Volume 05, Number 04, Fall, 1987

Vinge explains The Peace War ending

During a phone conversation with Vernor Vinge in August, I mentioned to him that many people loved his book The Peace War until the very end when one of the characters primarily responsible for bringing down the tyrant "Peacers" mentions that she hopes to reinstate a government like that of the 20th Century U.S. After The Peace War's very anti-government story line, her statement was anti-climactic, at the very least. Here Vinge explains why his otherwise marvelous book had such a disappointing conclusion. --- The editor

I would like to clear up the mystery for those who were enjoying The Peace War right up to the end—where suddenly they got blindsided:

Allison Parker is a decent, intelligent person. On the other hand she was a US Air Force officer up to a few subjective weeks before the end of the story. The time she has spent in the future was in hiding, out of contact with the societies she is commenting on. I think her analysis of the ungoverned is what you might expect from such a person: a 20th century liberal assessment. In fact, this was what I was aiming for; to many in the 20th century, anarcho-capitalism seems as intrinsically unstable as democracy would seem to a thirteenth century Norman. I wanted to spell out the arguments…and then step on them. Unfortunately, I didn't understand that while such a teaser might work between chapters, it is not a good idea between books, and I apologize for the disappointment this caused. As small recompense: I did write a story about how the collision Allison envisions really turns out ("The Ungoverned" in Far Frontiers III, Baen Books). It's a short piece, and maybe too polemical, but I had fun with it.

Thanks for the explanation and I, at least, forgive you. -- The editor

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