Sniffen Packets

With a name like Sniffen, it's got to smell good.

Rainbows End, by Vernor Vinge

In A Fire Upon the Deep, Vinge perfectly pegged the conversational trends of the Usenet. Fifteen years later, he’s hit instant messaging culture right on the head. Along the way, he presents a tour of a world in the elbow of the singularity, and a coming-of-age story for a man who almost ran out of time.

I’d like to avoid spoilers, which prevents my discussing more than a cursory outline of the plot: too much is involved with who’s pretending to be whom. It does become clear that Vinge is a major Pratchett fan, and has read at least a little of Dewey.

Far less is resolved than in Fire: the end is very ambiguous. There, and at more than a few points along the way, this reminds me of Charles Stross in Accelerando: similar presentation of a world where generation gaps emphasize the repeated occurrence of the singularity. I suspect that’s an artifact of my ordering, and that Stross should have been reminding me of Vinge for some time.

Books read this year: 23