33rd out of 37 books — 9 voters
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Disaffected computer wizard "Mr. Slippery" (True Name Roger Pollack) is an early adopter of a new full-immersion virtual reality technology called the Other Plane. He and the other wizards form a cabal to keep their true identities — their True Names — secret to avoid prosecution by their "Great Adversary" — the government of the United States.
The lines that define us are ...more
The lines that define us are ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published December 15th 1984 by Bluejay Books
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Before Neuromancer and Snow Crash, there was Vinge's "True Names", written in 1981. Hackers meet in cyberspace, a virtual representation of "data space" they call the "Other Plane". Metaphors and symbols of magic are applied to this world - they are warlocks and wizards, they cast spells - modern-day sorcery in a completely networked world. There are battles in cyberspace, amassing computation power that goes to your head and makes you Gods, encryption schemes to trick those who control you beca ...more
A quick read, and a little dated--but hey, the book is as old as I am--but very interesting to see Vinge's ideas of the potential future of tech back in the 80's. A lot of the concepts here have been used by other authors since this was written and have been well-updated. That being said, I enjoyed this novella (short story?) and its discussion of AI and augmented human capabilities.
True Names (1981) by Vernor Vinge is a very early work that depicts cyberspace. It's an excellent novella that was visionary. Before Neuromancer and all the other cyberpunk fiction this was first. The story is also impressively good as well. The characters are good enough for their purpose and the writing is decent. I'd been meaning to read it for years and it lived up to high expectations.
A fine little cyberpunk story, though pretty by-the-numbers by today's standards. Vinge gives us a story of a virtual-reality version of the internet that is similar to the Sprawl and the Metaverse, though with a slightly different interface and rationale. In practice, it's not all that different though, there's a bit too much time spent on explaining the technical side of how it works, and the time spent in the fantasy-esque virtual world doesn't add all that much. However, the concern with ano ...more
This is actually pretty good as a story about hackers in a virtual reality. The hackers choose to view the virtual reality as a fantasy world (with magic), although there's actually a lot less of that depicted than I would have thought. Even though it was written in the mid-80's, the descriptions of computation are still decent. James Dashner desperately needs to read this to get a better handle on how to write programming and how someone would describe their experience in a virtual reality befo ...more
At its core, this is a good story. Concepts of AI, virtual reality, and computer-augmented intelligence that would be cliché today were cutting edge when Vinge introduced them here nearly 20 years ago. But I can only recommend this one to well established Vernor Vinge fans. The idea that the human mind would naturally interpret cyberspace as a medieval fantasy world (without any intentional design or construction) is laughable. I didn't find the writing itself to be at all "bad" as some reviewer ...more
A novel about the pscyhedelic internet, cyberspace, before the comparatively drab reality of the World Wide Web became the most common way of interfacing with the ethereal. Though the internet portrayed here is a virtual fantasy landscape, it would be wrong to see only similarities between the world of True Names and MMORPGs such as Everquest or World of Warcraft: True Names offers an alternative vision of what using the internet might have been like, and, to a degree, still is. As Marvin Minsky ...more
Read only "True Names", not the other stories in the collection. It's easy to see this as an archetype for the cyberpunk that was to come (written a couple years before Neuromancer and over a decade before Snow Crash). Nerdy Male Protagonist forced to hack against his will allies with Strong And Impossibly Beautiful Female Character against Some Invisible Enemy. Very inventive, especially considering when it was written. The writing itself is silly and really pretty bad but it moves the plot alo ...more
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 ...moreMore about Vernor Vinge...