The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge

by Vernor Vinge

 

Vinge, V. (2001). The collected stories of Vernor Vinge. New York: Tor.

 

Vernor Vinge is the author of Rainbow’s End, the futuristic science fiction story featuring a university library quite prominently. This is his annotated collection of short stories including “Fast Times at Fairmont High” which seems to be the jumping off point for Rainbow’s End.

The annotations are wonderful as Vinge describes the time period in which he wrote it or other aspects which he liked or is now somewhat embarrassed about. This collection includes his first work as well as one (Fast Times) not previously published. One of the issues science fiction writers must deal with if they write over a long period of time is when what they predicted in earlier stories doesn’t come true. Vinge mentions this before one of his older stories. He predicted the power of computers in the future but completely missed the idea of personal computers and still had “tapes” being inserted into computers. This is one of the hardest things for futuristic science fiction – when a writer writes something in 1965 about action taking place in 2005 they are making all sorts of guesses and predictions. When 2005 comes around everyone can now look at their work and see how far off they were. You know we STILL don’t have flying cars!

This really is a wonderful collection that features a variety of stories—earth or similar planet bound ones, specifically alien ones, future earthlings on other planets, etc. The fact that the stories were written over a long period of time also makes this collection very interesting to read.

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