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True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier Paperback – December 14, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
*True Names* remains to this day one of the four or five most seminal science-fiction novels ever written, just in terms of the ideas it presents, and the world it paints. It laid out the ideas that have been subsequently worked over so successfully by William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. *And* it's well written. *And* it's fun.
In my grad student days, we loved to sit around and discuss the implications of Vernor's ideas. Sixteen years later, I do research at MIT, and it's still fun to sit around and talk about how Vernor's ideas are coming to be.
(Amazingly enough, Vinge has done this not once, but twice: *Marooned in Realtime* contains ideas even more interesting than *True Names* -- all in the setting of a murder mystery that takes place 50 million years in the future.Read more ›
Intelligence determines the rate of technological progress. Once technology is used to amplify intelligence, a positive-feedback loop of enormous power is created. No mortal can ever write of that future - but Vinge creeps up on the edge of human history and shows that Something lies beyond.
This is the story that introduced the Vingean Singularity of SF legend: "Every time we consider the creation of intelligences greater than our own... extrapolation breaks down and new models must be applied... the world will pass beyond our understanding."
The Singularity is seriously projected, by Ph.D.'d folk, to occur around 2030. And in my opinion, it's that or nuclear war. Choose. Be ready. Read this book.
*True Names* is something I stumbled on in a ratty paperback that, for some odd reason, had been rebound and inserted in my university library (I think because we had an acquisitions librarian with a taste for the singular). Reading the story in 1990 was a revelation, and it will be to anyone who finds it in this collection, blessedly supposed to be re-released (again) in March 2001 (though that too has been much delayed). A great deal of "classic" science fiction (though this would as readily stand as fiction, or just good writing) has disappeared from print; the market appears to be otherwise. But with J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Ursula LeGuin's novels, and other such such fare rising to the top, let's hope that the best science fiction work can be showcased -- as this appears to be.
The main story, a novella, treats the relationship of a variety of figures in a role-playing and networked world. It's also a story with a great ending, a great middle and start, and genuine surprises, even in its form: the abbreviated (and underappreciated) novella. Let's hope it stays in print, and that many step forward and buy!
Incidentally, Vernor Vinge does project a remarkably apt (and well-done) geographical sensibility -- he's the son of a geography professor (Michigan State University), and the inheritance has run true. That's mentioned as a not-incidental detail -- if I remember aright, Neal Stephenson was also a geography undergraduate student. It can matter.
True Names is a feast for the imagination. I set the book down many times while my mind reeled with extrapolations of the ideas he wrote into his story. The characters are richly developed. the climax was terrific.
Read this book if you can find it. Remember when it was published (14 years before Neuromancer). I have bought 5 copies. But over the years, friends have 'liberated' 3 of them. This book is a prize.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a classic, and I was really glad to get it on the Kindle. Very prescient author.Published 1 month ago by Gregory S. Wilson
Amazing story for being 30 years old. Still a pretty amazing view of a future cyberspace.Published 5 months ago by Timothy Mossbarger
the book is in good shape, old library book. very good for the price!Published 17 months ago by ivyp
quite an excellent and extraordinary read. loved every bit of it. would recommend it highly to any intelligent and curious personPublished on November 14, 2013 by Jonathan Sand
True names is the first entry in the cyberpunk genre. It's well worth hunting down if you are fan of Sci-Fi. Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by Warthog
True Names is not a short story. It was a well-reasoned, extraordinarily original prediction, wrapped in a short story. And it came true. Vernor Vinge is not just a writer. Read morePublished on April 4, 2011 by the27th
I usually don't enjoy short stories, but I made an exception for this book because I had heard good things about True Names. Read morePublished on August 16, 2007 by T. Gamble