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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 (810 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ben Marietta, GA, United States 10-14-10
    Ben Marietta, GA, United States 10-14-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Erratic, but enjoyable if you are open to it"

    The setting and circumstances are intriguing. Vinge describes a believable, compelling, and fascinating world where a ubiquitous evolution of the Internet has reshaped human existence in the not-too-distant future. Particularly because of its role in education, this new technological medium has catapulted a generation of youth far beyond the capabilities and values of their parents.

    As in other Vinge works, a broad, eclectic array of plot pieces are set into motion in order to arrive at a final climax. One moment you're reading about a miserable old poet who's been given a second chance on life, but must choose between his old talents and the brave new world. Then suddenly it's about children coming of age in a technological utopia. At one point it seemed to veer into a lecture on the merits of libertarian capitalism. For far too long it dwells on an unimportant sub-plot about teaching old dogs new technological tricks. And there's this grad student, desperate to find an original thesis. And then it's about a team of nostalgic rebels who fight against the violently rapid progress around them. Oh, and I almost forgot, there's a worldwide team of secret-agent anti-terrorist saviors who have been infiltrated and manipulated by a villain with a plan for world domination (except they drop that plot for such a long time that you forget if it was this book or another that you remember it from). And a husband-wife team of super military analysts. And a super-powerful AI screwing with all of them, just for fun. Oh, oh, and then there's a huge Pokemon battle! And some Bollywood executives, and some sort of worldwide technological catastrophe. No, I'm *not* making this up!

    While it was never completely ridiculous, it was nevertheless frustrating to be constantly wondering, even well into the final 1/3 of the book, what the heck the main story was supposed to be, and how it all fit together. It does come together loosely, but then rushes into resolution and epilogue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-29-10
    08-29-10 Member Since 2003
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    "What Moore's law might provide"

    Interesting sci fi of a few decades from now without the full apocolypse having occurred yet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hugh Shenton Park, Australia 07-03-10
    Hugh Shenton Park, Australia 07-03-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Disappointing"

    Not his best work - I don't think it hangs together well. I almost gave up, but struggled through in the end. It did make me want to reread "Deepness in the Sky" though (I only have this as a dead-tree - would like the audiobook).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Woodbridge, VA, USA 02-26-10
    John Woodbridge, VA, USA 02-26-10
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    "Confusing But Okay"

    If you listen while on a plane or get distracted when listening, skip this one. Once something is quickly introduced you don't get a chance to catch up. Left no real impression. Stick with the classics.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David T. Weston, ID, USA 07-02-09
    David T. Weston, ID, USA 07-02-09
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    "A great experience!"

    Intriguing to end. Many new ideas artfully presented. A few that didn't work so well. A few loose ends, that I expect will be handled in a sequel? Yes, please! The best audiobook I heard in quite some time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SA Alabama 01-29-08
    SA Alabama 01-29-08 Member Since 2005
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    "So, So"

    I picked this book up because I have heard so many good things about Vinge. I ended up forcing myself to listen to the whole book. The end was anti-climatic and really boring. The book was really about the characters and the technology and plot were nothing more than tools to delve into the character's mindset. If you are looking for a book that is more plot driven, this may not be for you. If you are looking for a more cerebral character driven story, you may enjoy this story.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana 11-21-09
    Dana 11-21-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Too Old-school for this"

    My hat goes off to the author for his techno-based copy but I just couldn't keep up with all the new inventions. The concept is good but it lost me half-way through and I skipped to the end - somehting I never do - but I couldnt wait 4 hours to find the point. Just not for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anton Monroe, WA, USA 02-28-08
    Anton Monroe, WA, USA 02-28-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Techno-gobbledygook"

    A laboriously plotted and boring story told in made-up techno-slang.
    I tried to get through it twice and failed both times. The story would not hold my attention for longer than a few minutes.
    Neil Stephenson's aficionados may find the story superb. I, on the other hand, just don't get it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 09-17-08
    Steven PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 09-17-08 Member Since 2004
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    "Techno Babble for geeks"

    Enough! Enough of the 5 recurring plot lines at one time. Enough at the internet that is so encompassing you get 5 instantaneous versions of reality at the same time. If this is the future I'll take the gas pipe.
    The characters have little depth because Vinge spent all his time writing about his little geeky, nerdy toys. What a little nerdy, techno geek, girlie man.

    2 of 25 people found this review helpful
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