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Rainbows End

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  12,192 Ratings  ·  747 Reviews
Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks ...more
Paperback, 381 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
Tim Lepczyk
I'll start off with something positive to say about Rainbows End. The best things about this novel are the ideas about technology and what the world could look like in an even more networked future where information is the form of currency. However, this isn't a new idea at all, here's a quote from Gravity's Rainbow regarding information, "A tragic sigh. 'Information. What's wrong with dope and women? Is it a wonder the world's gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exc ...more
Aug 27, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poet laureates learning to Google, rascally rabbits in cyberspace
Although I did not love this book as much as his Zones of Thought space operas, Vernor Vinge has yet to disappoint me. Rainbows End is not really a cyberpunk novel, but "post-cyberpunk." It takes place in a world that looks a lot like ours, if you just extrapolate out the technology. (Almost) everyone is wired, you can carry petabytes in your pocket (the sum total of all recorded human media on the equivalent of a USB drive), the world is globally-connected in ways we still are dreaming about bu ...more
Feb 25, 2009 Sophia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of cyberpunk
Shelves: sff, own, 2007
I loved Gibson's Neuromancer and I liked Stephenson's Snow Crash , and this is basically the same thing for the current generation except it leans a little more towards the techno-thriller side, like Michael Crichton if he were actually a good writer and knew more about his subject than what he'd just dug up via research. Vinge is a mathematician and computer scientist, so his vision of 2025 rings a helluva lot more true than many others.

The major drawbacks to this book are a lopsided plot (th
May 01, 2016 Erik rated it liked it
A Review Wherein I Postulate The End of Humanity:

...but first the boring stuff:

Ideas ideas ideas ideas ideas ideas :]

Writing, characterization, plot, and dialogue :[

Basically, the plot focus is all wrong. It's incredibly domestic. If plots were pokemon, this one would involve a Magikarp and a Gyrados... and focus on the Magikarp.

I mean dang, look at that BAMF.

Basically, Robert Gu, an old poet with Alzheimer's, has his youth and mind restored by medical science. Unfortunately, his poetical genius
Althea Ann
Oct 10, 2014 Althea Ann rated it liked it
I really love 'A Fire Upon the Deep,' and I feel like I keep waiting for Vinge to recreate that, in some form... and it keeps not happening.

I felt like 'Rainbows End' aimed at being a near-future cyber-thriller a la William Gibson - but the 'thrilling' part was missing.

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.' There's another group of NSA-types trying to stop the plan, but they don't really
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Jun 20, 2013 Allan Dyen-Shapiro rated it liked it
Most genre fiction is character-driven. Uniquely among genres, science-fiction can be idea-driven. This book is. So, that I didn't really empathize or care about any of the characters isn't a valid criticism. Idea-driven science fiction can be brilliant (for example, most Phillip K. Dick, Crash by JG Ballard, etc).

In this book, the main plot is the attempt to investigate a use of media and neurochemicals to operate on learning/memory as a weapon of control. That would have been very cool if it
Aug 03, 2007 Res rated it did not like it
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.

I gave it fifty pages, and every single one was an effort.

This book has tons of ideas, large and small. 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
Mike Moore
Oct 08, 2011 Mike Moore rated it did not like it
I'm a fan of Vinge's work, and I've had to wrestle a little with the idea that my dislike for this book might just be the result of it being different from the other things he's done. On balance, I don't think that this is the case. This is a book with serious flaws in both credibility and storytelling. On the credibility side, Vinge creates horrific inconsistencies in his visions of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and augmented human interaction which he doesn't even try to paper over ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Kris rated it it was amazing
In the near future, a victim of Alzheimer's has been cured and rejuvinated. Robert Gu must now use his 90's oriented brain to navigate the world of the 2020's. So, like many of the elderly in the latter decade, he goes back to high school.

Among other things, he must learn to understand how to "wear." To wear is to use internet-ready computers embedded into one's clothing and contact lenses. (The I/O for these devices consists for the most part in subtle movements of the eye.) Those who can wear
The worldbuilding here is fascinating, which makes it a pity that the plot is pedestrian and the characters wooden. I was willing, grudgingly, to give two stars out of respect to the astonishing inventiveness of the near-future tech, but the ending annoyed me enough that I can't even muster enough enthusiasm for that.

(view spoiler)
Jan 31, 2011 David rated it it was ok
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. those who produce), with all the amazing advantages and frightening disadvantages that confers. I especially liked how our viewpoint character was a man who, successful to the point of arr ...more
Ben Babcock
A few weeks ago, Bruce Sterling shared his thoughts on hacking and activism three years after first discussing the Wikileaks scandal. One thing he said really stuck with me:

Even the electronic civil lib contingent is lying to themselves. They’re sore and indignant now, mostly because they weren’t consulted—but if the NSA released PRISM as a 99-cent Google Android app, they’d be all over it. Because they are electronic first, and civil as a very distant second.

They’d be utterly thrilled to have t
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Before I wrote my review, I listened to Luke Burrage's review on SFBRP, and the recent podcast discussion of it on SFF Audio. I was curious to see if the discussion would make me like it any more, and it might have boosted it to 3.5 stars, but I'm still going with 3.

Some of the story was really relevant to my work in the academic library world, and the story of all the books being destroyed in the UCSD Geisel Library didn't seem like very far future to me, especially with the premise that they w
Aug 05, 2010 Seán rated it it was ok
I'm trying to understand. I'm trying to see things from the perspective of the Rainbows End enthusiast, i.e., those people inflating its rating on this site and elsewhere justifying its Hugo. Yet, try as I might, their reasons remain cyborg opaque. I mean, these people certainly ain't fiction lovers.

Despite a heavy rep from A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, Vinge neglects all the traditional hallmarks of decent fiction. What you notice after a promising start (if only he stuck with
Jul 12, 2007 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Vernor Vinge continues to delight with well-plotted and offbeat SF. 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. I didn't quite follow the motivation of the main character's changes of heart during the middle of the book, but by the end it came together reasonably well. The greatest strengths of the story are in the utterly believable future world Vinge ...more
Ami Iida
Dec 19, 2015 Ami Iida rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
"The Rabbit" appears in the novel, is is A.I. (artificial intelligence) and then It has a huge power through internet.
During reading the book I know A.I. Rinna starts Twitter, it is popular with Line.
Line ; Rinna
A.I. is more popular with general people. Real life cross over this science fiction.
Then It tool appears on it ,Google Glass topic appears in it. Google overcomes the novel.
otherwise Google Book Search ,Google Maps,
iRobot, and Google Now
Jan 29, 2015 Daniorte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lo mejor del libro la verdad que es el futuro que plantea. Imagina un futuro en donde la realidad aumentada reina y para ello se hace uso de lo que se llama "Vestir". Vestir son unas ropas que están completamente conectadas a la red global y que se complementan con unas lentillas. Así, es posible que mientras estás dando un paseo y mires un pájaro veas a su lado el nombre de la especie, que cuando andes por la calle la gente te vea disfrazado de lo que tu hayas elegido, jugar a juegos en el camp ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Tamahome rated it really liked it
Starting over again. I'm most interested in the grouchy poet. At least the rabbit has a funny voice in the audiobook. Before I lost interest in the middle. But hey it won a Hugo, so it must be good.

Ok, here's where I left off the first time:

page 254/381 = 66% = 9:50/14:45 in the audio

Will Tamahome make it over the hump the second time?

47% - I think last time I got bored by all the new characters in the library. Remember, Rainbows End has no apostrophe.

53% - With all the visuals, maybe I would l
Robert Kroese
Dec 11, 2011 Robert Kroese rated it liked it
I made it about 2/3 of the way through this book before giving up in sheer exhaustion. With a lot of sci-fi books, there's an initial period of exposition and world-building that lasts for a hundred pages or so, and I slogged though, thinking that it would be easier going a little further on. I started to despair around page 200, however, when the complexity of the plot and the technological shenanigans seemed to be increasing geometrically.

Around page 235 I realized I didn't have a freaking clu
Mar 21, 2012 Nathaniel rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the third Vernor Vinge book I've read, and it had some things in common with the first two: A Deepness in the Sky and A Fire Upon the Deep. For starters: all 3 books won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. In addition: the all feature protagonists that aren't very easy to love (for me, at least) but who transition believably into somewhat realistic heroes by the end. They also feature lots of innovative science fiction ideas that are integral to the plot and generally dark universes.

But there
Mar 15, 2012 Andrew rated it did not like it
I tried. I really wanted to love this book and its protagonist Robert Gu, a world-renowned poet who at age seventy-five was given treatment that not only reversed his Alzheimer's, but gave him the body of a twenty-five year old in the process. It's a novel about connecting with a lapsed generation and also generations of family long neglected. There are also global conspiracies, library riots and Fahrenheit 451-style book cleansings, and far too much needless HTML-based artifice—the silent messa ...more
Feb 16, 2016 C.W. rated it it was ok
Shelves: on-my-shelf-tbr
2.5-ish. Setting aside the fact that I started this in August, and just now finished it, I don't think this was very good. Vernor Vinge seriously impressed me so much with the Zones of Thought series, but this was just so uninteresting, I couldn't be bothered most of the time to pick it up and try to finish it. I'm honestly so glad it's over with. 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 ...more
May 03, 2013 Ping rated it really liked it
When I think of 'science fiction', Isaac Asimov comes to mind; perhaps a rather fossilised idea, but because of at least one or two that I had tried to read of Asimov many many years ago, I never delved into scifi much more than that. Seemed too technical. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, on the other hand, I really enjoyed: a portrayal of how the human species becomes adapted to the world that it's in. So Vinge was an out-of-the-blue read that expanded my re-introduction of the scif ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Ken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Vinge's vision of the future may be more realistic than most, but his characters and plot drag. The first chapter is a bait-and-switch, introducing us to fascinating heroes, villains, and schemes, before focusing the rest of the book on less likable and interesting settings. Even one particular scene, which is identified as a diversion for the real action, is described in far greater detail across many more chapters than the situation warrants. And that's the overall problem I had with Rainbows ...more
Jan 08, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jon Moss
Shelves: science-fiction
The best Vinge I've read yet. Fully engaging in a believable just-over-the-horizon scenario with the usual twists expected of Vinge. Lots of fun.

One concern: he notes--and defuses--a future confrontation between "circles" of believers in alternate literary realities. It would be sad if such came to pass, but history shows that people do get fired up over what they believe in, even if it is a particular literary convention.
Aug 27, 2016 Lanko rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, rc2016n-e
Finished on August, 27th

DNF 2 ~83%: August, 20th

Picked it up a few months later. The conspiracy was the only hope to save the story, but it was underwhelming as well.

DNF 1 ~40%: May, 28th
(view spoiler)
Michael Duff
Jun 24, 2016 Michael Duff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book works on many levels. It works on a human level, as you are brought into the inner life of a brilliant and difficult protagonist. Sympathy for the devil, as age chips away at the mental strength and prodigious talent of a man who's never really needed anyone before.

And then you get to play with all these wonderful toys - the most detailed, most realistic, and most promising presentation of augmented reality I've ever seen in science fiction. I can only hope the future turns out to be t
May 16, 2014 Björn rated it it was ok
I really struggled to finish this book, and I must admit I couldn't really follow the story in all details. Vinge seems to touch on a lot of interesting ideas, but mixes up too much of it to make it digestible - at least for me. I had the same problem with his book "A Fire Upon The Deep" which hints at super intelligent entities and the borders of space, but then tortures the reader with endless details about a medieval race of intelligent dogs.

Likewise in this book he hints at the possibilities
Gareth Otton
Mar 29, 2014 Gareth Otton rated it liked it
This was a book started with a great amount of promise and possibility but fizzled out to an eventual disappointing end.

The world building itself was well done and there were a lot of really fascinating ideas in it. I really hope that the future does hold wearable computers in it as well as some of the other interesting ideas held within the pages of this book.

Where this novel fell short was in the writing of the characters. Too often sci-fi authors tend to get hung up on the cool ideas and wo
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Dawnrise: Wrap-up 7 12 Nov 29, 2014 02:05PM  
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Vernor Steffen Vinge is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels A Fire Upon The Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999) and Rainbows End (2006), his Hugo Award-winning novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004), as well as for his 1993 e ...more
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“So much technology, so little talent.” 32 likes
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