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Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
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Rainbows End (2006)

by Vernor Vinge

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,236842,872 (3.55)61
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» See also 61 mentions

English (80)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
I really love 'A Fire Upon the Deep,' and I feel like I keep waiting for Vinge to recreate that, in some form... and it keeps not happening.

I felt like 'Rainbows End' aimed at being a near-future cyber-thriller a la William Gibson - but the 'thrilling' part was missing.

There's a conspiracy to infect the world with some sort of suggestion-susceptibility, which its proponents see as the only way to 'save the world.' There's another group of NSA-types trying to stop the plan, but they don't really know what the plan is. There may be some overlap between the two sides.

Meanwhile, there's a program in place to send rejuvenated old folks to high school to learn new skills which are supposed to help them re-integrate as productive members of society.

And there's a big plan to destructively digitize the libraries of the world...

There are a lot of interesting ideas in the book, but so many aspects of it are just too vague. I think I would've enjoyed it more if it were tightened up; if the reader was given a few more clues as to the goals of each character and what they're working toward. It's very amorphous: "We have to stop... someone... from doing... something." The reader doesn't know enough about what the ramifications might be to take a stance either way... or care.

For a bit I was leaning toward two stars, but it's scraping in at three because there are actually lots of fascinating, thoughtful bits in here on a multitude of topics, especially regarding rapidly changing societies, the intersection (and conjunction) of personality and technology, interpersonal communication and understanding, the nature of talent and genius, etc...

But it still feels oddly out-of-balance... plodding at times, and unsure of whether it wants to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek, or serious drama. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
One of a few stunningly clever near-future sci-fi books that, despite having been written and conceived over a decade ago, is still relevant and ahead of where we are now. The only thing incorrectly assumed is that Terry Pratchett will still be alive in 2016 which adds poignancy. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
This story follows the egotistical protagonist, Robert Gu. Once, he was a renowned poet, but then he developed Alzheimer's. His character was angry and volatile as I know most Alzheimer's patients to go through, since losing one's mind is a bit frustrating. I expected his character to have bad qualities and make him an overall unlikable person. He is mostly unpleasant throughout the book and deeply manipulative to boot.

In this different world, they've found a cure for the disease, and he gets it finding some added bonuses of becoming more youthful. However, there was a cost, especially since his disease was a brain disabling one. He lost his literary ability. Finding himself unable to do what he was used to in a world ruled by technology, he realized his technophobic tendencies. He attends high school again to learn things over, and finds himself in a plot to use the newest technology for mind control.

This is a unique read, if at times difficult, that is funny and also serious. With a virtual rabbit making carrots stick around for weeks that one can't get rid of, to battles for mind control, it's the future one can easily imagine in our current world with all the advances in technology. ( )
  jessica_reads | Mar 24, 2015 |
The story mainly focuses on Professor Robert Gu who was given a new lease on life after being cured of Alzheimer's and old age. He find that he's not the same person he was before and has to catch up with the technology of the day. The world is one of augmented reality writ huge; parks, buildings, everything. Gu, who once prided himself on being a technological ignoramus now has to learn how to navigate this world.Meanwhile, there is a plan to wreak some havoc and intelligence agencies from different parts of the world are teaming up to stop it.

I have to admit, this was much better on the 2nd read. I think I appreciate it more now that I know more of the tech-speak. That is not an indication of the jargon of the book, but the slang and shorthand does get a bit tiring. ( )
  fabooj | Feb 3, 2015 |
There are a whole lot of ideas being thrown around here, and a whole bunch of plot threads left dangling by the end. Overall I thought it was sort of a mess of a book, albeit a fun mess.

I thought there was a missed narrative opportunity with the main character getting treatment that made him appear and feel young again. The fact that he is an old man forced to relearn the world is harped on repeatedly, but the fact that he's an old man in a teenager's body is left unexplored. Oh well, maybe Vinge will use that angle in the clearly envisioned sequel. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vernor Vingeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conger, EricNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To the Internet-based cognitive tools that are changing our lives--Wikipedia, Google, eBay, and the others of their kind, now and in the future
First words
The first bit of dumb luck came disguised as a public embarrassment for the European Center for Defense Against Disease.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812536363, Mass Market Paperback)

Four time Hugo Award winner Vernor Vinge has taken readers to the depths of space and into the far future in his bestselling novels A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. Now, he has written a science-fiction thriller set in a place and time as exciting and strange as any far-future world: San Diego, California, 2025.
 
Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer's patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he's starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts. Living with his son's family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access--through nodes designed into smart clothes--and to see the digital context--through smart contact lenses.
 
With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination.
 
In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert's son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot.
 
As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected. This is science fiction at its very best, by a master storyteller at his peak.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In a near-future western civilization that is threatened by corruptive practices within its technologically advanced information networks, a recovered Alzheimer's victim and his family are caught up in a dangerous maelstrom beyond their worst imaginings.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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