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Book Review: Rainbows End

Vernor Vinge has a new book out, and it's a near-future romp about everything techish that makes life interesting: massive databases, privacy abuses, collaborative communities, paranoid security states. Spice with some damaged characters who aren't keeping up on the tech curve, a mysterious Rabbit who appears only online, and it seems like a fun ride.

But oddly, the book didn't quite nail it. The premises are simultaneously too familiar and too Out There. I suspect this is because some of this is old territory for the hardcore RPG/SF/anime crowd, and it lacks the huge sense of Galactic Resonances that made Fire on the Deep such a great read. Vinge is still steps ahead of most people mining similar territory.

Recommended for anyone who loves near-future scenario-building, gadgets, and network follies, but not as amazing as his space opera. 


( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )
Aug. 14th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
You beat me to the punch!
Oh oh oh! You beat me to the punch on this review! Now if I review it on my blog, it'll seem like I am copying you ;-).

Well, actually, I think I am enjoying the book more than you. While I'm also a big fan of Fire on the Deep, I am finding this book a fantastically engaging read. Maybe because I put down Erikson's massive Memories of Ice only a hundred pages in to pick up Rainbow's End--ah, what a sigh of relief. Mind you, I like Erikson's Malazon books, but now that I'm on the third of those, Rainbow's End has me excited to pick up a book again after too long looking at my reading pile as a duty :-).


Aug. 15th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: You beat me to the punch!
Well, I don't want to say I disliked it -- it's fun, I ate it up in about 2 days, and I liked big parts of it. His pacing is awesome, and I find I like the characters.

But I think having read some of it as a short did spoil the fun for me a little.
Aug. 15th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
I read and enjoyed Fire Upon the Deep back in the day, which was unusual for me as I've never been a big sci-fi or fantasy reader. I'd been wondering how the new book turned out, and considering whether or not I would like it more or less now that I'm reading more sci-fi and fantasy than ever before. As I'm not one of the hardcore, could be that I might actually enjoy it more for that. I'm doubly curious after reading your review.
Aug. 15th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
It's a fun book, full of invention and little human touches that worked for me.

I don't regret reading it, but maybe my taste for near-future SF isn't as strong as it once was.
Aug. 16th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
This is on my list of things to read soon. Vinge is really good in my opinion.
( 5 sutras — Your wisdom )

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