RIP Vernor Vinge [UPDATED]

Vernor Vinge 

Science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, a longtime star in the field, has died. He was 79, the science fiction news site File 770 reports.

Vince (1944-2024) won the Hugo Award multiple times: For the novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky and Rainbows End, and for the novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High and The Cookie Monster.

He also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society, won the Prometheus Award for A Deepness in the Sky and Marooned in Realtime, and won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award for “True Names” and “The Ungoverned.”

“True Names,” inducted in 2004 into the Hall of Fame, is often cited as the first work of science fiction to depict cyberspace.

Updates:

David Brin on Vernor Vinge.

Tribute from John Scalzi.  

 

Continue reading RIP Vernor Vinge [UPDATED]

A cyberspace, cyberpunk landmark: Vernor Vinge’s True Names, a 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Here is the Prometheus Blog Appreciation of Vernor Vinge’s story “True Names,” a 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame co-winner for Best Classic Fiction.


By Michael Grossberg  
 and Chris Hibbert

“True Names” is a seminal work of the cyberpunk genre.

A landmark when it was published in 1981, Vernor Vinge’s now-classic story gave the public their first glimpse of cyberspace and showed how the struggle for control might penetrate the new medium.

One of the earliest works of fiction to present a fully detailed concept of cyberspace, the story also explores themes of anarchism and trans-humanism that are of great interest to libertarian futurists.

The story follows the progress of a group of computer hackers who keep their true identities secret while being among the first to adopt a new full-immersion virtual-reality technology. They do so out of curiosity or an entrepreneurial desire to profit – both respectable and even laudable motivations from the libertarian perspective that appreciates the crucial role of innovation and free markets in advancing human progress, prosperity, well-being and knowledge.

Continue reading A cyberspace, cyberpunk landmark: Vernor Vinge’s True Names, a 2007 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Smart self-defense in anarcho-capitalist society: Vernor Vinge’s “The Ungoverned,” the 2004 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Here’s the Prometheus Blog appreciation of Vernor Vinge’s story “The Ungoverned,” the 2004 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

By Michael Grossberg

“The Ungoverned” is one of the rare sf stories to portray a plausible and fully libertarian society. Moreover, Vernor Vinge does so with intelligence, subtlety, vision and enjoyable narrative twists.

Set in the ungoverned lands of a recovering future Kansas after a social collapse, Vernor Vinge’s 1985 novella focuses on what happens when New Mexico’s statist government tries to invade anarchist-libertarian Kansas with unexpected results.

Continue reading Smart self-defense in anarcho-capitalist society: Vernor Vinge’s “The Ungoverned,” the 2004 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner

Interstellar travel, mercantile networks, bureaucracy and decentralization: An Appreciation for Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, the 2000 Prometheus Best Novel winner

As part of our series of Appreciations of Prometheus Award-winners, here’s a review-essay about Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky:

By William H. Stoddard and Michael Grossberg

   Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky is an exemplary example of the New Space Opera of the 1990s, and a fascinating and complex sequel to his Hugo-winning novel A Fire Upon the Deep.

Set in the inner Milky Way galaxy with fully realized characters, both alien and human, the story highlights the threats to civilization from centralized power while illuminating the civilizing dynamics of free-trade networks.

Vinge’s epic novel imagines a complex future with many human-inhabited planets that have developed over several thousand years through slower-than-light interstellar travel, terraforming, life-extension techniques, and advanced computer networks.

Yet many of these advanced societies repeatedly have collapsed into barbarism and decay through the failed dream of collectivism, statism, or subtle computational failures.
Continue reading Interstellar travel, mercantile networks, bureaucracy and decentralization: An Appreciation for Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, the 2000 Prometheus Best Novel winner