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The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge Paperback – Aug 17 2002
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A career-spanning collection of science fiction from one of the field's most highly regarded writers, The Collected Stories contains all of Vinge's published short fiction with the exception of two stories--almost 40 years of work including his first professional sale and his most recent novella (published here for the first time). It's a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable review of his career, made richer by the addition of forewords and afterwords to the individual stories in which he discusses everything from the ideas that drove the story to insights on his own writing process.
Vinge's writing is characterized by a clear love of science and an empathy for human needs and feelings. He's intensely curious about what happens when people and science collide. His stories explore the legacies of racism and xenophobia, the pros and cons of anarchy, alien contact, and the sometimes even more difficult contact between humans. He's a master of big ideas, epic settings, and stories well told. --Roz Genessee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Though probably best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels (A Fire Upon the Deep; A Deepness in the Sky), Vinge, a mathematician and computer scientist, began his writing career with short stories, most of which are gathered in this not quite definitive collection (where are cyberpunk precursor "True Names" and "Grimm's Story"?), along with one new entry, the pop culture-weighted "Fast Times at Fairmont High." Vinge's stories are prime hard SF and also rich with ideas, if often weak on character. Some are also quite dated now, such as the Cold War setting of "Bookworm, Run!" where the future rests on an escaped experimental subject, the first "person" enhanced by direct computer link. "The Accomplice" predicts computer animation the hard way, while "The Whirligig of Time" anticipates space-based missile defenses like SDI. Vinge frames many stories, such as "The Ungoverned" and "Conquest by Defeat," which consider future anarchies, with the idea of a technological singularity the belief that we can't accurately predict what life will be like after the creation of "intelligences greater than our own." Too short to be a story, "Win a Nobel Prize" is a humorous deal with the devil with a biotech twist. "The Barbarian Princess," with its sly pokes at some of the oldest tropes of speculative fiction writing (and editing!), maintains all the color and charm of its original publication. Vinge's comments surrounding each story provide entertaining counterpoint. This collection is a bonanza for hard SF fans, particularly those who prize challenging extrapolation.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
My favorite five are:
"The Blabber" is one of my all-time favorite science fiction stories--for reasons I won't explain because of how it connects to the Zones of Thought series.
"The Accomplice" takes place in a "future" 1993 as envisioned by Vinge from 1966. Vinge reports being embarrassed by the various ways he got the future wrong, but he got some interesting things right, too. The story itself is enjoyable enough. Although the story within the story is better, of course.
In "Long Shot" we witness Earth's last and best explorer leaving our solar system behind. The explorer has an important mission. If memory serves.
In "Original Sin" humanity encounters an alien race that is shorter-lived, more intelligent, and more aggressive. The outcome seems foreordained.
"Win a Nobel Prize!" is one of those short-short science fiction stories that appeared in Nature during 1999-2000.Read more ›
This collection of short stories is interesting both for the stories themselves and for the way they chart a truly excellent writer's evolution. The first few stories are amateurish and awkward. Very soon, they improve in both content and style. I ended up buying several of the books that grew out of the short stories included in this collection, and they were even better than the stories that inspired them.
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. Mostly, I was just pleased to realize that even someone who is as mind-blowingly intelligent and skilled as Vinge did not spring full-formed from his father's forehead, but developed incrementally into the writer he is today. I especially recommend this book to aspiring writers as inspiration.
I was by and large satisfied with this collection of short fiction. While there are no excellent stories here, neither are there any bottom-dwellers. Many of the stories take place in the settings of Vinge's novels. 'The Ungoverned' takes place after the events in his 'Peace War' series. 'The Blabber' fits into his Deepness duology. 'The Barbarian Princess' is part of the Grimm's World book. But the stories that don't fit into Vinge's novels share many of the same ideas and themes. Many, if not all, of the stories posit a Technological Singularity, an occurence that is featured prominently in nearly all of Vinge's work.
My favorite story is 'Original Sin' a fascinating and evocative depiction of an alien society. The sole story original to the collecton, novella 'Fast Times at Fairmont High' is an enjoyable depiction of a future junior high school.
None of the stories in the collection have the depth or Importance of Vinge's award-winning novels, but nearly every story is compulsively readable and entertaining. This is a fine addition to the Vinge completist's book shelf.
Collected Stories has plenty to reward the Vinge fan: Insightful annotations by the author suggesting his thoughts on writing each story, or expanding on his notion of the Singularity which our technological progress is pushing us towards, and how that idea has shaped his excellent novels. Several stories ("The Ungoverned", "The Blabber", "The Barbarian Princess") which occur in the worlds of his novels. Even a new novella, "Fast Times at Fairmont High", printed here for the first time, conjecturing a near-future junior high school where all the students are wired into the net and teachers must pose new and unusual tests for them to complete.
Despite this, the collection is nonetheless uneven. A couple of stories take a hardly-believeable turn into libertarianism or anarchic capitalism, failing to persuade me that their societies wouldn't destroy themselves in mere days. And a couple are based on disappointingly simple ideas, such as what sort of people might someday be forced to colonize Antarctica, or the impact that certain detritus in space might have. Even "Fast Times" I found disappointing as it seemed reluctant to resolve certain details of its plot, and it seemed also to undercut its own message of the importance of basic skills over specific knowledge.
The best stories in this collection combine Vinge's knack for ideasmanship with his best storytelling.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I consider Vinge to be one of the best SF authors around. "A Fire Upon the Deep" and "A Deepness In The Sky" were works of art. Read morePublished on July 20 2002 by James R
Despite reading SF for over 30 years, I only encountered V.V's works in the past year because he had received major awards. Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2002 by Isaac S. Kohane