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Rainbows End | [Vernor Vinge]

Rainbows End

Set a few decades from now, Rainbows End is an epic adventure that encapsulates in a single extended family the challenges of the technological advances of the first quarter of the 21st century. The information revolution of the past 30 years blossoms into a web of conspiracies that could destroy Western civilization. At the center of the action is Robert Gu, a former Alzheimer's victim who has regained his mental and physical health through radical new therapies, and his family.
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Publisher's Summary

Vernor Vinge doesn't write novels very quickly, but when he writes one, it's well worth the wait. His last two novels have won the coveted Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of the year. Rainbows End is set in the same near future as his novella "Fast Times at Fairmont High", which won the Hugo Award in 2002 for Best Novella. Set a few decades from now, Rainbows End is an epic adventure that encapsulates in a single extended family the challenges of the technological advances of the first quarter of the 21st century. The information revolution of the past 30 years blossoms into a web of conspiracies that could destroy Western civilization. At the center of the action is Robert Gu, a former Alzheimer's victim who has regained his mental and physical health through radical new therapies, and his family. His son and daughter-in-law are both in the military, but not a military we would recognize, while his middle-school-age granddaughter is involved in perhaps the most dangerous game of all, with people and forces more powerful than she or her parents can imagine.

Filled with excitement and Vinge's trademark potpourri of fascinating ideas, Rainbows End is another triumphantly entertaining novel by one of the true masters of the field.

©2006 Vinge Vernor; (P)2007 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

  • 2007 Hugo Award winner, Best Novel

"This [is] top-drawer hard SF - fast-paced, packed with action, intellectually challenging and, above all, capable of invoking SF's grail: a genuine sense of wonder." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (854 )
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3.9 (339 )
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4.0 (331 )
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3 star
 (55)
2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    William Burbank, CA, USA 03-19-08
    William Burbank, CA, USA 03-19-08 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Believable and fun"

    Believable technology and an interesting main character. The vibe and energy reminded me of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, so if you liked that, you'll probably like this book as well. "The Rabbit" character that emerges could have come from William Gibson, and I'm hoping for a sequel featuring it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara 07-04-08
    Tamara 07-04-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    35
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    10
    Overall
    "Entertaining and fun look at the near future"

    I really enjoy "near future" science fiction, and this book is no exception. Vinge creates a world where we are always plugged in to the net --- and the younger generation is leading the way, as always. It explores this world from the point-of-view of an older man who has received a successful rejuvenation treatment and has learned that his old self was not actually someone he really liked. Cool tech, great characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J 05-30-08
    J 05-30-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good but not great"

    Rainbow's End was a clever book by Vinge, but does not touch some of his space sci-fi stories. Set in near modern times, it is a pleasant listen, but had none of the mind boggling imagination that I had come to expect with other books by the same author. I do wonder, though, if my expectations had not already been so high if I would have rated it a "5" instead of a "4".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Oxford Mills, ON, Canada 05-24-08
    Ian Oxford Mills, ON, Canada 05-24-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good thoughtful sci-fi"

    Fascinating ideas of the near future. Ubiquitous web-presence, holographic technology, Gesture-based wearable computers. Self-driving cars. The manufacture of things has become as cheap as today's chip manufacturing. Even buildings are self-assembling units. Into this world lands a grumpy old poet from our time who's awoken from years of dementia by a new cure...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 05-19-08
    David United States 05-19-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth Reading"

    I found Rainbow's End interesting and entertaining, so it is worth reading. That being said, I'd rate it 3 1/2 on the scale of good science fiction. I can't quite put my finger on why it wasn't a solid 4 or 5 other than the ending was a bit flat and the story is probably more aimed at a younger audience. The events are a bit too much of a stretch, so you have to suspend logic to some extent. Otherwise, I found the pace, story-line, and plots very interesting and captivating throughout the audio book. I recommend this book to all science fiction and futurist fans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada 05-18-08
    Amazon Customer St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada 05-18-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "W.O.W."

    Science fiction at it's best. Constant entertainment (well, it slows down now and again). Very interesting new concepts that keep you going WOW, cool idea. I listen and read a lot of science fiction and this is one of the best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-29-08 Member Since 2003

    elbobosan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great... except for the Story"

    Well crafted characters, undergoing significant development, interacting in a captivating world, moving towards a climax from several directions... Why don't I like this? I asked myself several times during the listen and eventually realized that I was not invested in the story, despite the elements listed above. This strikes me a novel that began as a chapter, designed as the setup for a good piece of scifi, that just got stretched into a story line that I didn't really connect with.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chad Suwanee, GA, United States 05-06-09
    chad Suwanee, GA, United States 05-06-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"

    Even after reading through some of the the other luke warm reviews, I decided to go with this book. I generally like the techno-geeky genre other's don't relate to. But this story was busy, difficult to follow at times and the author seemed more interested in throwing in descriptions of his universe than developing the plot and characters.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    james salem, OR, United States 01-07-08
    james salem, OR, United States 01-07-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "confusing at times"

    Interesting ideas, but there were times it was difficult to keep track of all the characters. I found myself hoping for the end.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua A Wilson 03-14-15
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    Story
    "Digital is maybe not the best format for this one."

    The delicious irony of listening on my Android device, sitting on a subway car, my fellow passengers engrossed in their own various electronic distractions, to a distopian neoluddite B-plot about saving phyisical books from digitisation only leaves me wondering why I didn't just go in for the hard copy of the book to begin with. I found it somewhat refreshing that the author chose not to dwell excessively on the novelty of the AI character, given that by now it's such a well-worn sci-fi trope. Thankfully, this is more a story of character driven interactions than the orgy of futurism that it appears on the surface. The protagonist's Hero's Journey does its job in leaving me with the appropriate warm fuzzy feeling. While little about the story strikes me as boldly unique in the way that "True Names" did in the intetnet's infancy, it's still an engaging plot. For a 2006 release, some details already feel slightly dated -- for one, the author largely misses the emergence of social media that would have been taking shape around the time of writing.

    Unfortunately, the reader's oblivious Chinese mispronounciation takes me out of the story completely. If you're considering this book, I'd strongly encourage you to go with the dead-tree-and-ink version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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