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The Peace War Paperback – December 1, 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Peace War Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Combines the tautness of a political thriller with strong characterizations. A suspenseful story that will appeal to fans of sf and intrigue alike."

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

"Vinge, himself a mathematician, conveys the excitement of a conceptual breakthrough as well as the gap between theory and actuality."

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."
--Locus

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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 (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 to...an 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 turf...in 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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the positive side, this slightly dated dystopian novel of the near future is suspenseful and for the most part, easy to read and compelling, once the reader accepts the hypothetical world in which it takes place. Of the two principal chartacters, the young prodigy, Wili is the more captivating. The older Paul is the old-style romantic genius scientist on a one-man quest to save the world from evil, and not incidentally, get even with someone he's hated for fifty years. As such, he's not as belevable as Wili.

Even less believable is the entire story line. The principal bit of technology around which it's based seems more like magic than science - even the supposed experts have no idea why or how it works. I also had trouble reconciling the world of 2050 envisioned by the author, though it might have played better thirty years ago when he wrote it. It just didn't seem viable to me. And I was a bit disappointed that after all the philosophical and moral buildup, the climax of the story revolved around a pretty garden-variety chase and thrill scene that turned out fairly predictably. On the whole I found the ending less than satisfying.
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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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