True Names

A seminal and excellent Cyber Punk novel (well, novella) by Vernor Vinge. It was originally published (in 'Binary Star' #5) in 1981, and is thus the first work of Cyber Punk, preceding Neuro Mancer (1984).

It is arguably an early work of Over Clocked fiction. In fact, one might argue that it's not actually Cyber Punk at all on stylistic grounds. Yes, it has computers and jacking in and a virtual-reality network, and hacking and AI and all that good stuff, but it's written in a traditional SF mode. Perhaps Cyber Punk is distinguished by being written like William Gibson writes. Hmm. On a tangent, is there anything written in the Cyber Punk style that isn't about the jacking-in-VR?-AI stuff?

Olin Shivers, an AI researcher, wrote in a review on Amazon:

"When I was starting out as a PhD student in Artificial Intelligence at Carnegie Mellon, it was made known to us first-year students that an unofficial but necessary part of our education was to locate and read a copy of an obscure science-fiction novella called True Names. Since you couldn't find it in bookstores, older grad students and professors would directly mail order sets of ten and set up informal lending libraries -- you would go, for example, to Hans Moravec's office, and sign one out from a little cardboard box over in the corner of his office. This was 1983 -- the Internet was a toy reserved for American academics, "virtual reality" was not a popular topic, and the term "cyberpunk" had not been coined. One by one, we all tracked down copies, and all had the tops of our heads blown off by Vinge's incredible book."

Category Book

Wed, 23 Jul 2003 20:00:25 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day