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Rainbows End Mass Market Paperback – Apr 3 2007


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Rainbows End + A Fire Upon The Deep + A Deepness in the Sky
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Review

"A Deepness in the Sky more than justifies the old tag 'eagerly anticipated.' It's a space opera dealing with the age-old themes of exploration, first contact, different cultures, exploitation and, inevitably, conflict. An intriguing and mind-stretching epic. Highly recommended."
--SFX
 
"When I was young and had to write my address in a school notebook, I would begin with my street and apartment number and then go on through city, county, state, country and continent in a litany of ever more grandiose place names that did not end until I reached 'Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, The Universe.' In those days, it thrilled me that my small corner of the Bronx was just a one part of the vastness I could see in the sky at night. This is the feeling I got from reading A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge."
--Gerald Jonas, New York Times Book Review
 
"Marooned in Realtime is a cracking good story that leaves the reader with plenty to think about. Vernor Vinge draws fine characters and writes a compelling plot. In the end, almost all the mysteries are solved--the only loose ends are those which will leave you pondering the future of Mankind and of the earth for weeks after you finish the book"
--The Baltimore Sun

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 and The Peace War.
 
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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Amazon.com: 125 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent story Jan. 18 2008
By John Thornton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Rainbow's End" is an excellent and well written story. It involves three people, Keith, Jill, and Kyle, all of whom have aspects of trauma and tragedy from their pasts. The story is told well. The characters are very realistic. The island described sounds wonderful. I recommend this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Book May 17 2008
By Texas A. Harreld - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This the best book I have read in a long, long time. And I read every thing I get my hands on. I fell in love with the San Juan Islands and especially Orcas Island and I have never even been there. In fact, I had never heard of them. But, they are certainly on my list of places to visit. Think I would be very happy to live there. Exellent reading.
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Perplexingly tedious Aug. 8 2010
By rjjoyce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's probably worth more than 1 star (2 maybe), but I'd like to pull the average rating down to warn potential readers. I thought "A Deepness in the Sky" and "A Fire Upon the Deep" were marvelous. Great plots, interesting aliens, a good build-up of tension. It's hard to believe that "Rainbows End" is by the same author. I've nothing against Vinge trying something new, but this is just so darn BAD.

Vinge has developed a vision of our technological near-future that is reasonably interesting. People wear contacts lenses and their clothes receive and transmit information, controlled by body motions, in such a way that they can project skins onto their environment, interact with distant people as if in the same room, send their virtual avatar elsewhere, and so on. This technology has become ubiquitous in people's lives, so experiencing reality "in the raw," without virtual overlays, has become a novelty.

That's kind of interesting, I guess, and not implausible as a near-future scenario. But that's it. That's all Vinge has. The need for sympathetic characters, or an engaging story, or any kind of dramatic tension, seems to have been forgotten. Some readers seem to have gotten excited about the imaginary-but-plausible technology conjured by Vinge, but, speaking for myself, (A) exciting technology doesn't suffice for a good book, and (B) it wasn't THAT exciting. One character in the book still uses a LAPTOP (gasp!), and we are clumsily reminded endlessly of how hopelessly old-fashioned this will be in the future. (What's the point? Are we supposed to laugh at ourselves for being such lame laptop users? Be amazed at the outrageous prophesy that one day laptops will be old hat?)

This is how bad it was: I waded through it, stoically determined, until I was about 20 pages from the end. And then it just sat there gathering dust beside my bed and I actually FORGOT that I hadn't finished it. I started another book. Three or four days went by, and with a sinking heart I MADE myself finish Rainbows End (because that's the kind of person I am). And, no, it didn't redeem itself in the last 20 pages. And this won a Hugo Award?! Sheesh.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Best book ever! Jan. 17 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love this book. I couldn't put it down. It portrays hope, faith and love. I would recommend this book to all ages especially young people. It shows you that you have to look deeper, above the surface to find the good in people. Keith Michaels found something at the Rainbow's End and he was not about to let it vanish into thin air. Read the book; it's worth your time. Enjoy.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Not up to Vinge's usual standards April 30 2007
By W. Timothy Holman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vernor Vinge is absolutely my favorite scifi author. ""True Names", The Peace War", "Marooned in Realtime", "A Fire Upon the Deep", and a "Deepness in the Sky" are absolute masterpieces. When I heard that "Rainbows End" was nominated for the Hugo, I simply assumed that Dr. Vinge had hit yet another one out of the ballpark, and that he would be picking up his third Hugo for best novel in 2006.

And then I read the book.

"Rainbows End" is not a bad book. Vinge does a good job of world building, although many of the concepts had already been already covered in his short stories. The problem is the plot. First, Vinge spends too much time on Robert Gu relative to other, more interesting characters. Second, Vinge leaves a huge number of plot threads dangling. What is the Rabbit, exactly? What happens to Vaz once his scheme collapses? What happens between Robert and his ex-wife? Clearly Vinge intends to write a sequel, but unlike his previous novels, "Rainbows End" reads like part one of a two-part story, with all of the attendant drawbacks.

Another problem I have with the book is Vinge's proposition that by 2025 a sufficiently sophisticated interface will effectively provide below-average kids with the ability to perform programming and engineering feats that would tax the capabilities of modern-day experts. As an engineering professor, I don't really buy it. I deal every day with young men and women who have been raised with computers since they were toddlers. Most of them are simply users of devices and programs they do not and cannot understand. Only a hardcore minority are the true geeks who can create something new, just as in every generation past. While I have no doubt that technology will make some amazing strides by 2025, it won't make geniuses out of people who lack the ability to critically analyze what the software tells them. I am a techno-optimist in the sense that I do believe that the Singularity or some reasonable approximation will be hitting us sooner than we think, but I tend to believe that most people will simply be along for the ride when it happens.

Hopefully we'll see Vernor Vinge return to greatness in his next novel, which I've heard will be another "Zones of Thought" novel. As many others have commented, any author is entitled to an occasional so-so story, and this one is clearly Vinge's.

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