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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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Performance
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  •  
    James Doker 01-21-15
    James Doker 01-21-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    3
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    "Interesting vision of the future, but dragging"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 05-06-14
    Mark 05-06-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not bad, but read something else"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John United States 08-18-13
    John United States 08-18-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you try another book from Vernor Vinge and/or Eric Conger?

    yes


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    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.


    Was Rainbows End worth the listening time?

    Sure


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 02-27-13
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 02-27-13 Member Since 2011

    Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work

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    "Fascinating view of the near future"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 11-14-12
    Jack St Petersburg, FL, United States 11-14-12

    Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.

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    "A Good Story Even If You Are Not A Sci Fi Fan"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan United States 10-31-12
    Ryan United States 10-31-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It's no AFUTD, but it's good stuff for sure!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rob Montpelier, VA, United States 10-19-12
    rob Montpelier, VA, United States 10-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "First Vinge book"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    There was a good story here. Original and well put together.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Kingston, ON, Canada 04-16-12
    James Kingston, ON, Canada 04-16-12 Member Since 2014
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    "The future of computing + a good spy story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dielle 11-09-11
    Dielle 11-09-11 Member Since 2012
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    "kind of fun but not worth a re-read"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Buberel Sunnyvale, CA USA 10-25-11
    Jason Buberel Sunnyvale, CA USA 10-25-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Story was OK, characters underdevloped"

    The story did introduce a few interesting concepts - especially the notion of a behavioral control attack that is based on a biological vector that is triggered with specific sensory input.

    But the character development left me feeling uninspired. I found it hard to convince myself to really care about them or their outcomes in the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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