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True Names

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  38 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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Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Roman True Names se smatra začetnikom cyberpunk žanra. Vinge je ovaj roman napisao 1981., tri godine prije kultnog Neuromancera Williama Gibsona i dvije godine prije kratke priče Cyberpunk Bruca Bethkea gdje se izraz prvi put i pojavljuje.

Radnja je smještena u svijet nama bliske budućnosti gdje mnoge državne i financijske poslove obavljaju samostalna računala. FBI otkriva glavnog lika, "kompjuterskog čarobnjaka" koji radi sitne prekršaje u virtualnoj stvarnosti i regrutiraju ga da im pomogne u o
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Originally published as a novella in 1981, this version of True Names contains illustrations by Bob Walters and an afterword by Marvin Minsky. I read this back in 1984, and really enjoyed re-reading it on a plane flight across the country. Recommended!

While some of the tech is a little dated, Vinge keeps it mostly in the background. At one point, the protagonist utilizes other computers to increase his "power" online, and this is not so different from networked computers participating in a DDOS
My first Vinge, even if A Fire Upon the Deep is still waiting to be read as well. 'True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier' is a re-release of Vinge's same-titled novella, caught between introductions, essays, and an afterword.

The introduction of this edition is by Hari Kunzru, whom I've never heard of, to be honest. He gives a bit of background on the novella and the period in which is was written. Editor James Frenkel reminisces about his time as Vinge's editor at Tor Books and
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space-future, 2015
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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z-2012, sci-fi
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 24, 2015 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.
Vivs L
Oct 31, 2013 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 rated it it was amazing
While noticeably dated, this story is still excellent.
T Worwood
Apr 09, 2015 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.
A.N. Mignan
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Why have I not heard of True Names before? It’s a Ready Player One cocktail with a zest of Tron, or vise versa, and to me, the gem of the cyberpunk genre. Why does everyone always refer to Neuromancer or Snow Crash as the earliest/best in the genre? True Names predates both. It has a vintage cachet that kids from the 1980s will love while being up-to-date and even prescient about the importance of data on the society of the Future. The digital world described as a fantasy world (with magics, cas ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting to start reading the novel at page 190. Until then there are a series of articles to introduce the theme a set up the mood. I honestly can't tell if I enjoyed the articles more than the novel. The article on remailers was amazing!
Having been in contact the works such as The Matrix, Strange Days, eXistenZ, Tron, etc, the universe presented by True Names doesn't have the wow effect it must have had in 1981. Overall the novel is enjoyable.
I might read another novel by Vernor Ving
Ed Terrell
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-fiction
A must read for anyone interested in science fiction preceding reality. "True Names" was written in 1980 so it predates Gibson's "Neuromancer" (another must read). How do we imagine things that do not yet exist? Characters predate the Matrix like environment by about twenty years. So if you want to keep your thumb on the pulse of the future, read the writings of those whose best works are dated in the pre- machine learning, pre Facebook and pre Internet past. Kudos for those who figure out who t ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable, though the illustrations were dated and didn't match the descriptions at times, it mostly made the story funnier.
Overall very impressed with the way the story has aged. Still pretty relevant and believable today, despite Vinge having noooo way to predict anything close to the internet of today when he wrote this. The alternate reality he composes still manages to feel serious.
Very good read overall.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Stories by Vinge that all engage with ideas around the singularity. The title story is fun, especially if you are familiar with Wizard of Earthsea. The last story is thought provoking. Some of them are kind of silly, but never terrible. I really enjoy his commentary at the beginning/end of stories to introduce them and provide some insight into his influences and thinking.
Peter Birdsall
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
The granddaddy of cyberpunk stories. Seminal... if a little goofy/conventional.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
The novella itself by Vernor Vinge is absolutely top notch. The essays that accompany it are, however, a very mixed bag.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Assolutamente visionario per essere stato scritto nel 1981.
Ci si possono ritrovare dei concetti assolutamente attuali, esposti benissimo.

Breve, si legge in mezza giornata.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A good read.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Adam Fisher
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow - absolutely excellent. Rarely is a concept executed so succinctly. Tight writing leads to a surprisingly deep story despite the lack of length.
Diego Flores
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think this is a great novella that feels remarkably complete for the amount of space that he uses. I could see lesser authors spending 500 pages to tell the same story.
Printable Tire
Jul 26, 2012 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
Apr 07, 2011 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
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, bnw, favorites, fantasy
Quick read, but excellent. A cautionary novella that left me thinking and questioning the world in which we live.
Nov 24, 2012 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
Feb 22, 2015 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
Luka Rajčević
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I chose to read this because it was one of the inspiration books for the "Cypherpunks" movement (at least that is what I read somewhere). Knowing that, expectations were a bit high, and unfortunately were not fulfilled. The storyline is really weird, and while some parts are extremely interesting and fun, at times it was very slow and boring.
Tahsin Alam
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't quite know how I was a sci-fi fan (and a computer geek to boot) for such a long time without having read this classic till this year (2016) ... I rate it right up there alongside Dune, Foundation series, best of Heinlein, Ender's Game, ....

But perhaps it was a good thing that I read it only recently - we are now so much closer to the pervasively networked technology dependent world it envisions that it reads now like a slightly caricatured reality-based cautionary tale than the long sho
Nov 28, 2010 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
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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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