Read 21/2008 – Rainbows End

31 December 2008

Book: 21
Title: Rainbows End

Author: Vernor Vinge
Genre: Science Fiction
Why did you get this book? It was a birthday present. After reading a review of Vernor Vinges Rainbows End over at From a Sci-Fi Standpoint I asked for any book by Vinge.
Did you enjoy the book? Yes. His vision of the near future was most interesting for someone like me who has worked on mainframe computers for over thirty years.
Was the author new to you? Almost. I have read his essay on the coming technological singularity.
Would you read something by this author again? Yes.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? I am keeping it.
Spoilers? The tale of a famous poet who loses twenty years due to Alzheimer’s. Fortunately for him medical advances cure him. Now he has to catch up with twenty years of technological advancement. In this strange new world computer power is built into your clothes and contact lenses add multiples layers of virtual reality over everything you see. Everything and everyone is connected and communicates using these multiple layers.  Technology has made it possible for marginal groups to gain weapons of mass destruction – our nightmare come true – and the need for security dominates society. People who can not adjust to this technology are cut off from sophisticated social interaction. Our poet has to relearn many things in order to adjust. The ending was rather abrupt and disappointed some. Vinge’s description of our near future compensates for this. I like this kind of hard science fiction. Its object is to speculate, to warn, to show options and to raise the important question – is this really how we want our future to be?
Number of pages: 381
Total pages for the year: 5541