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Rainbows End: A Novel with One Foot in the Future Mass Market Paperback – April 3, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in San Diego, Calif., this hard SF novel from Hugo-winner Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky) offers dazzling computer technology but lacks dramatic tension. Circa 2025, people use high-tech contact lenses to interface with computers in their clothes. "Silent messaging" is so automatic that it feels like telepathy. Robert Gu, a talented Chinese-American poet, has missed much of this revolution due to Alzheimer's, but now the wonders of modern medicine have rehabilitated his mind. Installed in remedial classes at the local high school, he tries to adjust to this brave new world, but soon finds himself enmeshed in a somewhat quixotic plot by elderly former University of California–San Diego faculty members to protest the destruction of the university library, now rendered superfluous by the ubiquitous online databanks. Unbeknownst to Robert, he's also a pawn in a dark international conspiracy to perfect a deadly biological weapon. The true nature of the superweapon is never made entirely clear, and too much of the book feels like a textbook introduction to Vinge's near-future world. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
A multiple Hugo Award?winning author (A Fire Upon the Deep; A Deepness in the Sky) and former professor of mathematics at San Diego State University, Vernor Vinge writes as if he's spent some time in 2025. This novel's setting, contemporary with the author's Fast Times at Fairmont High, is one of instantaneous technology where accomplished hackers wield profound influence. Reviewers applaud Vinge's avoidance of science-fiction traps like information dumps and rootless "techno-bedazzlement" in favor of emotional storylines and plausibleand sometimes frighteninginsights into where technology is moving humanity. <BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Notwithstanding, I loathed this book. Every page was a struggle and I feel like I've lost part of my soul in reading this instead of something enjoyable.
I had a complete inability to care about any of these characters. Their motivations, apart from Robert, were tenuous at best. The plot was muddled and confusing. The worldbuilding left everything to be desired.
I liked Robert. His character arc was alright. But any chapter that didn't involve him was drab and confusing. New characters were randomly thrown into the mix. I was still confusing the members of the library cabal up the final few chapters. Whenever anything remotely futuristic was described, I just had a headache.
Definitely not recommended.
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.
This was not the case with "Rainbows End". Too many future concepts not well explained, some things didn't seem to be well explained at all.
In short, the story was very hard to follow.
While I have twice read "A Fire Upon the Deep" and plan to again read "A Deepness in the Sky", there will be no re-reading of "Rainbows End"
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.