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Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge
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Rainbows End (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Vernor Vinge

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2,121783,090 (3.57)57
Member:InigoMontoya
Title:Rainbows End
Authors:Vernor Vinge
Info:Tor Books (2007), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:Main, Fiction

Work details

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (2006)

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» See also 57 mentions

English (76)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Near-future novel set in 2025. Augmented reality - implemented by smart clothing and contact lenses - has become ubiquitous, but is also a tool for controlling others. Noah Smith sold this book as being about future labor markets where seniority rules do not apply and older people must go back to high school, but to me it was mostly a confusing mix of conspiracies, literature nostalgia and family affairs. It did not catch me. ( )
  ohernaes | Jun 20, 2014 |
A fun look at a possible future that seems eerily possible. ( )
  chaosmogony | Apr 27, 2013 |
I remember hearing a lot about this, somewhere, at some point, so I picked it up in the library. I was rather bored in the first fifty pages, but decided to keep on going to a hundred pages and see if I could get on with it once the plot got going. But it's so heinously slow, and Robert Gu's mind is not one I want to be familiar with -- his obsession with his granddaughter being overweight, in the early chapters, and the sentence, "It was hard to dominate people when you didn't know what they were talking about." Not a person I can get on with, even as a character in a novel. And then there's the dismissal of ebooks stuff going on, which as the daughter of someone who can only read ebooks comes like a slap in the face.

The technology and so on is interesting, but not that different to a lot of what's out there in cyberpunk and even mainstream spec-fic. It feels somehow dated, already, even though it was first published in 2006. And the prose is, oh my goodness, boring doesn't cover it. Stultifying is a nice word that just about does it. There was nothing there which -- for me anyway -- elevated it even above the level of Dan Brown, for goodness sake. Well, at least Dan Brown is readable.

There's a scene where Robert Gu is eating, and all the food seems tasteless to him. That's what I make of this novel, pretty much.

It seems to be a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it novel, judging from the spread of reviews I glanced over when deciding whether to continue. I'm in the latter camp, I fear, and won't spend any more time on it. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Now and then there comes a book that takes you out of the mundane and ordinary, even for a highly visionary genre as science fiction, and drops you into a new reality, redefining expectations and reigniting hope that maybe there is something to look forward with written novels.

For me, these books were [b:Ringworld|61179|Ringworld (Ringworld series, Book 1)|Larry Niven|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170563307s/61179.jpg|924711], [b:Neuromancer|22328|Neuromancer|William Gibson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255932094s/22328.jpg|909457], [b:Snow Crash|830|Snow Crash|Neal Stephenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1157396730s/830.jpg|493634], [b:Accelerando|17863|Accelerando|Charles Stross|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255812584s/17863.jpg|930555]. And now this Hugo winner from Vernor Vinge. Yes, the book is hard to get through but only because it's forcing you to think in new ways. In terms of what it has to say about the future, Vinge resonates with how I feel and what I see around me. This is a new form of cyberpunk, more like geriatro-punk, but mind-bending just the same, and carried on the same gritty cloth of a harsh reality - aging.
( )
  ricaustria | Apr 5, 2013 |
A lot of hard science and world-building anchors this novel in the near future--an as-yet-unreached future, but one that's plausibly at hand. Robert Gu is an enjoyable protagonist and his actions, including a variety of betrayals he perpetuates, make sense in relation to his character and the events he's experienced. The book provides a good example of relationships between small, local phenomena and the larger-world perturbations and repercussions that follow from them.

Action lags somewhat in the middle but picks back up, including a clash of belief circles that has the buildup of Stephenson's [b:Snow Crash|830|Snow Crash|Neal Stephenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320544000s/830.jpg|493634] without that book's disappointing slump. Some loose ends are acceptable, such as Lena's lack of reply to Robert, whereas others such as many unanswered questions about Alice's abilities, reasons for keeping Robert around, JITT status, etc. are not. Rabbit's identity is not revealed and thus he/it is left a disappointing deus ex machina. Here's hoping for a sequel to wrap up some egregiously loose threads in an otherwise fine and engaging story. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (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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Epigraph
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:57 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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