Across Realtime Paperback
by Vernor Vinge
Encompassing time-travel, powerful mystery and the future history of humanity to its last handful of survivors, Across Realtime spans millions of years and is an utterly engrossing SF classic.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 544 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 01/12/1994
- Category: Science fiction
- ISBN: 9781857981476
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by _Greg
Contains the two short novels "The Peace War" and "Marooned in Realtime". While excellent as fiction, these two novels give the reader a clear understanding of the nature of accelerating change and the coming technological singularity. Highly recommended!
Review by felius
Apparently some editions of this work contain three stories - mine only contains the two novels "The Peace War" and "Marooned in Realtime".Both stories are centered around the idea of a technology which can created isolated spherical regions of space/time, called "bobbles". A bobble appears as a mirrored sphere enclosing the region of space around which it was created. It has the same mass as its contents, can be moved around like any other object in space, and is absolutely indestructible.The first story takes place about 50 years after the discovery of bobbles, describing how they were used in a surprise attack by a group determined to end all warfare. The result is a tyrannical "peace" with heavy restrictions on the development and use of many kinds of technology. Naturally, groups opposed to this kind of "peace" fight to overthrow the Peace Authority.Restrictions on technology have backfired on the oppressors, as their own technology has been held back while underground development in a resistance movement has leapfrogged them in several key areas. The breakthrough comes when the resistance is able to develop their own technology to manipulate bobbles, and an interesting confrontation results as old military tactics are thrown out the window.The second story takes place on a post-singularity earth. The events of the singularity itself are a mystery to all - the human race appears to have just disappeared, and the only survivors are those who were inside bobbles at the time. Bobbles effectively provide a form of one-way time travel, and so eventually over millennia groups of survivors band together until the last 300 or so humans are in one place preparing to form a colony to restart the human race.The colonists are divided into the "low-tech" and "hi-tech". The hi-tech colonists are those who have access to technology from just prior to the singularity, and the difference is so substantial that they're basically all trans-human entities heavily augmented by their technology. When one of the key hi-tech colonists is murdered through a subtle but malicious corruption of their systems, it becomes a race to find the murderer before the human race dwindles into extinction.I enjoyed the first of these stories much more than the second, though both were good reading. This is a prime example of the kind of science fiction which takes a single simple idea and follows it through in a series of mind-bending "what-ifs". The means by which bobbles might be created is never discussed, and is unimportant to the story. The question of what it might mean if they <i>could</i> be created is the important one, and the two stories here do a very good job at exploring the possibilities.
Review by LisaMaria_C
I remembered loving this, but I didn't remember the book well enough to review it without a reread. A lot did come back once into the stories though, and I fell right back in love with it. This has so much that made me love the genre. Especially Big Ideas, playing with very large scales of space and time and loads of imagination--but without the drawbacks I often find in Golden Age Science Fiction. I love the big three of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke, goodness knows I do, but so often their women didn't read as real to me, and though this is going to sound nauseatingly politically correct, too often they imagined a future that was just too white for my tastes--when they weren't presenting racial stereotypes that were cringe-worthy (Clarke less so than the others, and the others got better over the decades--their hey day after all was the forties and fifties.) The point is, I don't have to make allowances for these 1980s books in either respect.That doesn't mean the politically correct crowd would necessarily love this book. The book is a cult classic among libertarians for good reason, but it's not libertarian porn like say L. Neil Smith's novels. If any of the three connected stories read that way, it's the shortish novella bridge story, "The Ungoverned." It was a self-styled "anarcho-capitalist" who first pointed me to that story and to Vinge. But if you can look beyond that, what you find is a overall story that transcends that, with yes, some of the individualism and faith in freedom of Robert Heinlein, with some of the visionary apotheosis of Arthur C. Clarke. And I liked and cared about the characters. Della Lu and Wil Brierson may not be as complex or vivid as classic characters, but they work for me. And while the style won't be mistaken for literary, it does it's job. I liked the first short novel, <i>The Peace War</i> more than <i>Marooned in Realtime</i>, which I found a bit depressing, at least at first. But satisfying reads? Yup.
Review by ricaustria
have read all vv books i am aware of. so i guess that makes me a vinge-e.