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The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,000 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Since his first published story, "Apartness," appeared in 1965, Vernor Vinge has forged a unique and awe-inspiring career in science fiction as his work has grown and matured. He is now one of the most celebrated science fiction writers in the field , having won the field's top award, the Hugo, for each of his last two novels.

Now, for the first time, this illustrious autho
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 17th 2002 by Orb Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Oleksandr Zholud
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of shorter works (from short story to novella size, mostly the later) of award-winning SF author Vernor Vinge. I’ve read it after I enjoyed his Hugo-winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. The collection contains almost all his smaller works written between the mid-60s and 2001. Moreover, each work had his preface and afterthought, which makes it even more interesting.

Here is a list of titles with short synapses with minimum of spoilers:
"Bookworm, Run!
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Steve
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vinge fans
Shelves: fiction
I've been reading Vinge's stories since the mid-80's and this is a really nice compendium of (almost) all of them -- most notably lacking his most famous, "True Names", which apparently the publisher wants to sell on its own for $10.

It's fun to see the short stories that later grew into some of his novels or somehow exist in the same universe: "The Ungoverned" in the world of The Peace War & Marooned in Realtime, "The Blabber" in the Zones of Thought universe ( A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness i
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Tim Martin
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of most of Vinge's short stories and novellas (there are only two omissions, _True Names_ and _Grimm's Story_, the latter of which became the core of one of his novels, _Tatja Grimm's World_, at least as far as I know). The short stories range in dates from the first stories he ever had published, such as _Bookworm, Run!_, copyright 1966 and written while Vinge was a senior in high school, to one written just for this collection, _Fast Times at Fairmont High_, copyrigh ...more
Astroretro
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly mixed collection of stories that I found quite captivating. Vinge is richly imaginative without losing sight of scientific possibility. In each story he tests the boundaries of scientific extrapolation and comes up with some surprising visions of what might lie in our future.

Prior to this collection I had only read "A Fire Upon The Deep" which I enjoyed but had some minor quibbles with. It inspired me however to seek more of his work so I though I might try this one. This book co
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Thom
May 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: anth-coll
Huge fan of True Names; just finished reading an earlier collection (True Names... and Other Dangers). This volume contains all of that, minus True Names itself. Stories later expanded to novels are mixed in with true short stories, and it was a fun read.

"Fast Times at Fairmont High" didn't work for me, but I still intend to read the novel (Rainbows End) at some point. I believe my favorite story from the collection was "Gemstone".
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Guy Haley
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
All the shorter jottings of multiple award-winning Vinge gathered together in on place.

Vernor Vinge is an important novelist, an alumnus of Analog magazine. His work was published by John W Campbell alongside that of Asimov and Clarke, so he is one of those authors who bridge the period between the ‘Golden Age’ and modern SF.

He is not renowned for his short stories, simply because he doesn’t write many of them (see this interview for more on this). Still, there’s plenty to read in this collectio
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Jonathan Palfrey
It's convenient to have most (unfortunately not all) of Vernor Vinge's short fiction together in one place, though I'd prefer to have it arranged in chronological order.

He started off as a writer of short stories, and he says himself that he had difficulty with novels, but I think it's fair to say by now that his novels are more impressive than his short stories. However, his novella "True names" (not included here!) was indeed impressive in 1981, and remains good.

The stories in this volume vary
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Jjohn_galt
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice feature of this anthology is the author's comments on each story - something about the themes he was exploring or the process of writing. The stories themselves are hit or miss. The best are those that are part of (or were the genesis of) his better novels - "The Ungoverned" as an interlude within the series "Across Realtime" or "The Blabber" fitting within the "Fire Upon the Deep" series. Others are disappointing, particularly "The Science Fair" and "Original Sin". Overall, though a dece ...more
Ishmael Soledad
I wanted to like this book, I've enjoyed Vernor Vinge's novels, why didn't this grab me?

I found it tough going at times; not that the writing is difficult or the concepts hard, it just didn't light a fire under me. I think it's about the authors' strength; he's 100% a novel writer, the short stories are undercooked or underdeveloped. And he says as much in the Foreword.

Just not to my taste I'm afraid.
Vincent Hernot
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
There's something really interesting about this volume: the consistency with which Vinge stuck to his ideas and theories.
Fair enough, he did the selecting so obviously that was his objective, but still.
Apart from that, well, Vinge is no stylist really: it's not bad or dull but not very flowing or alive. He clearly is a writer who sees the story as a vehicle for a grander thing: Art at the service of theory, as it were.
So, obviously, the reading can be tough going at times.
Sarah Rigg
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
If I had to describe this in one word: Uneven. I got a little impatient with the stories that were big on ideas but low on character development. However, I liked several stories a lot. My favorites were "The Gemstone", "The Peddler's Apprentice" (co-written with his ex-wife Joan Vinge), "The Blabber" and "The Barbarian Princess."
Bent Andreassen
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 minus.
Most of Vernor Vinges's short stories/novelettes are in this collection. Best are (in my view):
"Bookworm Run!"
The Ungoverned
Long Shot
Apartness
Conquest by Default
Gemstone
Just Peace (m/William Rupp)
The Babbler

Rob Markley
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Did not disappoint. Vinge is one of the best ever Scifi writers held back only by the small number of books written
Dedmanshootn dedmanshootn
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
fine stuff from a seminal sci-fi author.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
This is a collection of Vernor Vinge's short piece from his first published piece in 1965 to a 2001 novella, "Fast Times at Fairmont High" that first appeared here. The only short stories by Vinge written up to publication not included is "True Names" and a story that would later be expanded into Tatja Grimm's World. It suffered a bit from my having just reread the collected stories of Isaac Asimov. I hadn't read those stories for decades, yet often I could remember them as soon as I saw the tit ...more
Peter
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: major Vernor Vinge fans
I'm a big fan of Vinge's novel work, but it's only rarely that I find his work in short story form, so I thought this massive tome was just the thing for me.

And it is pretty valuable, for big fans. You get to see many of his favorite themes pop up, or him toying with an idea that he later turns into a novel. His skill at balancing character and cool ideas also makes huge leaps in his later stories... his earlier ones are a little on the dry side, stilted end of the spectrum (although, to be fair
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John Ostwald
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are some really amazing stories in this collection, though a couple duds as well. Definitely worth a read.
Raj
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Vernor Vinge is probably best known for his theory of the Technological Singularity, which is a point at which Human evolution and development hits exponential change, e.g. due to the development of hard AI or machine/Human integration, and we can't predict anything beyond it. This collection of Vinge's stories runs right from his early work in the '60s right up to the turn of the century and this theme of technological advancement up to Singularity is explored right the way through it. Another ...more
Rebecca
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Vinge has had a fairly lengthy career, and these stories span the breadth of it. Unfortunately, that means that this collection is wildly uneven.

I'm not going to go as far as to say the earlier stories are bad, but they read like exactly what they are: works by an immature writer that easily blended in with all the others in magazines such as Astounding. They're typical of the era--unsophisticated characters, one or two clever conceits that get somewhat overplayed, kind of clunky writing style.
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Alexander
Some reasonably clever ideas behind most of these stories, but the writing was wooden and the characters were paper-thin, as a rule. The better/longer ones were apparently tie-ins to Vinge's novels, and suffer by not standing all that well on their own. "The Blabber", however, was good enough that I'll probably read A Fire Upon The Deep at some point. "The Barbarian Princess" was close behind this, though maybe not good enough to get me to read Tatja Grimm's World.

"Fast Times At Fairmont High" w
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Jason
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a much better review of this book, see what Goodreads user Steve had to say about it.

A must-read for any Vinge fan. These stories repeatedly show that regardless of whether the settings or supporting characters are exceptional or not, Vinge knows how to get inside the heads of the characters that count and write them in a way that you really care about what happens to them. Vinge’s science fiction isn’t just gimmicks; he consistently produces relatable, genuine characters.

I thoroughly enjoye
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Jeff
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Vernor Vinge was an accidental find of mine. I came across A Fire Across the Deep when I was researching Hugo Award winners. I was trapped from there and I loved A Deepness in the Sky even more. Then I read his Across Realtime books and loved them even more. This book of short stories shows where many of these ideas came from, his short works of fiction. I especially love the story Fast Times at Fairmont High, which eventually led to the novel Rainbow's End, a compelling near-future book. Good S ...more
Tim
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, anthology
I had a real hard time getting through this collection. Some of the stories were fun and getting to see the author grow as a writer was really interesting but without a specific theme or a novel length story, I can't seem to keep motivated. The one thing I really did like was getting to read the author's initial thoughts and inspirations for the stories

That being said, if you like short, mostly 60's - 70's era science fiction, this is a great read. It definitely piqued my interest in reading mor
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Kevin Groosalugg
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I've read several Vinge novels and greatly enjoyed most of them. This collection spans his career up to 2001 and includes some very early stories. While it wasn't that bad overall, very few sparked any real interest with me. I would have given it two stars if not for the one original novella, 'Fast Times at Fairmont High'. I enjoyed that one, especially his ideas of a near future, which I found to be realistic and well handled. Unless you are a hardcore Vernor Vinge fan I'd pass on this one.
Cole Tucker
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I've really enjoyed several novel and novella length works of Vinge, and thought this would be great to take on a trip. Not so, in my experience. Short stories don't provide to explore intersections of speculation that Vinge is particularly skilled at.

The kicker for me is that I usually find at least one story in anthologies that I want to recommend to a friend, and there wasn't one. If this had been my introduction to Vinge, I wouldn't have gone on to read any of his other works.
Alexander
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vernor Vinge fans, scifi fans
Shelves: scifi
Vernor Vinge is a wonderful author. While I originally picked this up just to read The Ungoverned, the 2nd story in the Realtime series, I found the majority of pieces in this book to be captivating hard sci-fi, with stories ranging from the fascinating to the disgusting.

All together, a great collection.
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Kip
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Worked through this over a couple months, a collection of 17 short stories. I originally bought this for "The Ungoverned," a short story companion to one of his novels I read. I really appreciated the intro he wrote to each piece, describing his thoughts and environment at the time of original creation.
Kathleen
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Some of the stories I really liked, especially the last one, with the kids hiking around and planting networking/localizing pellets around a park. Other stories were kinda boring - too short and/or too manly (war strategies and whatnot)... I guess I'm partial to Vinge's stories about animals and young people.
Karina
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I only read about half of these stories before I had to return the book, and they were good! I usually prefer longer forms, but I enjoyed these. Maybe some other time I'll check it out again and read the rest.
Ee Mien Low
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This one took a while to wade through, but it's a good collection of Vernor Vinge's earlier work. In particular, The Blabber and Fast Times at Fairmont High show some of the ideas that led to the Zones of Thought series and Rainbows End.
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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 hi ...more

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