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Marooned in Realtime (Across Realtime #2)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  3,997 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
Multiple Hugo Award winner Vernor Vinge takes readers on a fifty-million-year trip to a future where humanity's fate will be decided in a dangerous game of high-tech survival.

In this taut thriller, a Hugo finalist for Best Novel, nobody knows why there are only three hundred humans left alive on the Earth fifty million years from now. Opinion is fiercely divided on whether
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 2004 by Tor Books (first published 1986)
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Accelerando by Charles StrossA Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor VingeDiaspora by Greg EganPermutation City by Greg EganThe Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect by Roger    Williams
Transhumanist Books
14th out of 107 books — 116 voters
Dune by Frank HerbertEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Best Science Fiction
394th out of 2,173 books — 3,421 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 16, 2007 Sam rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: scifi fans
Shelves: fiction
This was a fantastic little book. Curious - i was taken in by a little glitch in the system because in our library catalog, the book has a pub date of 2006, which i completely believed, all through the book. Actually, it was written in 1986, prior to many of the most significant developments of the internet age. Yet Vinge's predictions as to the development of technology over the course of time seemed right on track. Part of the history of the story involves a war that took place in 1997 - a fac ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Brad rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, loved all the far-future implications of bobbles. The plot is a high-tech mystery/adventure set fifty million years in the future and Vinge keeps you on your toes.
May 03, 2008 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Vernor Vinge, but - having said that - I was disappointed when I first read The Peace War. Marooned in Real Time is set in the same universe as The Peace War, but is a far better piece; Vinge returns to his style of big ideas and detailed exploration of technology and its implications for human society. It combines a post-apocalyptic-survivor and a detective-murder-mystery story to very pleasing results.
May 27, 2008 Rushabh rated it really liked it
Great fiction from an accomplished writer. It is not a Fire Upon The Deep, but it is still an extremely compelling and rather fast read. Armchair detective novel - except with statis based time travel.
Feb 17, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2009 Raja99 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover-v
Why I Reread This Book: I enjoyed rereading The Peace War for the SFDG.

Wow. An amazing work indeed.

The Bobble series (for want of a better label) consists of The Peace War, a novella titled "The Ungoverned", and the present book. I reread "The Ungoverned" just before this, and I'm glad I did; it introduces the protagonist, Wil Brierson.

When I first read this book, which I believe I did shortly after it first was first published, I loved it for the ideas but didn't see it as strongly connected
Feb 22, 2010 David rated it liked it
I clicked on 3 stars for the rating, but it deserves a bit more than that.

The book has interesting portrayals of how different groups of people might perceive and choose to exist in a far future.

I had a number of reservations about it. First, I read it as part of Across Realtime (an omnibus of The Peace War, The Ungoverned and Marooned In Realtime). Each of the works in omnibus had some threads connecting them to the other, but I didn't think they made a cohesive unit. Rightly or wrongly, I was
Jun 22, 2010 Richard rated it liked it
Recommended to Richard by:
Definitely should be read with — and after — the somewhat better The Peace War , which takes place in the same timestream and introduces some elements important to this book. The novella The Ungoverned (online here) connects that earlier book and introduces the central character used here. All three are in the compendium Across Realtime .

This one is a detective story that takes place in the far, far distant future, long after most of humanity has mysteriously disappeared. The surviving remnant
Oct 10, 2010 Isk rated it it was amazing
One-sentence summary:
A singular whodunit: in a world where only 300 or so humans remain, someone is sabotaging plans to revive the human race.

Wil Brierson, previously the hero/policeman in The Ungoverned, has been bobble-shanghaied 10,000 years into a future where only several hundred humans remain (because of alien invasion? human warfare? ecological collapse? the Singularity?). When one of the high-tech leaders of a project to rebuild the human race, Marta Korolev, is murdered (by stra
Nov 04, 2011 Roger rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
It is ironic that I read the The Peace War by Vinge so that I could read this book, a sequel, because I heard that this book was great. But I liked the Peace War much more. You could call them the Bobble series. Marooned was interesting, and I think I would read it again if I could go back in time. The use of bobbles was extremely imaginative. But the story was a bit flimsy, and the characters were not really developed. I felt like I hardly knew the villains, and they were interchangeable. Never ...more
Patrick Gibson
Jan 24, 2011 Patrick Gibson rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Taking place 50 million years after The Singularity -- a point in the 23rd century in which most of humanity disappears mysteriously -- The Peace War's sequel, Marooned in Realtime, centers around a murder mystery. Who killed one of the few remaining humans left on Earth by stranding the person outside of the bobbles -- a spherical stasis field in which time stops -- inside which everyone else was letting the centuries slip by?

‘Marooned in Realtime’ is probably the equal of its predecessor, The
David Nichols
Oct 28, 2015 David Nichols rated it it was amazing
Other reviewers on this site have done a fine job describing the plot of this seminal book. I would instead like to provide links to a short essay I recently wrote about the intellectual path that took author Vernor Vinge to his discovery of the "Singularity," a concept he first popularized in this novel:

I've also composed a timeline of the events in MAROONED IN REALTIME, THE PEACE WAR, and "The Ungoverned," which appears here:
Mar 26, 2011 Andreas rated it it was amazing
This novel is published both as a singleton and in the omnibus edition Across Realtime together with its prequel The Peace War.

The sequel to “The Peace War” jumps 50 million years into the future. The 300 remaining humans travel forward through the eons with Bobbles, the invulnerable stasis fields introduced in “The Peace War”. One of them is left behind. The only remaining cop in the world must solve the mystery of why she had to die marooned in “realtime” while the rest jumped ahead in time. T
Greg Curtis
Aug 14, 2011 Greg Curtis rated it really liked it
The sequel to the peace war, this is very definately a different book to it.

In the Peace War Vinge introduced us to the bobble and showed how it completely transformed / destroyed society. In Marooned, that entire episode in human history has gone, and we are now travelling with a bunch of survivors from and Earth that was destroyed in some mysterious fashion (none of the survivors know how), towards an unknown future using the same technology as a lifeboat.

In the midst of this, as people bobbl
Tudor Ciocarlie
Dec 21, 2011 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it it was amazing
Only three hundred humans left on earth. A murder mystery across fifty million years. A meditation on deep time and evolution, on civilization and intelligence.

What more could you want?

A very good book.
Oct 01, 2011 Christopher rated it liked it
Vernor Vinge's MAROONED IN REALTIME is a murder mystery set in a strange far-future earth. Not long after our time, scientists had discovered a way to create "bobbles", indestructible stasis fields in which time doesn't pass. (For science-fiction aficionados, these are similar to the Slaver stasis fields in Larry Niven's Known Space books.) Bobbles were used to send a variety of people into the future: investors who wanted to "instantly" get rich by taking advantage of centuries of economic grow ...more
Jonathan Palfrey
Sep 16, 2014 Jonathan Palfrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top11
If you read this book as a vision of the future, as I do, it's a powerful and exciting story, full of imagination and the sense of wonder.

If you read it as a whodunnit that happens to be set in the future, it's not a particularly good whodunnit, and there's a lot of other stuff going on that you may consider irrelevant distraction. The author wanted to tell us a story of the future, and threw in a murder to liven up the plot. Crime isn't his main preoccupation.

In writing this story, I think Ving
Apr 05, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it
Wil Brierson is a detective, maybe the last one. Sometime in the twenty-second century, every human on Earth disappeared. The only ones left are those who were, at the time, encased in "bobbles", spheres of absolute stasis that many used to jump ahead through the years... and there are only a few hundred people left, trying to build what society they can by jumping further and further ahead to collect more stragglers. Nobody knows what happened to the rest. But that's not Wil's case. Nor is it h ...more
K. Blaha
Dec 04, 2013 K. Blaha rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
A great far-future sequel to The Peace War, set 50 million years in the future. If you like other Vinge stuff, you'll probably like this, and it's a lot shorter than some of his things. I recommend reading The Peace War first, although I think I like this book slightly better. There are some references back to the characters in the first book and a novella written between the two, which got a little annoying eventually. Also, I am not sure if the ubiquitous bobbles and their governing rules woul ...more
Jennifer Mcgown
Feb 20, 2013 Jennifer Mcgown rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Marooned in Realtime. The premise is that time travel is possible, but only in one direction - forward. The mechanism is called bobbling and it puts a whole area and everything inside it in statis . The statis area is protected by a non-permeable bubble that has a mirror finish. The technology in this world has been around since the early 2050s. It has been used by various people to escape their present fates, make money or to get rid of people. At the present is this book, the ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing
The plot of this book is imaginative and thrilling. Humans have invented a way to advance themselves forward in time for however long they wish, bringing with them as much or as little as they want. This leads to murder mystery #1: the victim is 99.9% of the human race. When a group of long-term "bobblers" come out of stasis, they find that at some point in the 23rd century, most of humanity disappeared without a trace. As they work to gather up the remaining bobbled survivors - in the process, ...more
Parth Bhatt
Jan 01, 2015 Parth Bhatt rated it it was amazing
Marooned in Realtime is a well written Sci-Fi murder mystery based in an era 50 million years from now. In this novel, Vernor Vinge presents an unconventional view of rather conventional Sci-Fi ideas like time travel, technological singularity, immortality etc. And he does so as innovatively as convincingly.

There are only about 300 humans left on Earth and there are mixed opinions about what may have happened that led to the disappearance of mankind. This is an era when human beings can travel,
Malcolm Little
Jul 09, 2015 Malcolm Little rated it liked it
The sequel to Peace War takes the idea of bobbles to a whole new level of execution, while simultaneously taking humanity to a whole new level of time travel. The scope of Marooned is huge, nothing less than the eons of time, where even the tectonic plates readjust Earth into new continental puzzle pieces.

And this book certainly is a puzzle, both in theme and in quality. Whereas any discussions or explanations of the bobble technology is well achieved by Vinge, I found the narrative rushing thro
Jul 13, 2015 Tfitoby rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, whodunnit
Sharing a fair similarity in style and content to Asimov's classic Robots of Dawn, a far future human colony requires a famous detective to investigate the murder of one of their founders and is loosely partnered with a nine thousand year old partner. It meanders a bit but has a lot of interesting world descriptions, the characters are not exactly rounded but the protagonist is at least interesting. Vinge merges the golden age mystery with far future science fiction very well but I found myself ...more
This one hit the sweet spot for me. An imaginative tale of desperate missions of individual lives colliding with the compelling need to work collaboratively to save the human race, all placed in the frame on an unusual murder mystery.

Vinge had already used the concept of stasis fields, called bobbles, as a one-way time machine to the future to good effect in his “The Peace War”. The plot there involved a government, the Peace Federation, taking over by bobbling up armies, nukes, government head
Mar 08, 2016 Brendan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After finishing The Peace War I dived into this - its sequel - immediately. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping for more of the same.

Inevitably, I was disappointed.

Marooned in Real Time is extremely similar to Dan Simmons' Olympos, his follow up to Illium. In both cases, the second-half of a duology falls short of the promise of the first-half. What's more, in both cases the story focuses on a small group of humans left trying to survive on an inexplicably deserted Earth with only
Dec 29, 2015 Laurie rated it liked it
Vinge #4 for me, and the first one that did not wow or impress. Yes, I enjoyed reading the story, but it was a short, not as intricately melded tale – rather than the more deeply entwined stories to which I'm accustomed. This was the follow up to the first Vinge book I read, THE PEACE WAR.

With that said, this book focused on The Singularity – a term I believe coined by Vinge (and for which there is now a conference that Chris F attended!) I am not entirely sure what the singularity is – in the s
Apr 05, 2016 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-book-club
This book packed a ton of ideas into it about a pretty cool and interesting hypothetical future, all fit within the constraints of a basic murder-mystery. (I am writing this review post-sci-fi book club, so apologies for any ideas I have accidentally stolen from that discussion.)

The idea is essentially time travel, but the time travel only goes in one direction. People are placed into "bobbles" that suspend people's aging as time moves forward. Thankfully, the mechanics of this fictional technol
Jonathan S. Harbour
Sep 22, 2016 Jonathan S. Harbour rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I just can't take it any more, just bad writing and such a stupid series of nonsensical scenes. How does crap like this get published? And favored by the scifi "elites"? DNF. But after the painfully long slog to get half thru this, I'm giving myself a "read" on this one. I was curious how the future unfolded but was not willing to slog to it at i skipped ahead.
Sep 17, 2016 Ian rated it really liked it
What a great Whodunnit! The ending didn't *quite* do it for me, but maybe that's because I demand unsubtle resolution from every book except Infinite Jest.

Ok, good manners require a SPOILER tag here:
I'm pretty sure that Our Hero's wife ascended the Godhead or whatever Singularity-speak is appropriate, and is involved periodically through the story, at the very least in the form of the final dream sequence. But I am also not great at piecing together implicit stuff like that in books.

So really I
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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
More about Vernor Vinge...

Other Books in the Series

Across Realtime (2 books)
  • The Peace War (Across Realtime, #1)

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