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The Peace War Paperback – December 1, 2003

64 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Peace War Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

After the World Ends

Fifty years before, the "Peace Authority" took control of governments worldwide with a radically different weapon, the "bobbler," which encased its targets within an impenetrable force field, rendering resistance impotent. After the decimation caused by severe plagues, civilization fell into a semifeudal state, and all high technology was banned.

But Paul Naismith, inventor of the bobbler, has never given up hope, and having hidden from the usurpers for decades, he is finally ready to lead the tinker underground against the evil he helped to create. The odds against them seem impossibly long. Nothing has been able to defeat the Peace Authority's bobbler.

Until now . . .

"Combines the tautness of a political thriller with strong characterizations. A suspenseful story."
--Library Journal

"Conveys the excitement of a conceptual breakthrough as well as the gap between theory and actuality."
--Publishers Weekly

"A fascinating scientific concept worked into a colorful, carefully thought-out future."

About the Author

Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including one for each of his last three novels, A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), and Rainbow's End (2006). Known for his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction, he became an iconic figure among cybernetic scientists with the publication in 1981 of his novella "True Names," which is considered a seminal, visionary work of Internet fiction. His many books also include Marooned in Realtime.

Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and raised in Central Michigan, Vinge is the son of geographers. Fascinated by science and particularly computers from an early age, he has a Ph.D. in computer science, and taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for thirty years. He has gained a great deal of attention both here and abroad for his theory of the coming machine intelligence Singularity. Sought widely as a speaker to both business and scientific groups, he lives in San Diego, California.

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Product Details

  • Series: Peace War (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765308835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765308832
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By themarsman on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
Stumbling upon this book in my local library, I decided to once again enter a world created by Vernor Vinge. Several years ago I read both of Vinge's awarding winning books: A Fire Upon the Deep & A Deepness in the Sky. Simply put, I have yet to be disappointed by Vinge.
In The Peace War, a rogue research group, later calling itself the Peace Authority, takes control of the world after perfecting the art of conjuring and projecting bobbles...impenetrable spherical force-fields. Fifty years after they've taken down nearly every national government on the planet by negating the governments' every weapon with the bobble, a rebellion is finally stirring, a rebellion led by Paul Naismith...a Tinker whose mastery of Banned technology (high-tech stuff was banned by the Authority because it presents a threat to the Authority's power...namely the sole proprietorship of the bobble technology) puts Naismith in the perfect position to help bring about an end (with the help of his fellow Tinkers) to the Peace Authority's tyrannical rule. But Naismith is an elderly man (around 80), and knows his time is waning. Because of this, Naismith takes on an apprentice, someone he can pass his Tinker secrets heir. He chooses (or has thrust upon him, depending on the point of view) Wili Wachendon...for most intents and purposes a thief...but also a mathematical genesis of the highest caliber -- once Naismith instructs him on some fundamentals anyway. Naismith and Wachendon, along with their Tinker friends and a few others, ultimately confront the Peace Authority on their own more ways than one...where nothing short of the fate of the world lies in the hands of Naismith, Wachendon, and their friends.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a HUGE fan of "A Fire Upon the Deep" and "A Deepness in the Sky", but this book doesn't measure up. It's got an interesting idea (if implausible), but nowhere near what Vinge came up with for his other two books.

I also found the characters a bit thin. Paul, Wili, and the rest just don't seem real to me. I don't have a sense of how these people got to where they are now. So, Paul is a genius, and has something to do with the origins of the bobbles. Great, but what happened to him in the 50 years that the bobbles have been around? How did he get to where he is? Unanswered questions.

Overall, I'd skip this and stick with the other two books I mentioned.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert K. Crockett on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Vinge, and I thought this book was really good, though not at the same level as "Fire on the Deep" or "Deepness in the Sky".

As a scientist, I have to admit that I really liked the idea of scientists forcing peace on the world through their inventions. And, no doubt, it would be a disaster if this were to occur in real life...

The only quip I have with the book is that none of the characters were very compelling, due to a lack of development. Superior character development is one of the biggest reasons why I would recommend reading "Fire" and "Deepness" before this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RenaissanceMan TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Vernor Vinge is an extremely talented writer and mathematician. I say he's a very talented writer because he writes detailed, deep, believable characters that you can relate to very well and he introduces mathematics into his writing.

This is one of two books that I know of that deal with a mathematical concept that Vinge invented called the "BOBBLE." In the not so far future, some scientists discover that using novel technologies and lots of power they can create these things called bobbles which are giant bubbles that can be used to encapsulate cars, cities, pretty much anything. The bobbles are roughly spherical aberrations of space time - nothing can get inside a bobble and nothing can get out, not light, not air, not a nuclear blast -- nothing can destroy a bobble. Bobbles reflect light and heat perfectly and are perfectly smooth (no dents or anything) and has no friction...if a human puts his hand on a bobble's surface, it feels warm not because the bobble is warm but because it reflects the warmth of the hand that rests on its surface. If the contents inside a bobble are lighter than the outside, it floats, etc. Bobbles can't be built inside bobbles and they can't intersect each other. The concept is dizzyingly cool and makes for a great science fiction premise.

These scientists who invent the bobbles decide to end all wars and as such they set out to bobble up nuclear silos, cities, anything that can be used to wage war. In the end they wind up bobbling most of the major metropolises of the world - thereby killing hundreds of millions of people who were trapped in the bobbles and there is writing in the book that poses some conjecture about how those poor people must've perished inside the bobbles soon after they were encapsulated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Weidman on October 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a very entertaining hard-scifi novel set in the near future. Vinge imagines our world with a single technological advancement -- the bobble -- introduced. The imagined future is sufficiently credible to make this an entertaining story.

The characters are interesting, but insufficiently fleshed out. We read an "explanation" of Miguel's motivations, but that explanation seems a little to facile. Allison notes that Paul seems to want her to leave, but we don't really get into the internal conflicts that must be racing through Paul to give her that impression. That Della would fall for Miguel seems only to move the story, not to reveal Della's heart. The examples could continue.

The plot, however, is briskly paced and well structured, with victory wrapped around defeat, wrapped around victory, in an interesting overlay.

There are some minor problems with timing. Della seems to contact Avery while still under Wili's quarrantine. And Avery doesn't seem to have enough time after he fully understood the bobble to use that knowledge in the Renaissance plan.

Don't look for deep insights into philosophy, science, politics, or the human person in this book. (Contrast it with Jablokov's "Carve the Sky," which is a moving, poetic meditation on the significance of aesthetics.) Instead, it is a well-paced, entertaining visit to a fairly credible future.
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