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Car, spring, Vinge [May. 22nd, 2007|09:55 pm]
Got a new door latch installed in the car today, yay!

New door latch is broken and doesn't work properly, boo!

Ah well. It's very spring, despite the cold and damp; all the iris are blooming and on the drive along 93 back from Golden there were big swathes of purple and gold in the open space. I had to stop and take some pictures, but I don't think they came out.

My Mom & Larry are down from NE to deliver the boat, which they sold, so I dropped by my brother's place to visit them this evening. Played with kittens, listened to my niece (who is six) read a couple books for us, and recounted stories of various times when we set things on fire as kids.

I had enough time at the dealer's to finish Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. It's a brilliant techno-thriller. The thing that's really impressive about this book is that it captures the scope of just how different the future may be. It's clearly a couple big steps further up the singularity slope, and things are starting to get hard to understand from our perspective. I think the biggest flaw is the problem of major efforts being pulled together too quickly relative to the human timescale, both in the plot and the backstory. This is common in fiction -- even in non-SF -- but still, 2025? Waaay too soon to set this book. Needs another couple decades, at the very least.

One of the ideas near the end that I thought was really interesting was the issue of the infosphere being a significant part of the landscape, and something that could be manipulated as an element of warfare. The net is not optional in the future; it's vital.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't get a clear picture of who/what Rabbit really is, but I can respect the author's decision not to say. It's pretty clear that Rabbit isn't a human. I think he's an AI, but he could be something weirder, given that he's also the Greater Scooch-A-Mout. I wonder if maybe Rabbit is a part of the Secure Hardware Environment -- or maybe the SHE just Awakened? That's the best I can figure from the bits about the carrot-tops being hints (though I would not be at all surprised if I missed something).

One cool throw-away: I like how Vinge at one point mentions Tines and Zones of Thought as failed belief circle elements.

In many ways, I could see this being a very accurate picture of what the future might really be like, and that's always an impressive achievement. Good book.

[User Picture]From: dcseain
2007-05-23 05:30 am (UTC)
Could the issue be that the door is slightly out of alignment, rather than the latch?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2007-05-23 05:33 am (UTC)
Naw, the latch they replaced didn't have this problem. And the new lock button doesn't go all the way down.
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2007-05-23 03:33 pm (UTC)
Vinge gets into my head in a way that is interesting, but often upsetting. I still get worked up about the spider civilization, because I came to think of them as being like friends. Between Deepness in the Sky and Charlotte's Web I have a very sentimental attachment to spiders as sentient (and very literate) beings.

His use of infosphere is always interesting and integral to his narratives. I'm never sure if I'm more worried about its indispensability or how easily it can be subverted. It seems to have all the advantages and problems of other forms of commication, with the high stakes addition of controlling lots of essential survival systems.
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