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The Peace War

(Across Realtime #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,253 ratings  ·  185 reviews
The Peace War is quintessential hard-science adventure. The Peace Authority conquered the world with a weapon that never should have been a weapon--the "bobble," a spherical force-field impenetrable by any force known to mankind. Encasing governmental installations and military bases in bobbles, the Authority becomes virtually omnipotent. But they've never caught Paul Hoeh ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Tor Books (first published 1984)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,253 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I almost pushed this one down to a three star rating on my reread, but by the end I got over the mildly racist overtones against hispanics and blacks and got into the actual war effort.

Honestly, even though this is definitely SF with all its discussion of high-tech versus slightly lower-tech population, it actually reads like an OLD STYLE fantasy, complete with old wizard and an underprivileged apprentice siding with the underdog portion of society, the "Tinkers", against the Peace Authority, w
Mark Pantoja
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: okay-sci-fi, reviewed
Where to begin. I love Vernor Vinge. Fire Upon The Deep, Deepness In The Sky, I'm not going to say they are masterpieces, but they deliver such great ideas that whatever problems the stories had mechanically (2 dimensional characters, wonky plots, horrible dialogue), just got buried under the scope and wonder. Not so much with The Peace War.

First, it's pretty laughable that his set up is that a bunch of administrators from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, what he calls the Lawrence Enclav
Jun 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Solid science fiction novel with both post-apocalyptic and dystopia themes. Vinge crafts a compelling, tyrannical "post-war" society based in California where self-appointed peace keepers use absolute power to repress development and use of weapons technology. Written during the cold war, the novel explores the logical conclusion of US imperial designs - a benign empire that uses power only for the good of humanity (e.g., spread of democracy, development of pre-capitlist economies, etc.). The U. ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Easy, linear, plotted formula, this milSF thriller type tale of generic style actually kept my attention better than most easy, linear, formula SF novels. I must have been in the right mood for it.
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 5/5

This was an entertaining read on multiple levels. The highlight of the book is definitely in the area of creativity. This was an imaginative and original future that was a delight to explore. This was done through an engaging worldbuilding reveal, and Vinge was adept with this technique. I personally like tales like this, where events and circumstances are alien and unfamiliar, with clues indicating that the world is different from the one
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Maybe 2 stars is too harsh for a Hugo Nominated Classic of Science-Fiction, but I'm getting sick of books of good ideas by authors that can't write a character to save their Hugo Nominated lives.

I'm coming off a string of "good books" including 'Ready Player One', Justin Cronin's 'Passage" and Hugh Howley's 'Wool' that each fall into the category of great idea, mediocre execution (in the case of 'Ready Player One' absolutely dreadful execution). None of these authors knows how to make one chara
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: trade
This is the first Vinge book I've read. He is reputed as being a talented writer and am looking forward to exploring his work. I first heard of him when I saw this novel in the hands of a co-worker many years ago. I had just gotten bitten by the SF book bug at the time and though I had immersed myself deeply in the Astounding Golden Age greats such as Heinlein, van Vogt, Asimov and such, and felt not quite ready for the more current writers of the genre. All I recalled of his comments on the nov ...more
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
While not Vinge's most impressive novel (I'll give ‘A Fire Upon the Deep' that designation), The Peace War is a very competent, effective post-apocalyptic/science fiction novel.
Some years ago, at the outbreak of international war, someone invented the ‘bobble' – spherical containment fields which could eliminate threats by creating an unbreakable barrier around a weapon, or battalion...
The war was terribly destructive anyway, and now a level of reduced technology is enforced by mob-style governm
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jo-waltons-rec
I liked this even better than the Zones of Thought series. Strange, mind blowing post-apocalyptic world, great characters and a fascinating exploration of what it means to control time and technology.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is the second novel I've read from Vernor Vinge (after the much superior Fire Upon the Deep), and like in that previous book, the story really takes a while to get going. While in Fire Upon the Deep the story finally becomes engaging after about a 100 pages, here it never really gelled for me, even when all the pieces were in place. The main conceit is interesting - Vinge strength is obviously in his concepts and ideas - but I remained mostly cold towards the characters and their plight. Th ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I used to read a lot of science fiction, then I got tired of reading bad science fiction and it soured me on the genre for a while. About five years ago, I picked up John Scalzi's Old Man's War, and that got me interested in the genre again. A friend recommended Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" books, and I tore through those. That led me to Vernor Vinge's "Zones of Thought" books: A Fire Upon the Deep and its sequel A Deepness in the Sky, and I loved them.

Perhaps because Reynolds' writing
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
A quick read, this novel reveals the setting slowly, and I won't spoil that here. Suffice to say it is set in the area of California in an authoritarian near future. The tale is told from the perspectives of multiple characters, each also developed slowly. Very much a case of a rebellion against the authority.

It also has other aspects of Campbell's hero quest - the kid, the mentor, mundane vs special worlds, etc. One of the main characters is a young minority, the other a strong female pilot. Wr
Lukas Vermeer
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Bobbles? Bobbles?! Bobbles, bobbles, bobbles!
Michael Smith
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cool underlying plot vehicle. Neat story. Liked the book
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I recently read the fantastic A Deepness in the Sky and the very good A Fire upon the Deep, both science fiction novels of breathtaking vision and imagination, and maybe that's to blame for The Peace War leaving me so underwhelmed. I was most definitely not sufficiently whelmed.

That isn't to say that The Peace War is a bad story or uninteresting in its ideas. Most people tend to focus on the central "bobble" force-field technology, which a conspiracy of bureaucrats used to usurp all world govern
Bill Denney
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
The premise of "The Peace War" seemed to have a lot of potential -- the Peace Authority government entity, the bobble weapon, the Tinkers -- but Venor Vinge's delivery failed to live up to that potential.

Vinge effectively bobbled any character development. Paul should have been the most interesting, rounded, studied character in the story (considering he was integral to the bobble technology), but the reader is left with scant few details of his life, which surely must have been pretty amazing.

Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Cold War classic science-fiction
Recommended to Lord_Humungus by: myself
Review in English (not my mother tongue) and Spanish (below).

Another great novel by Vinge, whatever they say.

Good points:

-The technology that serves as the basis for the plot is super-cool. The "bobbles" are impenetrable spherical force fields that can be generated by spending a certain amount of energy. On the outside they look like perfect spherical mirrors, because light bounces on them. Nothing can pass through the wall of a bobble, neither matter nor energy. Only gravity affects them, but n
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Sort of a parallel version of Joe Haldemen's "Forever Peace," "The Peace War" is another example of what happens when academics go to war. In this case, a rogue outfit of scientists discover a way to make war impossible, and arise like Praetorians and assume world control. This understandably angers a lot of people, and while most don't care, it's a lot of the former scientists who are out of a job, advanced energy and pharmacological research is banned, and they become tough enemies to keep. It ...more
Jay Babcock
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
An enjoyable yarn, and a cool concept. The plot's Cold War origin is apparent -- which is instructional for readers who enjoy the "future of the past" -- but several glaring plot holes tarnish the professionalism of this veteran writer's delivery. For instance, the Tinkers gain insight into relativistic effects of the interiors of the bobbles, a secret not known to the Peace Authority; yet in the climactic battle, both sides use this knowledge in their strategizing.

More pros:
• kudos to Vinge f
Shlomi Zilberman
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Good hard SF novel
The best reason I would say this is a worth read, is that it is a requisite for reading the sequel, which is a lot better. Generally, the technological ideas here are far superior to the plot-line build and character development, even though the plot does keep you on your toes. it is an interesting and fun read, recommended.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Finished faster than I expected, lots of action and some interesting science, can't wait to see where some of the ideas lead as the series continues. Don't want to say much because virtually everything about this book is a spoiler.

Recommendation from a new doc at work who is a hard science geek.
Apr 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An earlier book by Vernor Vinge. The characters are not very convincing, but I liked the idea of the so called "bobbles". Nice exploration of the social impact of such an invention. ...more
Nathan Lowell
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading this on Kindle - Not sure what the file is but it's got some technical issues with corrupted characters in the font and a very odd page layout.
A friend loaned this to me to read back when it first came out; he thought I might like it. So on a whim I picked it up to reread it and see how it has fared over time. I can't say I really liked it but a 2-star is much to low, so my original rating stays the same.

The basic gist is that a group of government scientists discover a means to project a forcfield of sorts they call a 'bobble' around objects. Seen as a great defensive weapon at first [bobble an incoming nuke for protection], they soon
Sasha S
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Another not too bad book by Vinge, and if you liked his previous works you probably will enjoy this one, too... except, if you are tired of some of his signature story elements. And by that I mean, again we have a kid as the main hero of the story. (view spoiler) ...more
MisterLiberry Head
As the history of the Cold War shows, development of a horrifying new weapon can be used to enforce a kind of world peace, even if more than one government possesses the technology. In THE PEACE WAR, a government contractor develops and deploys a previously unimagined mechanism powered by nuclear reactors. With the ability to far-cast an impenetrable, entrapping force-field, the bureaucrats can require conventional governments to stand down and yield to a corporate board of directors. Just as an ...more
Kumari de Silva
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this book in order to understand better its sequel "Marooned in Real Time." Truth is, it doesn't reveal much. This book introduces the politics that continue in the second book and introduces the technology of "bobbling." In this book (not really a spoiler) the technology is very primitive, by the second book it is crazy advanced and most of the development of bobbles is left out of the story. You just have to accept them as fact and go with 'em.

With both books I felt the politics bogged
V Nash
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
An exciting story set in 2050 where one entity, the Peace Authority, controls the world. The world population has been reduced to 100 million due to biological warfare. All major governments have collapsed. Besides the peace authority the people still alive live under small local factions. The peacers maintain a world order with a weapon called the bobble, but let the various factions rule locally.

The peacers ensure peace but not all is well. Their method to ensure peace is to suppress tech and
Marty Fried
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobooks
I've enjoyed all of the Vernor Vinge books I've read. They are always a bit different, and very imaginative. But he manages to draw me in and make the stories seem real, even when they are about dog-like people who can only exist as groups forming a single entity.

This one, the first of a series of 2 or 3 (evidently, the 2nd is not really an important part of the series) was a bit more conventional, but still very interesting. It's a post-apocalyptical story of a world that is politically very di
Jamie Rich
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Peace War (Across Realtime, #1) by Vernor Vinge

Originally published in 2003, this novel is still a great example of hard SciFi. The characters are multi dimensional, and well textured. And yes, the drive the plot, and drive it well. Plus we have the BDO (Big Dumb Object) to contend with.
Our heroes are an unlikely band of survivors, that come from various pasts. But Paul, in particular, has a fifty year grudge to settle, and oh yeah, destroy the current world domination scheme. Part of his
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Alternate Realiti...: bobbles and such 3 10 Jun 27, 2016 09:08AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Across Realtime (2 books)
  • Marooned in Realtime (Across Realtime, #2)

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