explain a bernor of things to us via Robert, but because the story is intercut with a number of POVs he also does my favorite kind of speculative writing, forcing the reader to understand everything in context.

But fnal it won a Hugo, so it must be good. We never find out just who or what the mysterious “Rabbit” character that serves to forward so much of the plot is, and what he really wants. There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons into the hands of anyone having a bad hair day. Those who can wear have constant and immediate access to a world of information and imagery that leaves those who can’t wear seeming almost blind by comparison.

The summary is that it takes place in a universe where humans have colonized many planets and can travel many light years in a single jump by using wormholes. I think this is a shame.


The main character is Robert Gu, who was a great poet at the end of the 20th century, but who has slipped into dementia. These concepts are all interesting. You get the gnawing feeling that we will keep destroying ourselves over and over in a dreadful cycle. While it does not behove an author to give everyone a tour of their entire world, they do need to show off enough for it to feel tangible.

Al Final Del Arcoiris by Vinge, Vernor

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. The greatest strengths of the story are in the utterly believable future world Vinge Vernor Vinge continues to delight with well-plotted and offbeat SF. Vingr most interesting characters rarely show up. But I like to think the Acceleration of Change can explain why it’s necessary.

Al Final del Arco Iris

In the episode on the dropping of the atomic bomb, the historian talked about how the rapid introduction of aircraft prevented military leaders from understanding how to properly use them. The Human Rocket Vol. But it still had some of the key disappointing characteristics of the other s.

Rainbow’s End is a tale about loss, growing old and getting a second chance, and how that affects bad family dynamics, along with the usual gobs of interesting speculation about the future. As a portrait of the niftiness and danger of the future, I suppose it’s reasonably good, though it’s rather slow and didactic compared with the pleasant breathless hurtle of cyberpunk my usual danger The one where a Rip van Winkle figure is cured of Alzheimer’s and has to figure out how to live in the future, and apparently gets involved in some sort of plot involving mind control technology.

The vast majority of the book is given up to the dysfunctional family life of one Robert Gu, and how he goes back to high school as a ninety year old man who medical science has rejuvenated. But the politics keep reappearing to drag the story down.


I wanted to like Rainbows End. To be fair – and the reason that I didn’t DNF it or give it a 1 or a straight up 2 – the world building is fantastic and really cool, and I still like Vernor Vinge’s writing. Not only are there flexible touchscreens, but one can get virtually any type of clothing with embedded microprocessors, haptic feedback, and sensors. Campbell Memorial Award committee had a little more perseverance.

Like Leibowitzit takes place on Earth after a devastating nuclear war has set society back several thousand years.

Rainbows End

Is technology outpacing our ability to guide its usage? And still another deo line is about a group of UCSD professors who are trying to prevent the shredding of all the books in the main library on campus.

vfrnor The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. I really wanted to like this book – as a “concept” story, it’s extremely engaging, exploring a not-too-distant possible future where our “plugged-in”, multitasking, social networking culture becomes ridiculously pervasive in conjunction with an economy that increasingly value those who collate and analyze vs. There’s a conspiracy to infect the world with some sort of suggestion-susceptibility, which its proponents see as the only way to ‘save the world.

Elsewhere, a high-level intelligence officer is plotting to implement a mind control technology on the populace.

Fortunately, the John W. So is the University of California at San Diego, where much of the action takes place.