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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Marooned in Realtime

This was the book that introduced the Vingian Singularity. Being the kind of writer he is, Vinge manages to side-step the topic and deals with a group of survivors who "bobbled" through the Singularity event (which is described as something way to similar to the "rapture" event in Christian literature) struggling to gather enough of humanity to rebuild a civilization (and hopefully not miss the next singularity).

The story focuses around W.W. Bierson, who was an apparently well accomplished policeman and detective. Bierson was the victim of a stasis attack which caused him to lose his family and most of human civilization. While in stasis, his surviving son writes a series of detective novels starring him, which causes the rest of his compatriots to regard him with awe.

So when a murder of one of the co-founders of the remaining civilization occurs, who else would be called in to investigate but Bierson? However, during this investigation, Bierson uncovers not only the perpetrator of his own stasis, but also a plot to subjugate the remnants of humanity.

The mystery is well-done, with sufficient clues that the reader doesn't feel cheated. The characterization is also very well done, and the motives and people quite believable. I'm not a believer of the Vingian singularity (as previous posts show, and the bobble technology seems really questionable to me, but other than that, the book comes highly recommended.

The apology is for the unrealistically slow rate of technological growth predicted... I show artificial intelligence and inteligence amplification proceeding at what I suspect is a snail's pace...
From the Author's afterword, 1985

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