G'DAY WORLD #271 – Vernor Vinge, SF Author Extraordinaire

Today I had the fortune to chat with another living legend – Vernor Vinge (pronounced “vin-jee” as in, he explained off air, “stingy”). While VV may not have the public profile of a William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, in geek circles no SF author carries more respect. Why is it so?

In 1981 Vernor wrote a novella called TRUE NAMES which was the one of the earliest stories to present a fully realized concept of cyberspace which he called the “Other Plane” and which people accessed by attaching electrodes to their scalp. Inside the Other Plane, people hid their “true names” from the Government by creating avatars with pseudonyms – sound familiar? This was several years before NEUROMANCER (William Gibson, 1984) or SNOW CRASH (Neal Stephenson, 1992) and is therefore a seminal work in cyberpunk fiction.

Vinge’s novels A FIRE UPON THE DEEP (1992) and A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY (1999) both won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. In 1993 he wrote an essay called “The Coming Technological Singularity” which popularized that term.

His latest novel, RAINBOWS END, is a masterpiece of near-future Sci-Fi which explores the world circa 2025. Marc Andreessen called it “the clearest and most plausible extrapolation of modern technology trends forward to the year 2025 that you can imagine.” It has been nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Rainbows End
You can learn more about the huge potential ramifications of the Singularity by attending the Singularity Summit 2007.

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    4 thoughts on “G'DAY WORLD #271 – Vernor Vinge, SF Author Extraordinaire

    1. janotte says:

      Hi Cam,

      I often hear you say ‘Without further adieu.’

      Do you mean this as a joke?

      ‘Without further goodbye’ is meaningless while ‘without further mucking about’ or ‘Without further ado’ has a clear meaning.

      Just wondering if it’s a joke lost on me or something else (like people saying ‘on tender hooks’ when they mean ‘on tenter hooks’)?

      Cheers

    2. haha yeah Janotte, I guess I’m saying “ado” but I’m just accenting it without noticing! Too much Napoleon in me. :-)

    3. janotte says:

      Ah yes – of course!

      Another great episode of Nap101 BTW.

    4. Jodie Miners says:

      One of my concerns about the fictional vision of the singularity and especially with this idea of seing what you want through the contact lenses is what about Art, Architecture and Creative expression. This is why I will never believe that we will all become this one society controlled (willingly or otherwise) by computers. If there were plain buildings that all I had to do was imaging and place my own skin over it to see what I wanted, what a boring world that would be – being limited to my imagination, without the benefit of everyone else’s imagination also. How else would we get the benefit of great buildings like the guggenheim at Bilbao, the Sydney Opera House, the new stadium in Bejing etc… Art, Architecture and Creative expression will always rule over anything us geeks can think up.

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