Pam's Reviews > Rainbows End

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
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's review
Mar 28, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, fiction, favorites
Read in February, 2008

Ever wonder what it will feel like in 2025 - just before the predicted singularity? Well Vinge takes you on a disconcerting, roller coaster ride through the future. A recovering Alzheimer patient (wonders of future medicine) is trying to learn to live again in a world that he doesn't recognize. His pre-teen granddaughter is the most facile with the technology; she, like everyone else, wears her technology in her clothes and contacts. Literally you become one with your computer allowing it to transport you around the world virtually. Your avatar becomes more of an expression of who you are than your physical self. In this world of continuous and instantaneous technology, your skill in whatever you do is enhanced when you are one with the technology.

A formerly brilliant poet, Gu is required to start again in the remedial classes at the high school. He is drawn into a plot to protest the destruction of books in the UCSD library. However the plot is much more nefarious than what it appears, it is the cover for plot to keep a deadly biological weapon project secret.

Vinge, who won the Hugo for Rainbow's End, is brilliant in devising a character who has been out of it for so long that he doesn't understand the world; much in the same way if we were to be transported from the present to 2025. It is a book about future shock and it took me 50 or so pages to become comfortable with being disoriented. Although I became familiar with Vinge's technology and world, he wrote in such a way to make me realize that I was a stranger in a strange land the entire time. It also made me realize that the rate of change is going to make us all feel future shock in profound and pervasive ways.

I read most of this book on my iPhone using the web page Vinge made available.

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