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Rainbows End: A Novel With One Foot In The Future Hardcover – May 2, 2006
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If you HAVEN'T read Rainbows End, you definitely should do so (it's quite different than anything he's written before, but it's just so amazingly prescient and flows so well -- and if you HAVE read it, but haven't looked at it a few years, I recommend a re-read (even if you didn't care too much for it compared to Vinge's other works). I found it so much more engaging during the second read, as many of the technologies Vinge writes about sounded borderline unrealistic just 10 years ago, but which are in fact starting to take hold (or are expanding rapidly) in the latter half of this decade!
PS -- for those Vinge fans out there, I also caught a few "Easter eggs" (if words in a book can be called that). No spoilers, but just keep your eyes open and you'll find them.
There is a great overarching plot that is really exciting! There is some really interesting well fleshed out characters (such as Rabbit). Awesome book! This is top class Science Fiction! Microsoft take note!
This is a MUST read for any hard-science fiction fan! If you are familiar with Vernor Vinge then you know that you will need to read the book slowly. Sometimes you will need to read something twice. He is a masterful hard science writer but sometimes it can be a little hard to understand what is going on. Just read it again slower and you will have no problem. This is especially true for the opening chapter. DON'T GIVE UP ON IT. Slow down and read it again! It's soooo good.
I liked the ending but understood why some people found it lacking.
In conclusion, if you are a Vernor Vinge fan or a sci-fi fan of any sort then you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Keep em comming Vinge!
His character development is very good, so good, that it makes more palpable my disappointment with the books ending. He leaves information regarding some of the main characters in the story totally unresolved. There is a randomness to it. One longs for a sequel, but there wasn't any.
The book incidentally outlines various cataclysms and horrible futures as well (all based in new technologies that are right around the corner, if they aren't here already). But like the characters, they are good and bad at the same time. You simultaneously want the new developments and don't. If I could, I'd learn to wear my wearable computer tomorrow ... but there are downsides (cite: book). I would fight tooth and nail against the SHE, but your opinion may differ from mine. The idea of not driving to work anymore (if I have to go there at all) is a fantastic one, but I would surely lose my temper of I couldn't get the car to stop. I'm also personally (literally) working to help bring ubiquitous computing to the world -- in my own small way.
Here I am, days later, and I'm still wondering which parts are good or evil. What just happened??!