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
"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)
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.
Conceptually fascinating, but the plot gets too bloated and bogged down in the geopolitics and cyber security details of the new world. Some of the peripheral characters and subplots are just plain uninteresting, and make the whole thing less enjoyable.
It felt like a novel constructed to illustrate the details -- both broadly interesting and painfully specific -- of this conceived near future, at the expense of good writing, character development, and plot structure.
I expected more from a Hugo award winner. The story was okay, not terrifically imaginative, and maybe a bit too rich in computer hardware fetishism for my taste.
It's not that I hated it, I just feel like I wasted my time listening to this when there are still some Paolo Bacigalupi and China Mieville books that I haven't "read" yet.
The introductory fram of the first 15 minutes was SOOO compelling and exciting that I was really unprepared for the small, personal redemption narrative that is really the heart of the book.
Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work
This is a great book - by far my favorite Vinge novel. The technical ideas are very plausible and the characters are engaging. The performance is wonderful - especially how the reader captures the old Robert. I did think the ending was a bit of a let down - I was left wanting some more resolution. But it was very good anyway. I highly recommend this book.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
My son recommended this book. All he reads is sci-fi. I don't. I started the book with a bias against it, however it turned out to be a good story and the performance was excellent. Good character development. It kept my interest.
This book starts off VERY slow. I almost stopped reading it. Then it really picked up, and my patience was well-rewarded with an exciting hard scifi read.
There was a good story here. Original and well put together.
I'm not sure why I couldn't give it more stars. I thought it was an original, creative story. It was well put together. But I just didn't love it. But it was good enough for me to try another. I'll try another Vinge book in the future and see how I like that one.
Vernor Vinge's "Fire upon the Deep" was one of the first 'real' sf books I read when I was a young teen. Once I read it, I looked for everything VInge and devoured it. Unfortunately, Vinge doesn't publish too frequently, but when he does...ka-blam-oh!
"Rainbows End" is great sf. It's got good science, developed characters and an engaging story arc, plus there's a nicely veiled, implied reference to some of the AI stuff in "Neuromancer."
If you're into spy thrillers, espionage and plausible future tech, this will be a book for you.
My only beef is that I'm not a Pratchett reader, and there was a whole section that I feel would have been much more interesting had I been. Oh well, still a good read.
Eric Conger is a fine narrator, not fantastic, but he does his job well.
at several points I got lost in the techno jargon, the story is a little bit thin but it was still enjoyable, some interesting ideas about where the internet and gaming could end up in 20 years. I agree with another reviewer who said it would have made a great short story, but stretched into a novel it became a little light.
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