Rainbows End – Vernor Vinge (2006)

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Rainbows End is a new sci-fi novel by Vernor Vinge. I read it during the trip to Vancouver and back, which seems sort of fitting since Vancouver seems like a relatively ‘future’ city. The plot is the fairly standard ‘big world-threatening event’ kind of stuff, with the day saved by a little girl even, so it’s just enough to keep you going.

The depiction of life in 20 years from now does have some interesting ideas however. The young characters are all fully immersed in virtual worlds enable through wearable computing, and in fact in most spots there are many simultaneous virtual ‘overlays’ on the actual world. Medical breakthroughs help to keep people alive, at the cost sometimes of losing their former skills and traits. There’s a high degree of surveillance and military presence, perhaps unsurprisingly. There’s a constant hum of so-called ‘sming’ (silent messaging), though it’s a little hard to see how people could multi-task through real-life conversations and sming without losing the thread somewhere.

I’d recommend it if you’re into the futuristic stuff, otherwise not.

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