by Vernor Vinge
List Price: $7.63 Amazon.com:N/A
First book in the "Realtime" sequence. Its sequel, "Marooned in Realtime," was published in 1986. Hugo nominee.
Posted by jw on 11/23/2004
Vinge holds a doctorate in computer science, and it really shows.There is a certain undeniable logic and elegance to his ideas.
This book is the first introduction of Vinge's idea of the Singularity (google for it, it's worth it).
Posted by Mr. P. Crowe on 04/15/2000
So now its fifty years later and the world has had fifty years without a war. The Authority preserves the peace by stamping out all high energy physics research, they do not permit any biological experimentation and all large-scale weapons of war are forbidden.
But everything has its price. Peace has been achieved at the cost of crushing of the human spirit and the stagnation of human potential. The Authority also tries to suppress innovation by siphoning off the young intellectual cream to its stronghold, the former Livermore University campus. There they are trained to work for and think like the Peace Authority.
The organisation's power is derived from the possession of the ultimate weapon. The invincible, impenetrable force fields known as the `Bobble'. Any transgressors are immediately enclosed in this spherical force field and are trapped for all eternity dying slowly from asphyxiation in an airless tomb.
Unbeknown to the Authority, small groups have been working together on low energy, high tech research. The fruits of this research take the form of intelligent weapons, untraceable communications and computing power many orders of magnitude above anything the Peace Authority possesses. These groups known as the Tinkers also have as their ally Paul Hoehler the genius that invented the Bobble and unwittingly unleashed the Peace Authority on the world. Paul has been trying to for fifty years to undo this harm, but time is running out for Paul. He is now old and frail, he needs to find an apprentice to assume his mantle, but genius is a rare commodity and the Peace Authority is finally closing in on him.
This is a beautifully written novel detailing an ` David and Goliath' struggle between the Peace Authority and the Tinkers. It is also a graphic lesson in why totalitarianism doesn't work, no matter how good the intentions of the rulers (the road to Hell is paved with such good intentions!). There is no such thing as a good dictatorship.
While I was reading this story I couldn't help but note the many amusing parallels between the Tinker's struggle with the Authority and the Linux OS developers battle against a certain popular software company. Like the Tinkers the Linux community are innovative, adaptable, fast moving and technically advanced. Like the Authority the popular software company is a ponderous leviathan that is slow to react and frankly has trouble innovating. Who will win the struggle? Read this excellent book and decide for yourself.
Posted by Gaylord D. Taylor on 03/30/2005
Posted by russender on 02/16/2003