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True Names

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  188 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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
Paperback, 153 pages
Published December 15th 1984 by Bluejay Books
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Community Reviews

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Mar 01, 2015 E rated it really liked it
Shelves: space-future
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
Jun 02, 2012 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, z-2012
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.

Rating: PG
Feb 25, 2015 Pete rated it really liked it
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.
T Worwood
Apr 09, 2015 T Worwood rated it really liked it
Published in 1981, Vinge's vision of the future of technology is again amazingly accurate. the story is short and interesting.
Vivs L
Oct 31, 2013 Vivs L rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books, early exploration of cyberspace before the whole cyberpunk movement really took hold
Jul 20, 2011 Ramesh rated it it was amazing
While noticeably dated, this story is still excellent.
Apr 15, 2015 Bbrown rated it liked it
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
Jan 05, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2011 Jason rated it liked it
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
Printable Tire
Jul 26, 2012 Printable Tire rated it it was ok
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
Jack Hwang
Sep 01, 2015 Jack Hwang rated it really liked it
A future cyber age that uses Fantasy symbolism plus global cyber war plus species evolution through technology. Vinge mixed all these elements seamlessly into this novella that has all what are needed for a cyberpunk. The rest is history.
Aug 07, 2015 Kfhoz rated it really liked it
This book broke new ground, and was mind-expander when these ideas were new. A 5-star back in it's day, but more recent books have taken this type of theme forward.
Jan 05, 2011 Kyle rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Nov 24, 2012 Phil rated it liked it
Not the "be all-end all" my hubby claimed. I must have missed the window of opportunity for this one to be relevant.
Jul 04, 2011 Marsha added it
Shelves: sci-fi
Besides horrible illustrations, story was really provocative, esp given that was written in 84.
Sep 30, 2012 Matthew rated it liked it

I liked the first 3 stories. I think they were clever concepts.
Nov 17, 2012 Shelby added it
loved it
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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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“[He] was an insect wandering in the cathedral his mind had become.” 6 likes
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